7 Ways To Make Fast Fashion More Conscious | What To Know To Get The Most Out Of Your Clothing

Tuesday, April 11, 2023



photo by Jelena990 via Getty Images


Inclusive sizing, shipping costs, accessibility and sometimes minimal (or even shapeless and boring – yawn) designs can have a big impact in the way in which we perceive sustainability, especially within fashion. Many sustainable fashion brands aren’t the first choice for everyone, with many Gen Z’s choosing to rent rather than thrift, buying secondhand, and learning to repair and upcycle their own existing clothing. 


It’s no secret that fast fashion is terrible for the environment. From textile waste and mass pollution, to chemical hazards and dishonest greenwashing, we still have a long way to go and if we had a Burn Book, Shein would be on page one. However, a lot of progress has been made and there are many sustainable alternatives and a whole bunch of people willing to advocate for our planet. The issue seems to be that sustainable brands rarely stock the latest trends, sizing is not always inclusive and, as with most things, cost and convenience play a huge role in what we purchase. 


Here are a few ways in which you can incorporate sustainable habits if you find thrifting inconvenient or inaccessible, can’t find trendy items in your size, or are low on time - like most of us.


1. Ask yourself: is it a trend or will you wear it longer?

Many of us are attracted to items because they’re popular. When certain aesthetics or style tips grace the covers of magazines or pop up in the endless scroll of social media pages, it can be easy to convince yourself that you need it. The truth is, trends are the opposite of timeless and often the only thing that’s recycled is the decade it came from. Secondly, just because it’s trending doesn’t necessarily mean it’s for you – whether in terms of fitting your personal style, flattering your body type or making you feel good when you wear it. We say if you like it, and it suits you, wear it! But if you’re aiming to be more sustainable, make sure it’s something that you can picture yourself feeling right in and wearing for ages to come, and not just while everyone else is. 



photo by Julia Pomodoro 



2. What is it made from?

60% of our clothes are made from petroleum-based plastic fibres like nylon, spandex, and polyester. These materials aren’t biodegradable, meaning that they won’t break down like natural materials will and often contribute to landfill waste. However, they are often more affordable, and certainly easier to find than earth-friendly fibres such as cotton or hemp. Knowing what something is made from isn’t just allowing you to be more sustainably-conscious  – it can also help you avoid issues such as skin irritation, dermatitis, eczema, and funky odours. Some websites have filters for materials like they do for price or size, so have a look around. 


3. Can I find a more sustainable alternative that’s also affordable?

For this one, think Depop, thrifting or supporting local designers. Renting can also be a more sustainable option in the case of needing a piece for a one-time occasion like a formal event or costume party. Companies such as Circle Closet rent out designer items at a much more affordable price for all occasions, and brands like nu-in and Lucy And Yak are sustainable but also much more budget-friendly. 


4. Take care of your clothes

Work with what you have! A simple thing like following washing instructions or even hand washing delicate items can make your clothes last so much longer. While it can be time consuming, when you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. Tailoring your clothes to make them fit better, repairing buttons or zips so you can rewear an item, reusing and upcycling are all great ways to be more eco-conscious and combat the disposable mindset of fast fashion. 



photo by Cottonbro 


6. Try not to over-consume

This can be especially challenging on days like Black Friday where it seems like everyone and their mother is encouraging you to buy…anything. The big red signs signalling urgency, the sudden increase in ‘limited edition’s, huge discounts and reward points offers are all so tempting. Haul culture is beyond prominent on social media and while we love to indulge in the YouTube and TikTok videos of our favourite influencers showing us their purchases, it’s also important to realise most of those things aren’t necessary. Again, take a moment to gently question yourself. Will you really use it?  


photo by Olga Vasilyeva 



7. Question the cause.

Controversial take: when opting to buy fast fashion, have a look to see if brands are aiming to do something good. We don’t mean planting trees, that’s the bare minimum. No, we’re talking about conservation efforts – with actual proof on their socials or websites – building schools, giving back, donating to charities or funding children’s educations. Of course, this doesn’t cancel out the colossal environmental issues, or the fact that there are still hundreds of workers not getting paid enough to get by. Think about what matters to you in this situation, and ways in which you can be conscious that you’re making the choices you feel good about supporting. 

Make sure to follow us over on Instagram and let us know what you think about fast fashion. Do you believe shopping at fast fashion stores can be a sustainable choice? Have we missed any tips? We'd love to hear from you!