5 Practical, Effective Ways to Shop More Sustainably
Fast-fashion has been at the forefront of the industry for some time now, and the appetite for budget-friendly, throwaway clothes is having a detrimental effect on our planet.
The difficult truth is this: we all need to confront our shopping habits and assess if there’s any ways that we can shop for our clothes in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way.
You might assume that to become an eco-friendly shopper you’ll have to break the bank, forking out for designer pieces – but in reality, it really doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple and effective ways to shop more sustainably, no matter your budget.
So whether you have lots or a little to spend, here are some ways that you can shape your shopping habits to become more sustainable.
1. Prioritise Eco-Friendly Brands
There are so many amazing brands making sustainability their mission, but in a sea of huge fast-fashion retailers, it can sometimes be difficult to find them. A little extra effort can pay off in the long run though, as you’ll be content in the knowledge that your purchases are kind to the planet.
To prioritise eco-friendly brands, look out for retailers who make their items from natural, sustainable fabrics; use organic and recycled materials wherever possible; opt for eco-friendly manufacturing methods; and are transparent about their supply chain.
2. Know the Materials to Love or Loathe
When it comes to eco-friendly credentials, some materials fare better than others. When you’re shopping, it’s important that you know which materials to look out for and which to avoid where you can.
Here are some materials that are proven to be environmentally friendly. Make sure to look out for these on clothing labels!
Made from plant-based cellulose fibers, linen is a highly durable fabric known to last up to twenty years of wear! Not only this, but anyone who has ever worn linen will tell you that it’s breathable, flexible, and comfortable.
Hemp is one of the planet’s most versatile plants. It’s packed full of nutritional goodness, it’s used in products for both cleaning and building, and it’s an environmentally friendly clothing material because it needs few pesticides and herbicides to cultivate and grow on a large scale.
While it might not be the first material you associate with fashion, paper is perfect for clothes and has even been used by some of the worlds biggest designers. At Junkohol, we’re passionate about paper and we use it to create stunning purses and jewelry that showcase its versatility.
While it’s not possible to avoid these materials all of the time, here are some that you should try to avoid buying where possible.
- Synthetics (Polyester, Nylon, and Acrylic)
Synthetic fabrics are made for the environment in three clear ways. They’re made from oil, meaning fossil fuels are needed to create them; they’re non-biodegradable; and every time they’re washed harmful micro-fibres are released into our waterways.
As a “natural” material, you might be surprised to see cotton here. While biodegradable, the manufacturing process is extremely harmful to the environment. It can take 3,000 gallons of water to make one single cotton t-shirt, and high levels of pesticides are used in the farming process.
3. Choose Quality Over Quantity
Fashion trends evolve rapidly, and it can be tempting to change your wardrobe with the seasons to keep up. However, this can be detrimental for both the planet and your bank balance.
When it comes to shopping more sustainably, it’s important to choose quality over quantity. Use your budget to invest in a few eco-friendly pieces that you can wear season after season rather than lots of items you might only wear once.
Staple pieces like a black dress or a pair of jeans with the perfect fit are a good place to start, but you can also dress up a simple outfit with accessories to add that extra individual flair.
For example, no matter how fashion trends change, a statement purse is an accessory that you can wear time and time again and it will always feel on trend.
4. Show Love to Pre-Loved Clothes
Research shows that huge amounts of clothes are discarded each year, and it can unfortunately be a huge challenge to recycle. A good way for you to be a part of a solution to this growing problem is to buy second-hand – or “pre-loved” – clothes rather than buying new.
There are two ways to do this – peruse specialist secondhand stores or update your wardrobe by taking your style back in time with vintage pieces.
Second-hand stores are increasing in their numbers. While it can take more time to find exactly what you’re looking for, the effort can pay off as it’s a great way to find brand labels for bargain prices.
In addition to this, events in 2020 have led to a surge in people re-selling their clothes, and we hope that this movement keeps momentum into the future.
Another way to shop second-hand is by considering vintage clothing. Buying authentic vintage is a great way to fill your wardrobe with unique pieces – you’ll be guaranteed to never arrive at a party in the same outfit as someone else.
5. Embrace Upcycling
Upcycling is an eco-friendly way to recycle and re-use old items. Independent sellers are embracing this ethos, taking old, unwanted items and transforming them into fashion forward, one of a kind, durable pieces of clothing and jewelry.
For example, at Junkohol we pride ourselves on creating something new and beautiful out of something old and forgotten by using recycled materials in all of our handmade jewelry and accessories – from clutch purses to earrings.
We primarily use paper items – magazines and newspapers – but we’re always on the hunt for junk to transform. For more about our handmade accessories and jewelry, visit our Etsy store or the Junkohol online store.
Want to Find Out More?
At Junkohol, not only are we committed to making beautiful jewelry and purses from recycled materials, we’re also dedicated to keeping you informed of the latest trends and ways you can be more eco-friendly when it comes to fashion. Keep your eye on our blog for more info and tips in the weeks to come.