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Ethical fashion can sometimes feel like an overwhelming topic. And rightfully so — it refers to the darker side of fashion (think factory conditions, animal rights and the environment).
And while it's easy to turn a blind eye if it means you can still shop your favourite fast fashion labels, now is the time to take a stand.
Before you freak out, becoming an ethical shopper doesn't mean you have to compromise on style or give up treating yourself to a cheaper trend piece every now and then, it just requires conscious decision making.
Below are six simple changes you can make that will allow you to wear your wardrobe free of guilt, and be a part of creating a sustainable future. Ethical shopping, it's the perfect fit. Here's how.
1. Do Your Research
Educating yourself on the brands you love and buy is an important step in becoming a conscious shopper. Doing your research will shed some light on how a brand treats the environment, employees and animals and equip you to make an informed decision. The only issue? Finding trustworthy information.
Enter, Good On You, an App that rates brands on how ethical they are, and offers up better alternatives for consideration. The news feed on the homepage will also keep you up to date with brand and industry ethics-related news.
2. Follow Diet Prada
Not as obvious an issue as sustainability or fair work place conditions — but equally as important — is the intellectual property of designers. Brands that create knock-offs are rife, and while buying their products is a cheap way to achieve a high-end look, it's not ethical. Diet Prada (if you haven't heard of it, where on Earth have you been?!) is an Instagram account dedicated to calling out fashion copycats — follow it, and try to support designers who create original work.
3. Invest in Quality Products
Although lots of fast fashion giants have taken positive steps to protect the environment and implement fair working conditions, there's still a lot of work to be done. While more expensive at the time, investing in higher-quality items is always the more sustainable choice.
4. Shop Vintage
Although we will always love the thrill of scouring local op-shops for hidden gems, the internet has made vintage shopping even more exciting. The birth of websites like The Real Real and Vestiaire Collective means we now have access to vintage pieces from all over the world and can shop without the fear of acquiring a fake.
5. Let Someone Else Love Your Clothes
Whether you're into vintage shopping or not, recycling your own clothes is an easy way to reduce your fashion footprint. Grab one of your pals and set up a market stall to sell your clothes and accessories (I can confirm that playing shop for a day is a good time) or donate them to a charity.
6. Go Natural
Clothes made from synthetic fibres can take up to 40 years to decompose — that's a really long time. Investing in pieces made from cotton and wool for example, has a lesser impact on the environment (not to mention they are way more breathable!).