If you think fashion is your passion, then you do not know enough about the industry! The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world right after the oil industry. As a lover of fashion, this can be very hard to digest. However, fashion makes more of an impact on the environment than you think because of fast fashion.

“Fast fashion” is a term that means clothes move from catwalk to stores quicker than ever. Not only is fast fashion bad for the environment, because nylon and polyester are non-biodegradable, but the workers that produce them are also exploited. If you want to be more eco-friendly with your wardrobe, here are a few tips to get you started.

Educate yourself on brands

Many of us are in a fortunate position where we can take this time to explore different brands and start supporting ethical fashion.

“Ethical fashion” is a process of investing in clothes that were manufactured to benefit citizens as well as the environment. Good on you is a platform which rates how brands treat the planet, animals and people and a great tool for researching brands while finding alternatives.

If you find that one of your favourite brands isn’t as eco-friendly as you thought, don’t stress, ethical fashion websites like Fashion Change provide ethical brands that have similar styles to the non-environmental ones. There are also lots of articles written from several Irish women such as Geraldine Carton, Molly Parsons and Taz Kelleher to help inform you about ethical fashion and so much more.

Discover what makes up your clothes

The best way to fight against fast fashion is to discover what materials actually make up your clothes. You will be surprised at the number of synthetic materials found in your wardrobe right now. These clothes, usually bought online and promoted by influencers, aren’t manufactured to be long-wearing and don’t break down easily if dumped. Therefore, it is so important to buy clothes that include a high percentage rate of cotton if possible. These clothes will also last longer because cotton is a more breathable material.

Once you are aware of the materials in your clothes, buying stuff to make you feel happier will ultimately not have the same effects.  Not only are you going to be buying clothes that last longer, but you are going to shop only for what you need specifically, all while saving the planet.

Thrive with thrifting

Thrifting is clearly the most popular way to enter the world of eco-friendly fashion. Although most clothes sold in thrift stores have been made in harmful factories, these clothes now get another chance to be worn as well as giving profits to charities.

According to ThredUp, if every garment was given a second life, we would reduce gas emissions by 73%. That’s a huge impact, so there’s no excuse to not buy secondhand nowadays! Buying secondhand has become easier and easier in Ireland. There are so many local charity shops dotted around the country so you cannot miss an opportunity to pick up something. Websites like ThredUp, Poshmark and Depop are also popular as it allows you to both sell items you no longer need and shop from other people.

Up-cycle your clothes

I am certain that we are all guilty of buying a certain piece of clothing and letting it gather dust in the wardrobe. So, instead of letting your clothes go unloved, why not try up-cycling? Up-cycling is a fairly recent fashion term but its concept is so simple. All you have to do is to take a clothing item you don’t wear anymore and transform it into a more wearable garment.  Sometimes you just need a pair of scissors to add rips, cut different shapes and crop old clothes. Up-cycling with scissors works best with old sweaters and denim garments because it’s new cuts look intentional. Pinterest and Youtube have so many tutorials on up-cycling that you’ll feel the desire to up-cycle more and that’s good. This way, your clothes grow with you and your style, rather than being thrown away.

Vote with your pocket

It’s ok if fast-fashion prices are more ideal for you. When buying fast fashion, make sure to check clothes for its good quality by analysing its fraying and loose threads. Another good tip is to ensure you can pair this piece of clothing with garments you already own. This way you will get the most out of the clothes you are about to purchase as well as being more conscious of your buying habits. If you just want that fast fashion fix, H&M Conscious is an ethical line of clothing that can satisfy your need for something trendy, something cheap as well as something for the environment. It’s a great way to know you are supporting the environment when buying something new and cute.

Using these tips, you’ll be able to build an eco-friendly wardrobe that looks cute and is guilt-free in no time!