Search icon


07th Aug 2023

How you can become a more sustainable shopper

Ellen Fitzpatrick

How do we change?

Shopping on the high street and with online retailers is becoming a thing of the past, or at least something we try to find ourselves doing less of.

Second-hand fashion is becoming more and more normal, buying sustainably is the way forward when it comes to our own carbon footprint.

While second-hand and pre-loved clothing is not an option for some people, and that’s totally fine, we do need to take a step back and have a look at our shopping habits.

The continuous cycle of buying new is a relatively new thing, five or ten years ago, our aim was to make pieces last but fast fashion has taken over.

While reducing our fast fashion consumption won’t make a massive impact on climate change, that’s down to huge corporations, it’s better than contributing to it more. If there’s a way to combat it, it’s worth a shot.

So how do we become better and more sustainable shoppers? The first, of course, is to opt for slow fashion. Shopping in charity shops, on Depop or reworking old pieces is our safest bet. This way, we can keep on top of trends while still making a more sustainable choice.

If you do want something new, and of course, this isn’t an option for most, is to buy a pricier, good-quality piece you know will stand the test of time. Clothing that has a higher price tag usually does for a reason, because it is more ethically and sustainably sourced.

The reason places like Shein can sell for so little is because the clothes is made by underpaid workers with terrible quality fabrics that cost very little to source. Higher-end brands don’t work in this way, and due to the better quality, you’ll have the piece for years to come.

Another way to become a more sustainable shopper is to become a more conscious and mindful shopper. Creating a smarter relationship with clothes and steering away from trends that we know will die out as soon as they emerged.

While a lot of trends stick around, they’re easy to spot and more often than none, always make a comeback. Wearing clothes we feel good in despite what TikTok is telling us isn’t cool anymore is a way to do this, creating your own sense of style and your own aesthetic will keep your clothes on trend in your own way, and you can work them into a modern look by revamping them each season.

It’s all about how you style something, not whether is new and trendy. By having pieces you can wear over and over again but making them look brand new each time, you’ll find your consumption of fast fashion will reduce.

The final way is to become great at window shopping. Scanning through shops and mannequins with new outfits each week will give a deeper appreciation for what we have at home, and nine times out of 10 the piece we pick up to try on is something we have similar in our wardrobes already.

Unless it is something you’re 110% set on, ask yourself if you need it. Ask yourself if you can create at least five different outfits around this item of clothing, and if you can’t, then you’re not going to wear it.

Unless you know you’re going to get incredible wear out of it, don’t buy it. Shopping should be considered research, window shopping can help give us ideas for outfits we can put together using similar items we already own but never thought to style in a certain way.

Having a wardrobe of basics is your key, if you have those, any piece will go with them. If you have a colourful cardigan or patterned coat, having basics will allow you to wear something you originally might have thought you’d get one wear out of into something timeless.