How Can You Be A Conscious Consumer?

Your Tips for Ditching Fast Fashion

Illustrator: Claudia Dube

Most of us are familiar with the term fast fashion, and most of us might know what it entails. Yet for those of us that may need a refresher: it’s the term that is most related to apparel stores like H&M, Forever 21, Zara, and sadly, many more. Fast fashion companies are known for producing their clothing in non-ethical and non-sustainable ways. They use cheap resources to mass produce their items while paying the laborers unreasonably low wages and working them in harmful conditions just so these stores are able to sell their trendy clothes at low prices. Environmentally, it takes over 2,500 liters of water to make one cotton shirt—now think about how many cotton garments are being produced hourly… We now can see why there is a new wave to remove ourselves from supporting fast fashion brands. But how can we be thoughtful consumers?

First, get friendly with thrifting. Be that person who finds a dream pair of high-waisted Levi jeans (like yours truly) (wink wink). Not only are you finding unique pieces for your wardrobe and saving amounts of money by thrifting, but you’re also being involved in recycling clothing which is so beneficial for the environment! Second, get your research on (or keep reading for some helpful tips). Find clothing brands that have the label “Fair Trade” which means that they pay the laborers fair prices and demand safe working conditions. Or search for brands that use organic or recycled materials and sustainable fabrics. Okay, but what brands are ethical? Everlane, Matt & Nat, Patagonia, Levi, and Reformation are a few examples. And third, when in doubt, borrow your pal’s clothing! Can we bring back this bond of fashion between friends?

I hope we are all inspired to be a more conscious consumer and strive to shop ethically to help our world and the people in it.