Sunday, May 19, 2024

How to Become a Conscious Consumer

Here’s What You Can Do to Help Save the Planet

Worried about the effect of your wardrobe on the planet? Before stepping out and buying a whole new wardrobe in the name of sustainable fashion, it’s worth taking a quick peek at these six easy steps in how to become a conscious consumer of fashion.

Firstly, What is a Conscious Consumer?

A conscious consumer is someone who has strong ethical values. Maybe they will only support Fair Trade coffee or aim to buy their clothing locally. They think critically about their purchasing power and the kinds of business to which they’re sending their money when they buy something.

Using purchasing power to support businesses whose values align with your own is one small but powerful step to becoming a conscious consumer. There’s more to it of course, and these six steps will help put you in the picture for becoming a conscious consumer of fashion.

1. Care For Your Clothing

“The most sustainable garment is the one already in your wardrobe” according to Fashion Revolution co-founder, Orsola De Castro. Our wardrobes are already full of well-loved clothing, so why throw it all out? Caring for our clothing is the first step on the path to becoming a conscious consumer. Checking out the care label for the correct way to wash, treat delicates, fold or hang garments properly all help ensure they last longer. Upcycle unloved clothing by dyeing, mending or DIY’ing into something new. 

2. Give Fast Fashion the Flick

Conscious Consumer looking at her clothes on a rack

Instead of shopping the big brands, slow down your buying habits. Embrace slow fashion, by finding a unique outfit at your local op shop. Step away from the mindset constantly pushed by marketers that says “I need to have this now”. Unsubscribe from emails and unfollow influencers and brands that are always telling you to buy now. Hone in on your own personal style by creating a capsule wardrobe. Maybe hire a stylist to help you?

3. “Buy Less, Choose Well, Make It Last”

Clothes piles up in a laundry

Legendary fashion designer, Vivienne Westwood was right all along. We need to slow down our fashion consumption. By embracing her mantra, “Buy Less, Choose Well, Make It Last”, as the benchmark for investing in new pieces you can significantly reduce your clothing consumption.

  • Ensure garments are made of high quality and check for uneven stitches, loose threads or ill-fitting shapes. 
  • Consider natural fibres such as cotton and linen. Stay away from synthetic fibres like polyester, that don’t last long and have negative environmental effects.
  • Make sure you really need what you are about to buy. Maybe wait 24 hours before you purchase. Write a wishlist with things that you need before heading to the shops to stop unnecessary buying.

4. Get a “Degree” in Slow Fashion

Terms like Tencel and GOT’s have you confused? Then it’s time to get Googling! Reduce your fashion footprint by making informed choices. Choose natural fabrics like organic cotton and linen over harmful polyester and viscous. To help you buy better, look for phrases like ‘Fair trade’, ‘OEKO-TEX’ and ‘Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)’.

Want to know what your favourite brand really pays their garment workers? Ask them! #WhoMadeMyClothes is showing that we want to see transparency in our favourite brands’ supply chains. By supporting brands that value ethical production, we can set a new standard for the fashion industry. 

5. Share With Friends

Two Women walking down the stree

Remember sharing your best friends party dress? Why did we ever stop doing that? Let’s bring sharing back into vogue.

Better yet, hold a swapping party. Gather some friends who have some gently worn threads they no longer love and get swapping. The best bit? A whole new look that hardly costs a cent.

6. Rent Instead of Buying

Stylish woman in Tanerine suit and matching bum bag

Can’t bear the thought of wearing the same outfit twice? Rent it!

Glam Corner, Dress Hire and Rntr are all Australian owned places to pick up your next look at a fraction of the cost of buying new.

Love this? Then check out: 5 Sustainable Fashion Apps You Need to be Using Now

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