This week for Fash Rev, we’ve already talked about the six sustainable habits you should start. Personally, I like thinking about change through the prism of replacing old habits with new ones – but it’s still interesting to reflect on the things I’ve stopped doing since committing to shopping sustainably. Perhaps it will give you some inspiration to slow down and step off the fast fashion treadmill!
Not only does impulse buying lead to overspending, it leads to poor choices that end up sitting unloved in your wardrobe until you eventually pass them on. With Australians each sending an average of 23kg of clothing to landfill per year (Australia Bureo of Statistics), and only a fraction of that being usable in secondhand stores and op shops, the more you can rethink your impulse purchases the better. The exception of course is it you find a gem that has been on the list of things that you genuinely need to buy.
Priorising variety over quality
I guarantee you will prefer having one amazing pair of jeans that fit you perfectly rather than six different options. If you reflect on how you wear your clothes, you’ll probably find that you are always reaching for that one pair anyway and overlooking the alternatives. I know I did.
Buying uncomfortable/ill-fitting clothing
You want to LOVE what you own, right? So don’t compromise on finding the perfect piece. Sure, you might desperately want a leather jacket and the weather is cooling down, but don’t rush into buying one that’s only part-right. Soon enough you’ll come across something similar that actually fits and suits you… and it will be worth the wait.
Skimping on accessories
If you’re focusing on leaning out your wardrobe, amazing accessories can make all the difference in making sure your outfits don’t feel predictable – and investing in quality accessories really elevates your outfit. Buying quality leather bags, jewellery that doesn’t tarnish, and beautiful silk or cotton scarves (that stand the test of time) ensures that you value and hold on to your accessories for longer – keeping broken and ‘cheap’ accessories out of landfill.
Buying things that you aren’t prepared to return
When I first started shopping online, I cut corners and made mistakes – not properly taking my measurements and buying the wrong size, and making impulse purchases when I was tempted by the word SALE. When the items arrived, I would be disappointed, and annoyed at the logistical hassle of needing to return them – and I often would never get around to it… leading to them sitting in my wardrobe until I passed them on… (refer 1. Impulse buying!). These days, I don’t rush. I carefully consider sizing and consult my ‘needs’ list when I’m making a purchase and so I don’t need to return as often. Even still, I prepare for the possibility of the item being not quite right and me needing to return it and I don’t make the purchase unless I can afford a return. I keep pre-paid post bags on hand to make returns easier and now it’s just another part of my slow shopping mentality and habits.
Thinking changing your shopping habits can’t make a difference
Too often we think that our actions, as individual consumers, can’t effect change in an industry as big as the fashion industry. But the fashion industry only got big because of the actions of consumers. A small action, multiplied by lots of people also taking similar actions, can lead to big results. As Margaret Mead said, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
I hope that you’re inspired to make a small change today!