A Beginner’s Guide to Shopping Sustainably

Clothing

By Fran Magiera

Ever wondered why that $5 bra you bought only lasted two wash cycles?

It probably wasn’t made sustainably. 

As society raises its collective consciousness, more ethical fashion brands have emerged. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming deciding where to spend your hard-earned monies. 

But what actually classifies as sustainable?

True sustainable clothing is both sourced from quality materials that don’t harm the earth in their production; and manufactured through a process which is considerate of the earth and those involved.

When shopping for sustainable clothing items, keep in mind that it’s all about buying for the long run. Where fast fashion is made to be constantly turned over (both on the shelves and in your closet), slow fashion really is all about quality over quantity, in classic, timeless styles.


Made well from quality materials + classic style = able to be worn for the duration of the buyer’s lifetime!

That being said, here are our tips when it comes to sustainable shopping.

1. Know what you’re shopping for

As a rule of thumb with any type of shopping, it’s best to go in with a list or a rough idea of what you’re after. For example, if it’s basic white t-shirts you’re after, you can just search for “sustainable t-shirts” instead of trying to find tee’s from different sustainable boutiques or sites.

Alternatively, you can also narrow down your search by the material. Brands like Silk Laundry and Wild the Gang only have products made from silk and linen respectively, so if there’s a fabric you like, you can start there.

Sustainable fashion

2. Check out second hand

Buying second-hand is a great way to reduce excessive consumption and clothing waste. It’s also (generally) more affordable! 

Whilst the items may not necessarily be made from sustainable materials, the act of not purchasing brand new is doing your bit towards sustainability by reducing consumption.

Check out online marketplaces like Depop, Carousell and eBay, and thrift stores like St Vincent de Paul.

3. Buy handmade

If the idea of wearing someone else’s clothes doesn’t sit right with you, you can opt for buying handmade items. 

This way, you’re supporting a small business, as well as someone that’s likely not using harmful practices to create their products.

Etsy is a great online marketplace for all things handmade.

When items are made to order (as in most smaller/sustainable companies), it’s also a great indicator that sustainable practices are being employed during production. Made to order means less material is wasted, as each product is created after it is purchased, so that manufacturers know exactly how many to make. 

clothing

4. Do a fact check

Always check both the materials and manufacturing process of the items you’re browsing for their sustainability.

Look for globally recognised certifications, such as the GOTS cotton label, as well as how involved the brand is in working with their suppliers or labourers.

Apps like Good On You provide the sustainability ratings of most popular fashion brands, so you can see what the companies are really doing to help the earth. 

Happy shopping!

About the author

Brunch enthusiast and Instagram addict, Fran Magiera loves nothing more than a good book, a glass of rosé and when her online shopping arrives on time. When she’s not working, you’ll find her at the beach, procrastinating from all responsibilities, attempting to exercise and patting other people’s dogs.


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