Whether you are ready to start making an impact, but are unsure where to start or just need a quick refresher, check out our guide filled with tips and tricks to make your shopping behavior more sustainable, fun, and rewarding.
Lars Dinjens • 25 January 2021
Probably not the answer that you’re looking for. But yup, it can be that simple. As Westerners, we’re so used to consumer culture that the threshold to buying something new is almost nonexistent. You probably recognize the short term excitement that comes with a purchase, for it to slowly but surely fade away into just another item in your wardrobe. For the long term, this buying pattern is an unfulfilling process that results in us collectively buying way more than we actually need. So next time you’re thinking about buying something, just ask yourself: do I really need it? If you don’t, you’ll save money and the production impact on the environment.
When you’re considering a purchase, sleeping on it for a night can really help you to evaluate whether you actually need it. Brands can toy with you by pretending that the offer is scarcer than it actually is to make you make up your mind at the moment. If you recognize yourself in a consumption pattern like this, consider reading a good book or blog on minimalism. Once the concept clicks it can be liberating to refrain from buying.
Secondhand is cheaper and the most environmentally friendly thing you can buy after not buying. We have a bunch of cool platforms that provide you with second-hand options. Vinted is the obvious choice, but Vestiaire Collective and Thredup both provide great options for designer fashion that allow you to pick up cool stuff for less than if you’d buy new. If stores are open in your area, your local thrift shop is the best option though, because you also eliminate the need for packaging and shipping.
If you need to buy something new, you’re going to have to make a choice between brands. There is a huge difference between how brands produce their clothing. Supply chains can be long, complex and harmful to the environment, people and animals. We research fashion brands so you can make a choice that’s in line with your values. Download our Chrome extension to find out how brands are performing while you shop or just check the brand on our website to check whether the brand is sustainable before you make a purchase.
Low prices can be seductive. But almost always, a low price is too good to be true. Especially in the fashion industry, the costs are paid elsewhere in the world and the quality is often so low that the garments end up in the trash in no time. Sustainable denim companies like Nudie Jeans offer repairs for life. Patagonia offers ironclad guarantees and MUD Jeans offers the option to lease a pair of jeans. By spending your money wisely at these companies you make it a one-time-purchase and avoid the need to buy something new a few months from the last purchase.
If you’re hopping on the hype bandwagon every now and then for the latest trends you’re probably also wearing the garment until it goes out of style. While you could of course sell the garment to a second-hand platform again, you could also opt for a smarter wardrobe. We’re not saying you have to dress boring. But having a good and durable set of basics in your wardrobe goes a very long way. You can combine timeless and basic pieces with everything and make sure that you can always make new combinations within the same wardrobe.
There’s no need to buy something new if there’s something slightly off. Some brands offer repairs for free or a small fee. But you yourself or your local tailor can easily do this as well. So if you really love the garment or just want to extend its lifetime it’s time to get to work!
Sashiko is a Japanese way to repair jeans that not only strengthens the jeans but also celebrates the repair by showing the treat. We think it’s really cool to not only repair your garment but to also celebrate what you’ve done to make it unique and your own. You can for example patch holes with iron-on or sew-on patches, change a button for a different (and better) one, or whatever else you can think of! With a little creativity a little wear and tear won’t be a nuisance anymore, but an opportunity to revive your wardrobe! Pro tip: check out Patagonia’s Worn Wear for some cool ideas.
All options in this list so far include some for of buying. When we need something our first reflex when it comes to fashion is to simply buy something. But have you ever considered the possibility of renting? MUD Jeans offers lease options for denim already. You lease a pair of jeans and when they wear out you hand them in so they can be recycled and you receive a new pair. For a monthly fee, the denim brand makes sure that you always have a quality pair of jeans in your closet. Lena’s Library is slightly different and has a point system in place that whenever you rent something it simply subtracts points. This makes sure you can change your wardrobe frequently without buying anything at all! If you really want to take it a step further check out the virtual fashion from DressX whose garments don’t even exist in the real world. Or just ask a friend of course.
Donating the clothing you’re not wearing anymore to charity is a controversial subject. So what are you going to do with it? Trade it of course! Where you might not wear it anymore, you shouldn’t underestimate the value clothing still has. You can offer your clothing to a local thrift shop or to a second-hand platform on the internet to make some new budget. But you can also simply organize a clothing swap with friends and directly trade with each other. It’s a fun activity and mostly always everyone walks away with some room in their wardrobe or some nice extras. Bonus tip: if you’re don’t want to sell or trade old clothing, another option is to store them for a few years. Trends often make a comeback and when they do you, or maybe your children, have a cool ace up your sleeve!
So that does it. As you know now there are tons of options to pick from when looking for something new. Use these tips to your advantage and save yourself some cash, reduce your impact and just enjoy the process.
Let us know if you have any tips or tricks that are missing from this list at firstname.lastname@example.org