A beginner’s guide to becoming a sustainable shopper:

F A S H I O N

  1. Widen your knowledge.

Thankfully, there is a lot of scope surrounding the topic of sustainability. You can simply turn on the tv to find BBC’s Fashion’s Dirty Secrets Documentary, explaining how the garment industry is the 2ndmost polluting in the world. 

Take a walk down the high-street to witness a change in fashion campaigns, such as H&M’s conscious collection. Which claims to reduce climate and water impacts by up to 90% through their recycled cotton pieces.

H&M Conscious Campaign.

Connect with the community of sustainable advocates. Niomi Smart often shares her journey towards a zero-waste lifestyle on Instagram and YouTube, in attempt to amend the disappointing fact that 73% of global apparel will eventually reach landfill. 

The most immersive alternative is to visit an exhibition. The recent Fashioned from Nature exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum was both interesting and informative. Using the most beautiful designer garments to display how fashion is dependent on the natural world and its resources.

Calvin Klein’s dress made from recycled plastic, worn by Emma Watson (left), Leopard Skin garment (right), both displayed at Fashioned from Nature exhibition.

2. Carry out a wardrobe audit.

Personally, this was one of the most effective ways in which I could really see the devastating level of my fashion consumption. After completely covering the entirety of my bedroom with clothes, I felt ashamed and the immediate need to change my bad shopping habits. 

A wardrobe audit allows you to make a list of how many items you own, the ones you love, the most worn, the ones you haven’t worn in the past 6 months and the ones you forget about but want to rediscover. It can be fun to do this with your friends and even share pieces that you no longer want. 

I’ve made a free template to help you on your way to minimalism!

3. Make vintage or second hand clothing your go to.

Buying vintage clothing can be seen as a stylish treasure hunt… There is nothing more exciting than looking through preloved clothes, and when you find that perfect 1960s handbag or satin designer scarf, for a fraction of the price, you’ve found the chest full of gold! 

There is a lot of stigma around second hand clothing, but it’s not all dusty, outdated stores, preloved shopping also exists online. I LOVE Vestiaire Collective, I can spend countless hours browsing their site. As a Paris based company, you can expect nothing but timeless pieces. Additionally, Depop is great for high street fashion, whilst Esty is the perfect place to find more unique garments. 

However, I also suggest visiting local vintage stores as it can be an enjoyable shopping experience to try on clothes from previous eras whilst supporting smaller retailers. 

B E A U T Y 

  1. Look for the cruelty free sign.

I don’t claim to own a perfectly sustainable and eco-friendly makeup bag… but I am slowly learning which precautions to take to reduce my impact. When choosing a product, I always search for the cruelty free sign. This value of mine was born when I first saw the film, Legally Blonde 2, so if I can’t inspire you then hopefully Elle Woods can…

It’s helpful to research which brands stand against animal cruelty, so you can easily direct yourself when shopping. My favourites are Neal’s Yard for skincare, Bare Minerals for foundation and concealers, whilst Too Faced and Glossier have beautiful products for lips, cheeks and brows. 

2. Use organic and natural ingredients.

Less is more. We are natural beings, we depend on the earth’s resources in our everyday life, so the idea of using unnatural and chemical based products has always been disconcerting for me. I advise reading and researching the ingredients of a product before you put it on your skin, make sure they are natural and beneficial for your skin type. 

3. Avoid single use packaging.

We are living in a plastic era. Due to the issue of plastic pollution brands are innovating new products that can help you to reduce your single use plastic consumption. Lush is the perfect example; their solid shampoo bars can last for the same duration as 3 plastic bottles of shampoo. I am in love with their Coconut Rice Cake and Honey I Washed My Hair, shampoo bars. My hair has never felt so good with any other product! They are also perfect for travelling as you don’t have to worry about liquid sizes in your hand luggage. 

Another effective way to reduce your plastic consumption is by buying in larger sizes and decanting products into reusable containers. Furthermore, bulk buying can be helpful when purchasing products that you know and love and use on a regular basis as this saves on energy usage during the delivery process.

L I F E S T Y L E 

  1. Use Airbnb when travelling

I travel a lot, so I understand that it is easy to ignore the levels of CO2 that are generated during a single flight, that may have cost you only £40 on Ryanair. In fact, I am writing this post, in the clouds, on my way home from a long weekend in Italy. Nevertheless, I believe that we can make other changes to our travelling habits in order to help our planet.

Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative, it comes from the idea of a circular economy. If you consider the amount of water, food and energy that is wasted in the hotel industry then it’s easier to consider the idea of sharing the home of another. I don’t doubt that a holiday should be a relaxing time and somewhat a luxury experience, this is where Airbnb may surprise you. They have a variety of listings from luxury villas to more budget fitting spaces.

2. Think consciously when food shopping.

There are small improvements to your usual supermarket trip that could be made to help the environment’s current state. Buying from local businesses can help to cut down the energy used when distributing food and it can often be healthier for your diet. I am grateful for being brought up in the Yorkshire countryside as there is nothing more gratifying then drinking local honey in your tea and eating the vegetables grown on your grandad’s allotment. However, I tried and tested being a city girl during my time at university in London and learnt that Wholefoods is the next best thing. Choosing organic stores or organic lines can be a conscious way to reduce your environmental impact. A final suggestion is to purchase a reusable cloth bag that can replace the plastic bags that fruit often comes in.

In nutshell, achieving sustainability in your own life is a journey that relies on each one of us to take one small step at a time for the better. Hopefully I have inspired you to change at least one thing in your daily life, I would love to read your suggestions in the comments below!

Yours Truly,

Alice  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s