How to create an ethical and sustainable wardrobe – no matter your budget
Keen to build a wardrobe with more ethical and sustainable brands but worried about the cost? Sure, fast fashion is cheap, but if you’re here you’re probably already aware that it comes with bad working conditions, unsustainable practices and low-quality products. This means that to produce products that are conscious and high quality, prices do need to go up. But, no matter your budget, there are still ways to get the ethical and sustainable wardrobe of your dreams. Read on to see how we do it!
Make use of what you already have
The first, and most important, step is to take note of what you already have and make use of it. If your wardrobe’s a confusing mess, apps like Save Your Wardrobe can help you easily take stock of what you have and plan outfits. Then, only buy new products when you need them. This doesn’t mean your clothes have to be tattered and unusable before you replace them, simply that you don’t buy things for the sake of it. Maybe even take a couple of sewing classes so you can refresh some of your older pieces.
Pause before you buy
To make use of a common budgeting tip, take a moment before you pull out your wallet. Whether you wait a few hours or a few days, this helps to remove yourself from the pressure of the moment. Consider why you want to buy it, how much you’ll (actually) wear it and how long it should last. If you still want to go back and buy it a few days later, then you’ll know it’s worth it.
What’s more sustainable than a second-hand item? Pop into your local op-shop where (with a bit of searching) you’re bound to find some quality, cheap items. Alternatively, apps like Depop provide an easy way to find second-hand products that are still in great condition. To keep plastic waste down, many sellers also post their items in recycled or compostable packages.
When you do need a new piece of clothing, try to buy from companies that are ethical and sustainable. Check out some of our favourite ones here:
Dharma Bums – this great activewear brand has countless styles to suit every body – whether you prefer solid colours, patterns, shorts or even flared leggings, they’ll have a style you love. They strive for a minimal footprint at every step of the design process and ensure all their employees have fair wages and safe working conditions.
Charlee Swim – Based in Noosa Heads, QLD, Charlee Swim sells swimwear that stands out from the crowd. All their products are made from recycled waste, whether it be old fishing nets, carpets or plastic bottles.
Outland Denim - If you’re looking for a comfortable pair of jeans that will last an unbelievably long time, Outland Denim is your place to go. They also sell the basics to go with them – all while uplifting the women who make them and barely impacting the planet.
Nat’v - You can’t forget about underwear in your ethical and sustainable wardrobe and, luckily, that’s our speciality! All our products are made with 80% (or more) TENCEL Modal fibres – that's fibres extracted from sustainably grown beech trees. They’re also super soft, comfortable and ethically made!
Invest in quality products
As part of the sustainability mindset, all sustainable brands should produce quality products that last a long time. These may cost significantly more upfront, but after many years of use you’ll save more in the long term. It’s also best to buy items that are versatile! These are pieces that you can mix and match to suit different events, seasons and styles.
The care label
As tempting as it is to throw all your clothes into the same wash, this is only damaging them! The best way to make sure your products last as long as they’re made to, is to look after them correctly. The care label will have all the information you need but some basic rules to follow are to wash your whites separately, run a cold wash whenever possible, keep dark colours out of the sun and avoid the dryer.
Taking the first steps towards a sustainable wardrobe can be a daunting process. There’s a lot of factors to consider but we, and many others, are here to help! Companies like Ethical Made Easy and Good On You can help you find bands you can trust. We’ll also continue to share blogs that will help you on your journey. And always remember, imperfect action is better than no action at all!