I have a confession to make: my name is Alice and I’m a fast fashion addict. I love shopping for new clothes and I’m always interested in the latest trends. I often spend hundreds of pounds a month on fashion, and some outfits I’ll only wear once for social media.
Chances are you can relate, huh?
Don’t worry: this isn’t a post to tell you to stop shopping or loving clothes. But inspired by the increasing media focus on the environmental impact of the fashion industry and the headline-hitting Stacey Dooley documentary, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my relationship with clothes and the wider effect this has.
In a wonderful moment of serendipity, my blogger pal Ruth organised a blogger clothes swap just as I was pondering my fashion footprint. As well as the opportunity to raid my favourite fashionista’s wardrobes, I was excited to ask my fellow Scottish bloggers about their ethical fashion tips.
For the longest time I was ‘against’ ethical fashion: not because of its planet-saving credentials (I’m not a total psychopath) but I’ve often found ethical brands uninspiring and expensive.
So if you are a fan of a fashion bargain like me, this is the blog post for you. I’ve rounded up my ethical fashion learnings, as well as tips from these blogger babes.
Swap with friends
This was what the blogger swap was all about! But even if you don’t have a blogger gang to trade with you can still get together with your pals to trade fashion goodies. I’m lucky that my flatmate is the same clothes and shoes size as me, so we frequently borrow each others’ outfits. Sometimes just wearing something that hasn’t come from your wardrobe is enough to scratch the new clothes itch.
Avoid fast fashion sales
How many times have you snapped up a ‘bargain’ in the sales, only to never wear it? I hate to break it to you, but if an item is never used then it’s not good value at all, regardless of what you paid. Not only that, but there’s a chance the item will end up in a landfill. Sad times. When you’re raiding the sales, set out with a list of the items you need and try not to be led astray by sparkly things! Now, I really must learn to heed my own advice here…
Shop ethical brand’s sales
One of the things that has put me off ethical fashion brands for years is that they can be so expensive. Ok, I know this is because they are ethically made, but ya gal’s not made of money! This is the one time when it is alright to shop the sales. Charlotte Mills‘ stunning handmade shoes are just about affordable in the sale and they are definitely the kind of shoes you’ll want to keep (and show off plenty!). Meanwhile, People Tree‘s sale is the perfect place to snap up your outfit staples.
Buy less. A lot less.
Ruth is the queen of ethical fashion, with her blog dedicated to everything slow fashion and local craftsmanship. Even though she loves ethical brands, Ruth is trying hard not to buy anything new at all.
She says: “Remember, sometimes, the most ethical shopping option is to not do any shopping at all. This realisation of sorts has come to me after years of seeking out the very best ethical fashion brands and designers, and still buying just as many clothes as I did in my fast fashion days when in reality, many of the issues within the fashion industry – environmental and ethical – come from the root problem of over-consumption, and the growing “need” for more stuff, faster than ever before.”
Raid your local charity shops
Lucie, who blogs over at Call Me Dumpling, advises getting to know the charity shops in your city if you’re after a planet-friendly fashion bargain.
She says: “I’d always recommend finding charity shops in the most affluent areas in the city to start off with, because chances are the donations will lean towards the high end designer end of the spectrum; even if donations are centrally sorted, these shops will be more likely to receive the fancy stuff. If you’re looking for very on trend pieces, try more studenty areas. I found a barely worn Galliano cocktail dress in a charity shop once!”
Accept less is more
Morag from Mo’Adore is passionate about ethical living, and her blog focuses on cruelty-free beauty and vegan foodie feasts. When I asked Morag for her take on ethical fashion, she mentioned our constant want for ‘more’. I know this is something I’m particularly bad for: even though I have so many amazing clothes, I always want something ‘else’.
Morag explains: “The trick is to never buy more than you know you’d wear. To me ethical shopping means not increasing demand or using resources unnecessarily. So even if you love looking nice and love playing with your look, still know when to stop.”
Take style inspiration from catwalks and bloggers
I loved seeing how the other ladies styled my clothes, and also how I could work their garments that I most likely never would have spied on my own (just look how sassy we all look in my boots. Like a modern-day Spice Girls)! You’ll be amazed how many gorgeous clothes you already own. Take inspiration from others to create new ways to style them.
What are your thoughts on ethical fashion? Do you have any brands you can’t live without? Feel free to share them with me in the comments section!
Photos taken by Edinburgh photographer Ellie Morag.