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Three strategies for buying clothes eco-consciously

As the public becomes less ignorant of the fashion industry’s enormous environmental impact, more consumers are aspiring to change old and unsustainable shopping habits. The fashion industry is responsible for a significant chunk of global carbon emissions and accounts for 20 to 35 percent of microplastics that end up in the ocean.  

Fast fashion finally has the bad reputation it deserves, not only in terms of environmental damage but also in terms of social justice. Still, it may be difficult to know where to start for those who aspire to become ethical shoppers. For those of you who are looking to align your purchasing power with your morals and values, here are three strategies to accomplish this noble goal.

Do your research

 As sustainability grows in popularity, some brands may claim to be more sustainable than they truly are. Unfortunately, sustainability has simply become marketing terminology. Brands will use the word “sustainable” as a blanket term when in reality they only occasionally implement sustainable methods for a select few products.

This practice is often called “greenwashing” and allows brands to market themselves as something they are not. If you want to be a conscious consumer, you’ll have to commit to doing your own research to ensure that the brands you support are actually meeting high standards of sustainability, accountability, and transparency.

One certification you can look for is called B Corps. Some certified B corporations include Patagonia, Askov Finlayson, Frank and Oak, Veja, and Nisolo.

Take vintage shopping seriously

 Vintage shopping has never been more accessible with apps like Depop and Poshmark, and luxury resale sites such as TheRealReal and Grailed allowing shoppers to make their purchases from the comfort of their own homes.

Vintage and consignment shops promote a cyclical approach to style and encourage consumers to extend the lives of garments that are already out there and require no further resources or energy. They also are a great alternative to landfills for clothes in your closet that you don’t use anymore.

Less is more intentional

 It’s important to keep in mind that the most eco-friendly way to consume is to not consume at all. In a capitalist and consumerist culture, this may seem like an impossibility, but it’s still good to take a moment to really think about your purchase before you make it. Ask yourself how long you think you’ll use whatever product you’re thinking about buying, and whether it will go well with what’s already in your closet.

A little thought goes a long way, and perhaps you’ll find yourself not only saving the planet but saving yourself some extra cash.

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