Continuing on for the #Veganuary theme (if you didn’t see my last post about skin care have a look) and thought I’d tackle the idea of how your shopping habits can really help make a difference in this burning world!
I’ll hit you up with some fun facts first and then I’ll be dropping some fun pictures and stuff further on so don’t worry too much if it all seems too heavy. I promise you, once you start to shift your thinking you’ll want to shift where you spend your money!
Note: I actually have a couple of blogs touching on this subject already so if you fancy checking those out I have: Second Hand Shopping on Vinted, Thrift Shop Look Book, Monkee Genes, Fast Fashion vs Sustainable Fashion.
Say no to fast fashion
First up, lets talk about how BAD fast fashion is for the world. If you aren’t aware of fast fashion the best way to describe it is to take it literally. Fast – made fast, shipped fast, out of ‘style’ fast, thrown away fast. Everything about it is single use; clothing items not made to last, made in a very chemical/ polluting environment and pushed by companies who release new clothing items at a ridiculous rate, in order to encourage you to think you need to buy MORE to stay on trend.
Here are some facts and figures just for a snap shot:
- Synthetic fibres are increasing – items made with things such as polyester have more than double the carbon footprint of items made from cotton.
- Global emissions from fast fashion production equates to around 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 per year – this is figure outweighs the emissions produced by international travel and shipping!
- Due to the nature of consumerism it’s estimated that $500 billion of value is lost every year through under wearing and a failure to recycle clothes.
- In the UK, only around a third of the 650,000 tonnes of clothes given to charity or other circular fashion initiatives are resold. A lot are sent to textile recyclers.
- Textiles recycling centres do not magically transform our old clothes into new ones. Less than 1% of pre-consumer and post-consumer textiles are recycled into new clothing.
You can see how this crazy machine of creating clothes is bad for the environment and that’s not to mention the fact that no one really thinks about what happens to their clothes once they’re done with them! Let’s make 2020 the year we all try to figure out how to lessen the impact of our daily lives!
Brands to avoid
This is the part where I tell you the brands that are really bad for the environment and you get angry. Honestly, it’s OK – the amount of times I’ve been hit with excuses and denial about personal responsibility is plentiful and, yes, for a lot of people the places they spend their money is not a choice; for instance, Primark – they sell cheap clothes and many people can’t afford anything else. I get it, but for those of you who choose places like Primark for a ‘bargain’… the only thing you’re bargaining with is your ethics.
Here are the top rated shops (you’ll notice the high-street trend) which should be avoided until they stop their contributions to global warming:
- Charlotte Russe
- Gap Inc.
- Mango (clothing)
- Massimo Dutti
- Miss Selfridge
- Nasty Gal
- New Look
- Pull & Bear
- River Island
- United Colors of Benetton
- Urban Outfitters
See any you recognise? Probably! Even I wasn’t aware Gap and Next were contributors to this nightmare so I won’t be shopping with them after today!
If you look at that list and wonder where the hell you’re going to buy your clothes from now on the good news is Google exists! There are so many brands like Levi’s, ThreadUp, the H&M Conscious (a sub-shop to H&M… which I know is strange when they’re a terrible company but the more people use the good side, the more it might encourage them to change!), People Tree, Monkee Genes, and my favourite of all – second hand shops or apps!
So where fast fashion is a single path from manufacture, to consumer, to landfill, the vegan stance on clothing is that it should be a circular economy; from manufacture, to consumer, to either another consumer via donation or to a recycling bin to be re-purposed as a last ditch attempt.
Personally, since learning about fast fashion and the impact it has on the planet (if you want to take a quick peak, Stacey Dooley actually did a great documentary on it), I have perhaps only bought 1-2 new items brand new and those items are to keep for as long as possible.
I shop second hand 99% of the time, either on Vinted or in charity shops where I know my money is not only going to a good place but I’m also giving an item a new home, keeping it out of a landfill! The great thing about shopping in charity shops is obviously contributing to something other than a giant corporation who does not need the money. Charity shops are perfect for putting money into your local community and donating money to good causes easily – there is a misconception that clothes in charity shops are gross and unwashed etc. but I have found some of my fave clothing items in charity shops. Granted, I live in a wealthy area so find expensive items for cheap prices but I think there are opportunities in every second hand shop! If you’re looking for more specific items (for instance, you want a new pair of running shoes of a particular brand) I love apps like Vinted. You can search for all the brands you used to love** and see what people are looking to either sell or trade.
My Favourite Items
If you’re still unsure about how to try to live a more ethical shoppers life here are some of the things I’ve bought second hand which I absolutely love!
I have a few more items I can’t seem to upload at the moment but best believe I got a beautiful green turtle neck second hand, as well as a kimono style shrug/jacket from Vinted which is my favourite summer item to throw on over any t-shirt!
What you can do at home
Going forwards, if you don’t already, I challenge you to rethink the way you discard of your clothes. Do you throw them away or donate them to charity? I high recommend dropping them off with a local shop, selling them online or even hosting a clothes swap party with your friends! Ethical shopping is easy once you know how and it can even be fun!
I hope that this post has shed some light on the choices you have to stop contributing to the destruction of the planet! If you have any questions or need help figuring out what shops are ethically sound I recommend Good on You‘s website and app – they score brands on their environmental impact, labour and animal welfare policies!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Veganuary posts! Any suggestions on topics you’d like me to cover are greatly appreciated – just drop them in the comments!
**It might sound counter-intuitive to buy Topshop items second hand but this is where that crazy grey area of ethical consumption comes in. If it’s second hand you’re not supporting the brand who made it, you’re supporting the circular economy and keeping it out of a landfill.