Sustainable Fashion: How I Stopped My Clothes Shopping Addiction

I was a serious shopper. More specifically, an online shopper. I was a proud ASOS premier member and seriously racked up the loyalty points, I remember at one time I was getting an order every weekend. Not only is next day delivery quite an unsustainable way to shop, I was wasting a load of money (I was a student living on the bank of mum and dad). What’s even crazier is that the clothes that didn’t fit me properly I couldn’t be bothered to return sometimes, so I had piles of clothes that chilled in my wardrobe until the next time I did a clear out. The only good thing I can say is that I never threw clothes away, I had always given my unwanted clothes to charity, passed them down or gave them to people who it would be a much better match with.

In the days of next day delivery and fast fashion, it’s easy to get caught up in the spending spree lifestyle. To satisfy the demand, manufacturers are resorting to cheap materials, cheap methods, and cheap labour. Not only does the environment suffer from fast shipping and questionable manufacturing methods, but the sweatshop environment is horrendous to work in.

As a fellow human being, I cannot stand to buy into the demand for cheap items, and I don’t think it’s possible to imagine what it’s like working there.

My new philosophy since the beginning of summer is to buy to high quality, and to buy it once. This does usually mean spending a little bit more money than usual, but I think it works out cheaper in the long run. If you buy a cheap item that costs £10, but needs replacing every 6 months, compared to an item that costs £50 that will last you 10 years, it’s much better to buy the more expensive option. Not only will you be reducing your contribution to landfills, but you’ll save money in the long run. The two biggest thing that I’ve learnt since introducing my new philosophy is that less is more, and to have patience. It takes time to save for good quality items, but when you do finally invest in an item, whether its kitchen equipment or clothing, the feeling is so much more satisfying. I realised that I gravitate toward the same items in my wardrobe anyway, so I don’t need more than a few of each item.

 
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Here are some of my tips for reducing how much you spend

1) Clear out your wardrobe

See what items you always gravitate towards and give away the rest

2) Invest in eco-friendly basics

A sustainable wardrobe isn’t bursting to seems, but is filled with useful items that you’ll on a regular basis with a few statement pieces.

3) Cancel your next day shipping subscriptions

Not only is fast delivery damaging to the environment, but having the option to get your items quickly will make you think twice about impulse purchases.

4) Buy what you need

Before you buy anything, ask yourself these questions –

  1. Will it be useful?
  2. How long will it last?
  3. Do I really need it then?

You have to learn not to give into your desire for ‘things’, and think about how much joy the item going to give you.

5) Make a budget

I got into the habit of doing the majority of my clothes shopping twice a year – one for spring/summer and the other for autumn/winter. This enabled me to stick to my budget as once the money is gone, it’s gone, and it makes organising my wardrobe much easier. Just before I shop, I look at what I’d like to buy as a treat, what needs replacing, and what I need for the season.

6) How will you dispose of it when you’re done using it?

If you can’t think of a way to recycle an item, should you buy it? If it isn’t high quality enough to be passed on to someone else to use in the near future it might be good to pass it up.

7) Shop in person

When shopping in a store compared to online, I’m so much more conscious of what I’m spending. Every time I hand over my credit card I start sweating slightly just because I know money is about to leave my account (ha). My shopping budget also includes lunch so I’m extra super careful not to go over my limit for the day.

I hope these tips will help you out with your spending, make it your New Year’s resolution and see how much difference you can make to your finances!