How to Shop Sustainably

How to Shop Sustainably:
In a world where every retailer has a so-called conscious collection and proclaims that they are “Eco-friendly”, “Green”, or “Sustainable”, it is becoming increasingly difficult for citizens to distinguish greenwashing from genuine responsible practice. With fashion accounting for 20-35% of micro plastic flows into the ocean (Chinasamy, 2019) and responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions (UNCC, 2018), the choices we make with our wallet matter. But how does one shop sustainably?

Below are our Top 5 recommendations:

The 30 Wears Test
As advocated by Livia Firth, founder of Eco Age and pioneer of the #30Wears campaign, before purchasing a garment, ask yourself “Will I wear this at least 30 times”? If the answer is yes, go for it – if not move on to something more your style!

Invest in Timeless Pieces
Trends and seasons are so… last season. The fashion world has evolved from binary collections of summer/winter and in today’s globalised and connected world anything goes! Buy key items that you know you will wear all year round – think timeless dresses, jeans, t-shirts and knits that are made to last (and layer on top of each other). Building a wardrobe around timeless staple pieces not only simplifies our overcomplicated lives, but also lets you curate your own style as opposed to swaying with outdated trends.

Choose Quality over Quantity
Buy less, buy better is a motto seared into our brains not only because of the positive impact on the planet, but because of how it contributes to a more meaningful day to day. The level of enjoyment received from an ad-hoc purchase is much less than that from budgeting and saving up for an item made with integrity, a story, and made to last. Yes, buying better typically costs more initially, but you’re more likely to have those pieces for longer and will be buying less per season overall. And hey! Why not resell those pieces after your own 30 wears and make some cash to offset initial costs?

Prioritise Buying Clothes Made of Sustainable Fibres
Garments made from nylon, polyester and other synthetic materials are a no-no. Why? They are essentially made from fossil fuels and are non-biodegradable, meaning those leggings will most likely still be around on this planet in 200 years. Yikes. Instead, look out for pieces made from natural fabrics like linen, organic cotton, or Tencel which is made from responsibly-sourced wood to create more eco-friendly clothes.

Warning: Watch out for blends! Even if a garment is 50% organic cotton and 50% polyester, it is very difficult to recycle those fibres.

Keep the Party Going!
Most importantly, make the most of the garments that are already in your wardrobe! Upcycle the clothes you no longer wear directly with fashion designers on RETURE, or if a seam has ripped and you need a quick fix, head over to our friends at Sojo. Or perhaps, make some money on the side by renting out your wardrobe on platforms like By Rotation or Hurr and borrow from fashion fashions friends new and old.

Fashion is made to be loved and re-loved – more joy, less waste!

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