Fashion and Sustainability - Can I Have Both?

How to enjoy fashion without costing the earth

by Lizzie Hunter - Sustainability Officer.

A recent report from the Environmental Audit Committee on ‘Fixing Fashion’ found that textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined. With the rise of so-called ‘fast fashion’- clothing that conforms to a trend that will quickly go out of style and be thrown away, there has been a rising concern over the ethical and environmental impacts of these garments.

On the other hand, fast fashion is affordable fashion and can be the perfect way for someone to be able to express themselves for a small price. However, it can be worth considering the alternatives that work for those of us who are still on a budget, fashion conscious, but also wanting to protect people and the environment.

Here are some tips that can help to reduce your impact while still enjoying fashion:

1) Shop Second Hand

There are plenty of items of clothing that already exist in the world just waiting to be found. There are vintage shops and charity shops across East London where you can find stylish pieces at varying budgets. A popular charity shop is Llamas Pyjamas on Roman Road, a 15-minute walk from QM campus, where you can find great pieces for a good price. Tucked just off Mile End Road heading towards Whitechapel is ‘East End Thrift Store’. If you like funky prints and classic vintage for a reasonable price this may be the place for you. If you have a higher budget, there are several vintage shops along Brick Lane such as Atika and Rokit Vintage.

Shopping second hand can take dedication and be time consuming, so if you are after a specific item or brand then it may be worth heading to the app Depop. They have thousands of people selling clothing from one off vintage finds to high street brands. Often if you are shopping on the high street and see an item that you like it may be worth searching for something similar on Depop before buying. It can mean that you’re not contributing to fast-fashion and may also save you money.

2) Find your Personal Style

One way of avoiding buying into fast fashion trends is by thinking about your own personal style. For example, going through your wardrobe and finding out which colours and cuts work for you. This way you are buying something that you know won’t go out of trend for you and will be less likely to be thrown away. You might also discover pieces that you forgot you owned!

3) Take part in the 30 wears challenge

Sometimes shopping new is inevitable. A rule to follow to justify purchases is the ’30 wears rule’. Essentially, if you see something that you like but are unsure if you will have the opportunity to wear it at least 30 times then it may not be worth buying. It can encourage more wear out of an item and prevent purchases that may be regretted a few weeks later. You can also question if what you’re about to buy works with what you already own, you may be more likely to wear it if it does.

4) Clothes Swap

Swapping clothes can be one of the best ways to pick up some pieces without costing you or the environment. If you are thinking of donating some unwanted clothing but would like to pick up some fresh clothes, QMUL Sustainability and QM Fashion Society are holding a clothes swap on November 27th. Join us in Blomeley 1 in the QMSU on 27/11 to help tackle the fast-fashion industry and to learn more about the alternatives.


References here.


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