Sustainable Fashion Swaps You Need To Make!

Staying trendy while helping heal the earth? Yes please!

Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice.

Making eco-conscious decisions in your life doesn't need to be hard or expensive, contrary to common belief. Becoming aware of your impact on the world through clothing, what you eat, and the very basics of how you live can be an alarming thing. For so long we've been lead to believe that new is better but how long can we collectively continue on that path?

Reducing your waste, recycling plastic, switching to reusable grocery bags, and carrying a metal water bottle are fantastic steps but let's face it, there's so much more we could do in our day-to-day lives. There are countless threads of what not to buy if you're looking to live low waste but sometimes too much information can be overwhelming and difficult to digest.

Here are the tips on how you can live not only fashionably but also sustainability.

1. Go For Pre Owned Clothes

inside of a thrift store
Image Source: Prudence Earl on Unsplash

One of my most favorite things to do on the weekend is to go thrift shopping at our local stores. There are usually some great hidden gems in those racks, and if it's a local small business it's most likely to be marked at an amazing price too. 

If you're not looking to buy from a store it's a fun idea to talk to your older extended family and see if they have any cute vintage pieces they're looking to sell or give away!

2. Indulge in DIY's

diy homemade earings
Image Source: Fig Rosewood on Unsplash

It is a lot easier than you'd think to create your own earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. While it might take some practice, it's super fun and rewarding hobby to take up, if you get good enough you can even sell them at your local market.

Some beginner materials to create your first DIY would be:

  • Beads
  • Thin Metal Wire
  • Earring hooks
  • Necklace Clasps
  • Jewelry Making Pliers
  • Colored Yarn or Twine

If you're unsure of how or where to start, take it easy and begin with some basic earring designs. Here's a short clip of just how simple jewelry making can be!

3. Repair, Don't Replace Your Torn Items In Your Wardrobe

older lady sewing by hand
Image Source: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Don't throw away that sock with the hole in it!

Too often when we encounter clothes with tears in them and immediately turn to the garbage bin when really, it would be an easy 3-minute fix. Are your favorite pair of jeans worn out? Sew trendy patches into them or tear them even more to get that distressed look. Have you stained that pristine white t-shirt? No problem! Tie-dye it any color you want and make it an original statement piece.

Below is a video to help you along with some common stitches to fix your clothes!

4. Shop Locally

small business
Image Source: Social Cut on Unsplash

Of course, reusing and repurposing what you already own is the perfect practice to maintain a sustainable impact on the earth, but sometimes it's necessary to buy new and that's alright!

Shifting from big-box outlet stores to supporting small businesses helps contribute back into your community and overall, betters your shopping experience. When shopping at a chain store it's not guaranteed you'll have a positive experience but at a local store, employees are more likely to genuinely care about your satisfaction and are eager to assist you with anything you need.

Most often with larger corporations, you'll see a lot of exploitation of vulnerable communities, whereas though in smaller businesses the products are usually made and ordered through morally acceptable practices. 

5. Stick to Staples Items

lady in sustainable clothing
Image Source: Man Ilienerwise on Unsplash

Being able to diversely style one piece of clothing over and over again is essential to a semi-minimalist and eco-friendly practice. Using a plain black or white t-shirt is possibly the best starting point if you're brand new to sustainable fashion. A basic black shirt has endless potential for styling, you could wear it tucked into jeans with a black belt, layer it under a thin strap dress, or even layer it over a long sleeve shirt.

By wearing one piece in a plethora of different ways, you'll be able to utilize what you already own and extend the life of your wardrobe.

6. Unfollow Fast Fashion

no online fast fashion shopping today
Image Source: OneSave/Day on Unsplash

What exactly is fast fashion?

Inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends is called fast fashion.

It's hard to deny that a lot of fast fashion is incredibly affordable and attractive but when it comes down to the facts, it's just not sustainable. The majority of fast fashion brands, similarly to big box outlets, use exploitation as a form of manufacturing their products. Not only that, but the actual clothing, shoes, and jewelry are made from cheap, and often not eco-friendly, materials like polyester, acrylic, and nylon.

Researching and recognizing which brands contribute to the toxicity of fast fashion helps you avoid the fast-growing, consumer mindset of "out with the old, in with the new".

7. Borrow Clothes From Friends and Family

white wedding dress on hanger
Image Source: Cate Bligh on Unsplash

If you've got an event coming up that calls for a higher-class dress code, it's not the best idea to go out on a whim and spend a fortune on an outfit you plan to wear one time. Instead, why not ask your friends and family if they have any elegant attire you could borrow? Not only does this trick save you a lot of money, but it can be a new and fun experience trying on someone else's dresses!

8. Invest in Minimalism When Buying Jewelry

minimalist ring on wood
Image Source: Jessica Delp on Unsplash

This tip clearly piggybacks off of our past one on staple clothing items, but having minimalist jewelry you can style uniquely can make or break an outfit. Owning band rings, like the one pictured above, simple thin chain necklaces, and silver hoop earrings are all key accessories to the perfect ensemble. Match these with a color-coordinated bag or belt and you'll be looking put together in no time.

If you're finding it hard to make some of these eco-conscious swaps don't worry, everything takes a little bit of time to get used to, just keep in mind that with all the new choices you'll be making you'll be helping the planet along the way. Maybe you've already been doing some simple swaps and hadn't even realized that they were good for the environment, like thrift shopping!

Continuing to prioritize the health of our planet is vital to a successful future, for all of us. Participating in even the most minimal eco-friendly tasks like taking shorter showers, eating less or no meat and dairy, sourcing your food and products locally, are still steps in the right direction.

Just a 'lil content creator from the Okanagan interested in worldly exploration and self reflection.

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