Let's talk about sustainable clothing - Sustainable Series

In the era of ever-changing trends, there is an immense amount of waste distributed from fast-fashion companies. I have to admit, sometimes I fall into the trap of wanting things and purchasing them from fast-fashion companies, but we need to make a conscious step into more sustainable fashion choices. Through these different shopping techniques, you will be one step closer to the sustainability goals you’re looking for.


Thrifting has become all the rage in the last few years. Thrift shopping initially began as shops, usually charity-run, looked for donations for those less fortunate than us. However, it has become a hub of sustainable fashion, where the ever-changing trends will be right on the thrift shop rack. Not only will buying used clothes be beneficial for your wallet (it is pretty cheap!) but it helps our environment.

This type of shopping has also grown into different areas. Buying used clothing is easier than ever now. You can find used clothing in thrift stores of course, but also consignment stores and online buy and sell pages such as Facebook Marketplace. I would not suggest purchasing used products such as undergarments or any additional personal items, but in general you can thrift most of your closet.

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Eco Lines

I’m torn between eco lines of clothing because part of it simply feels like a marketing gag to me. However, eco lines are beneficial in several ways. Firstly, they promote the idea of consciously thinking about the clothing choices you make. So although it may be a marketing ploy, it ignites a conversation about sustainable clothing for yourself.

Additionally, eco lines encourage those who feel as though they don’t have access to used clothing access to a potentially more sustainable option. This allows those who are uncomfortable with fully switching to a thrifted wardrobe to dip their toes into a more sustainable approach. Finally, eco lines of clothing promote businesses to rethink their practices and potentially engage in making more sustainable business practices in order to keep up with the competition. Purchasing these products allows your vote with each dollar you spend to tell companies that you are interested in these practices.

Swap and Share

As someone who has lived with roommates and has siblings, I frequently swap and share my clothing. This is an area in sustainability that many people forget about. Instead of purchasing new products that might end up in a landfill, let’s share the current things that we own. When you do your spring cleaning and look through your closet, think about your friends and if they would be interested in your clothes.

The university student life has prepared me for this category because it is such common practice. Through Facebook buy and sell, and swap groups (such as the UW Women’s Swap and Sell Facebook Group), one can sell or swap clothing for a new find! Consider this the next time you are itching to buy a fast-fashion item - you can probably find what you’re looking for through a friend’s closet!

Sustainable shopping is a difficult area for me to navigate because sometimes I can get caught up in the trends and fast-fashion. Try to use these as tangible steps that you can take forward the next time you get the urge to shop for something that was produced overseas in a factory. We can do better!

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