By Haley Verre
The rise of fast-fashion means that clothes are now cheaper than ever, but the low cost comes at a high price. According to NPR, fast fashion has consequences for both the environment and the economy.
The more clothes that are made, the more resources and energy it takes to make them. Not to mention, the amount of waste that results. Furthermore, workers in the factories that produce these clothes are in unsafe conditions and get paid next to nothing for making a shirt they can’t even afford to buy. This is not a sustainable model for businesses to be using. Well-made, ethical clothing is more expensive, so consumers who can afford it should be giving their money to more eco-friendly businesses.
Although it is un-American to adopt a “quality over quantity” mindset, this is what you need to do if you are committed to buying ethically sourced clothing. Here are some tips if you want to be a more responsible consumer:
1. Remember That Less is More
Even though this advice sounds like something your mother would tell when you learn to put on makeup for the first time, it should be your new fashion mantra. One problem with fast fashion culture is that it breeds a “more is better” mentality. The cheaper the clothes, the easier it is to buy trendy clothing in excess. These clothes are not meant to last, yet students will buy them knowing this.
Instead of buying trendy clothes, opt for a few high-quality basics that will go with almost anything you already have. Invest in classics like a little black dress, a blazer, flats, and jeans that fit you perfectly. Well-made clothing will last longer and may save you money in the long-run.
Featured here is a pair of jeans from Alternative Apparel, a brand that is committed to making sustainable clothing in factories that meet the standards of the Fair Labor Association Workplace Code of Conduct.
2. Visit Your Local Thrift Store
This is a great way to buy clothes on a budget while also being environmentally friendly. As long as you wash the clothes, repurposing secondhand apparel is ideal if you want to go green. Thrift stores are especially fun because you never know what to expect. If you are interested in vintage clothes, this is the best way to find them at a low cost.
Keep in mind that more expensive thrift stores will have clothes that are in better condition. Some places to check out near Boston include The Garment District, Boomerangs, and Second Time Around. If you’d rather shop online, check out Urban Renewal and Green Room by ASOS, which feature recycled and repurposed clothing.
3. Exchange Clothes With Friends
Exchanges are even better than affordable clothing – they’re free! What you may be tired of might be new and exciting to someone else. Set up a clothing swap with a few of your friends to get a whole new wardrobe. This way you can reduce waste and save money. If you’re willing to spend a bit, check out the “For Free and For Sale” group on Facebook to find clothes that other students are selling.