One of the biggest contributors to all of this waste is the fast fashion industry.

Big brands are constantly pumping out new styles to keep up with the demand we create, which causes more waste, pollution, and so much damage to the environment. While those statistics may seem overwhelming, there are so many ways you can be a more conscious shopper! Here’s how to shop for clothes more sustainably.

Shop vintage & second hand

Shopping for vintage and second hand pieces is a great way to give life to pre-loved pieces and reduce clothing waste in the process. Many people become hooked on second hand shopping and turn it into a fun hobby! There are so many beautiful unique pieces out there that have already been created and produced. You can also resell your own pre-loved items online or in store so you’re not creating more waste from your own closet! This cycle of buying and selling clothes benefits small businesses and keeps used clothing out of landfills.

Grayscale Photography of Assorted Shirts Hanged on Clothes Rack

Stay away from ‘trendy items’

Try your best to avoid buying pieces you’ll only wear a couple of times, instead, opt for pieces that can be worn again and again and styled in a multitude of different ways. It’s better to purchase one slightly more expensive and higher quality piece than 5 low quality pieces that you won’t get as much wear out of. It makes sense for your wallet, and for the environment!

Avoid large retailers and shop local

Most large retailers produce fast fashion pieces, which is the biggest contributor to waste in the fashion industry. Instead, shop from small local brands. This will not only reduce waste, but it will stimulate your local economy and put money and resources back into your community.

Photo of Woman Near Clothes · Free Stock Photo

Opt for clothing made from natural materials

Most fast fashion pieces are made from synthetic fibres and toxic chemicals, when possible, shop for pieces that are made from natural materials like organic cotton, linen, hemp, and tencel. These natural fibres and materials use less water and consume less energy and water to produce. Synthetic fibres take longer to break down when disposed of, and they cause more pollution to the environment than natural options do.

Rolls of assorted fabrics and textiles and sewing patterns inside tailor atelier

Use a reusable bag and go paperless

At the very least, when you’re out shopping you should always carry a reusable bag to carry the clothes you purchase out of the store. Another easy way to reduce waste is to opt for a paperless transaction- when you’re checking out don’t let the store print your receipt on paper (some stores even have email receipt options.) When shopping online, see if the retailer offers sustainable packaging options and opt for that. Another tip is to shop online in bulk- order several items at once rather than ordering separate packages which requires more packaging and materials.