How to Kick Your Fast-Fashion Habit While Staying Stylish
posted on November 13, 2019 | by Megan Lierley
With the climate strikes a few months ago and seemingly endless recent headlines on the horrifying effects of climate change, I’ve been thinking a lot about how and where I can do my part to help. When I look at my overall carbon footprint, one of the areas I saw room for improvement was as a consumer. Knowing that fast fashion is bad for the environment and can be harmful to workers, but also acknowledging that I enjoy new clothes and changing up my wardrobe, I started to think about ways to enjoy fashion while being less impactful on the earth.
Try a Rental Subscription Service
I know that certain trends—like dad sneakers and everything animal print—are just that, fads that will fade away after a couple of seasons. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to try them! Whereas previously, I might have purchased my ‘90s spandex shorts at H&M, knowing that it’s not worth the investment in a quality piece when I know it will have a short lifespan, now I’ll aim to rent those high-fashion, short-life span items from a service like Rent the Runway Unlimited. With RTR Unlimited, you can rent four items at a time, and keep them for as long as you want—even an entire season. This is also an excellent route to take during wedding season, so you can have an entirely new look for each celebration, without breaking the bank or turning to fast fashion.
This is an obvious one, but it’s easier than ever with online services like ThredUp and Poshmark. Instead of spending hours looking for the diamond in the rough at a thrift store, you can filter by style, color, item, even brand. You can also make extra money—and give someone else the opportunity to buy secondhand—by selling your clothes. ThredUp makes it super easy by sending you a complimentary closet clean out bag, which you can fill with clothes and send back to them. They then take care of selling your clothes for you and donate what isn’t sold.
Organize a Clothing Swap at Work
Just like with consignment, your trash might be someone else’s treasure. (OK, not actually trash, more like lightly worn but it no longer sparks joy—you knew there had to be a Marie Kondo reference in here somewhere!) Encourage coworkers to bring in clothes to swap, and donate whatever doesn’t find a new home.
Consciously Care for Your Clothes
Our wardrobe has an impact on the earth beyond how and where it’s made, and that’s in how we care for our clothes. Always look for eco-friendly, organic laundry detergents that won’t add pollutants to water. I grew up learning to wash “whites in warm,” but it’s more energy-efficient to wash everything in cold water, and I haven’t noticed a difference in my white garments. I’m also making more of an effort to hang dry my clothing whenever possible. For dry clean items, look for green dry cleaners, which don’t use substances for cleaning that are harmful to the earth.