Kicking a fast fashion habit can be tough, especially when there's malls galore and high street retailers at every turn. But why should we be trying to be more thoughtful when it comes to our purchases, we hear you ask?
Well, not only is fashion one of the most polluting industries in the world (up there with the oil and livestock industries) there's big human rights issues at stake, like the exploitation of workers - something which definitely shouldn't be happening in our day and age.
Our motto here at ZERRIN HQ is #shopmeaningfully, but how can you apply that IRL? To start you off, we compiled a few easy steps which will have you well on your way to becoming a more mindful shopper.
1. Do your research
Knowledge really is power, and will be key to helping you shop more mindfully. First things first, start off by researching conscious fashion alternatives, and the easiest way to do that is online. After a few moments of browsing on your mobile or computer, you'll discover that sustainable fashion isn't just all high priced minimal basics or hippie loose clothing (two big stereotypes!) Now, there's more and more stylish and eco-conscious brands popping up which suit different fashion tastes and budgets.
"What you'll soon discover is that sustainable fashion isn't just divided into high priced minimal basics or hippie loose clothing (two big stereotypes!)"
2. Choose organic cotton
We're now so used to the idea of buying and eating organic food, but when it comes to our clothing, we don't pay as much attention. Conventional cotton, one of the world's most used fabrics, does a lot of harm to the environment in its production. It's extremely resource intensive (it can take up to 20,000 litres to produce just 1kg of cotton!) which can cause issues for the surrounding area due to water irrigation. It also typically uses toxic chemicals and pesticides which are harmful to human and wildlife health if consumed or inhaled.
On the flip side, organic cotton uses far less water to produce, and crops aren't treated with chemicals or GMO's, meaning less environmental impact. When in doubt, look for the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification. It's the leading textile processing standard for organic fibres which analyses the entire textile supply chain.
Up until only recently, organic cotton only accounted for about 1% of cotton used in our clothing (a sad statistic) but things are slowly changing as demand increases. Just recently, we received the awesome news that a total of 36 major international brands have committed to the sustainable cotton communiqué, which pledges to use only 100% sustainably grown organic cotton by 2025. This a massive step forward in the industry, because when big brands like ASOS, Burberry, Levi's, M&S and Nike step up to the plate, the rest of the world definitely takes notice!
3. Think cost per wear
Want to save money and closet space? Then start thinking quality over quantity. Instead of subscribing to fads and trends, think twice before you make each purchase. How much wardrobe mileage will the potential piece have? Will it pair with at least five other items you already own? If the answer is yes, perhaps you're onto a winner. If not, put down that hanger and walk away.
4. Shop your values
Love animals and advocate cruelty-free goods? Or is female empowerment or fair trade most important to you? Find a cause you're passionate about use it as a filter to choose brands and labels you want to support.
"If a product has been locally handmade, by purchasing you're a) keeping money in the local economy and b) supporting independent makers and creative businesses."
5. Support local
When in doubt, look for products that are made in the country you're living in. If a product has been locally handmade, by purchasing you're a) keeping money in the local economy and b) supporting independent makers and creative businesses, like beautiful handmade jewellery or accessories. With smaller businesses, it's often also easier to connect with the designers themselves and learn more first hand about the story behind the label, making your connection to your new piece that little bit more special.