Sustainable shopping is the future of the fashion industry. More and more consumers are seeking out sustainable fashion brands for their next stylish investment. Shopping sustainably promises to be the route to achieving a kinder fashion industry, but why is this? In this blog post, we're exploring what sustainable shopping is and why it's essential we apply it when investing in our wardrobes.
What is sustainable shopping?
Sustainable shopping refers to making conscious purchases to benefit the environment. Our traditional modes of shopping have led to overconsumption, waste accumulation and increasing fossil fuels. Those who engage in sustainable shopping aim to counteract decades of harmful shopping habits and pave the way for a more eco-friendly future.
An example of sustainable shopping
You have a special occasion coming up, and you don't have anything in your existing wardrobe that matches the dress code. Instead of shopping online at a big fast fashion house, you take time to consider your purchase. As a sustainable shopper, you want your investment to do three things:
- Be the perfect outfit for your special occasion.
- Be long-lasting and durable.
- Be versatile enough to wear again.
- Not contribute to rising carbon emissions.
- Be created in a purposeful and kind environment.
Popular fast-fashion houses work on large production runs, emit fossil fuels, and produce low-quality garments— they don't meet the correct criteria. You come across a sustainable fashion brand that creates made-to-order dresses using organic fabrics that are made to last. And, best of all, you love their pieces! You know you'll wear the dress throughout the summer and layer it up in the colder months too. It’s ideal for your special occasion, but can be worn casually too. It ticks all your boxes and more! You decide to place an order with this sustainable shopping brand.
Once the order is complete, you begin to feel pretty smug about having the best and most sustainable outfit for your upcoming event.
Reduce your fashion footprint
We’ve established what sustainable shopping is, but why is shopping with sustainable brands important? Here are five incentives for making the switch to sustainable fashion brands.
Limit carbon emissions
One of the main aims of sustainable brands is to reduce carbon emissions. The fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions! There are several contributing factors to high carbon emissions levels; chemicals and pesticides used during cotton farming, plastic production, the manufacturing process, and non-biodegradable materials. However, sustainable fashion brands create clothing and accessories aiming to limit carbon emissions. These businesses don't use harmful chemicals, prioritise biodegradable materials, use plastic alternatives or recycled plastic, and work in energy-efficient factories.
Shopping with sustainable brands enables us to reduce our fashion footprint because their practices are more environmentally friendly.
In addition to high carbon emissions, the fashion industry requires high quantities of water. It's estimated it takes 7,500 litres of water to make one pair of jeans! Water scarcity is one of the most urgent environmental issues we're currently facing. Shopping with a sustainable fashion brand for your favourite denim means you're able to preserve water. Eco-conscious brands limit water usage by recycling old denim, using organic cotton (removing harmful pesticides that contaminate waterways), or limiting water usage.
Avoid unnecessary waste
Fast fashion culture means many of us purchase items only intending to wear them a handful of times before replacing them with something new. As a result of this mindset, most clothing is cheaply made using harmful materials. When you're done with this item (or it breaks due to poor quality), it ends up in landfills. When in landfills, clothes break down, emitting CO2 or travelling to large bodies of water.
If you invest in high-quality clothing that uses organic and natural materials, you can wear your clothes for longer and reduce the impact they have after leaving your wardrobe. For example, Kula bags are made using Texon-Vogue, a paper alternative to leather that doesn't emit harmful toxins when heated by the sun.
Improves human health
The toxins common in low-quality clothing and accessories threaten human health. Chemicals and pesticides used to assist the growing process of conventional cotton infiltrate local waterways, contaminating the water you drink and the food you eat. These toxins also endanger local communities and the farmers tending to these crops. And the risk doesn't end after production; the plastics in your garments continue releasing carbon emissions for the duration of their lifespan. Many of the chemicals contained in these products are cancerogenic, risking death or disease to humans and other living creatures.
Sustainable brands pledge to remove life-threatening toxins from farming and manufacturing. Shopping with sustainable fashion brands means purchasing clothing that doesn’t risk the health and wellbeing of those we share the Earth with.
Supports small businesses
Although we're seeing a shift towards the whole fashion industry becoming more sustainable, it’s small businesses leading the movement. When you shop with a sustainable brand, you're supporting people who care deeply about the planet and creating a more environmentally friendly industry. Instead of putting money in the pockets of businesses that prioritise profit over the environment, you can invest in small brands that want to create a better industry for all.
In this blog post, we've explored why sustainable shopping is important for the future of the fashion industry, Earth, and humanity. Sustainable shopping allows us to own beautiful clothes and accessories without paying the price of environmental destruction. Next time you're buying something for your wardrobe, consider the broader impact this has and how shopping sustainably can make a difference.