Discussions of sustainable fashion has been on the increase, major news outlets are picking up news stories of fast fashion practices, there’s an increase in the labelling collections as ‘sustainable fashion’ in the most recent New York Fashion Week, and directories listing sustainable fashion has popped up. But the question remains, how do individuals take part in this?
We can’t deny that finances will play a big part into how you can take part. What you do for a living, your personal interest in fashion, and availability of shops in your area – these all play a huge part in how you can participate in making better ethical and sustainable choices.
My advice is simple – go back to your wardrobe and curate your choices. Marie Kondo your existing collection of things, and just… slow down. You don’t have to jump into the deep end straight away. That way lies madness my friends. The pressure to do better may be mounting, but this is a marathon not a race. You have to transform habits, not just choices.
1. Create your own capsule collection.
We wrote an article a while back on how to curate your own capsule collection of jewelry – I urge you to read it again! Creating a capsule collection of clothes and jewelry is not an easy task, but the long term rewards are great. You are less weighted down by ‘current trends’ and it will give you the chance to explore your own likes and dislikes.
I’m always an advocate of getting to know yourself better. In the context of being a conscious consumer, having a better understanding of your likes and dislikes will make shopping so much easier. It can be as simple as finding out you like v-necks better than crewnecks, or figuring out what colors you like wearing. Knowing exactly what you like will also help you to stop buying things you’re not sure about, or falling for fleeting trends.
2. Shop smart
Having your own capsule collection doesn’t mean having a minimalist look! This is where the shopping smart comes in. Once you’ve figured out your look, you can play around with accessories that will complete your outfits. Personally, I like to stack rings and play around with the jewelry on my hands. I’m not much of a necklace-wearer, so I focus on jewelry I know I will wear. I have a few necklaces, mostly they were gifts or I got them for special occasions – but rings, that’s my forte. That’s where I have fun!
This is why getting to know your personal style is very important. Are you a sucker for color? Then maybe playing around with jewelry with bright gemstones might be your thing. Do you like statement pieces or do you prefer to mix and match jewelry? Maybe you like to layer necklaces? What’s your thing? Find out before you go on a shopping spree.
3. Stay true to your values
This is important to consider when you are thinking about ethical shopping. There are so many ways a brand can declare themselves as being ethical. They can focus their efforts on empowerment. Or general human rights. Gender and sexuality might be their thing. They may be working on saving one species of animals, or a whole forest. These (and many more) are all valid and important. The way I see it, there are so many issues in this world that need our attention – it’s okay to admit that certain things tug on our heart strings more. If you care about a better tomorrow, that’s already an amazing thing.
Narrowing down what values matter to you most may also help you in your research on what brands to support. Knowing your money is going forward into fixing an issue you care about will make your heart soar, and it will make a purchase that much more special. Hint; most ethical brands will have their own page dedicated to this, or they might have even written blog posts on their work!
4. Ethical brand directories
I mentioned earlier that there are directories popping up, and you should absolutely use that to your advantage. Sometimes you just want to treat yourself or a loved one to something nice. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about that! These days, there are plenty of brands that are doing amazing things. And even if you’re not shopping yet, it might be worth it to share their stories on your social media and/or other platforms. I said previously that your voice matters, and I mean it. The more noise we make about these brands, the better!
Researching on your own might be daunting at first, so I would encourage you to visit these directories and look for brands that speak to your beliefs. It narrows the fields down tremendously. Any additional research you want to do will just be icing on the cake!
And if you’re interested in the ways that Gardens of the Sun is an ethical brand, have a read on our gold promise! And keep watching our blog – we’ll be talking even more about ethical and sustainable choices in the future.