By simply altering your shopping habits, you can have a major impact on the fashion industry. Choosing to put your monthly dose of retail therapy to good use can help improve offshore working conditions, fair trade, animal welfare, eco-friendly production and reduce exploitation.
Did you know that Australians purchase 27 kilograms of textiles per person every year? The ABC revealed this figure is twice the global average. Choosing to be a conscious consumer means purchasing less and shopping sustainably. Next time you find yourself lusting over the latest high-fashion trend, come back to this list and see what you can do to make a difference.
Choose quality over quantity
Instead of buying five polyester tees for the price of your lunch-time sushi, invest in an organic cotton or a merino wool shirt that will last a lifetime. While it may seem superficial, the more expensive a garment is the more value and worth it holds. You’re less likely to throw away a $100 turtleneck after just one wear than a $5 sweater. The quality of your clothes also plays a part in maximising its lifespan in your wardrobe through its classic design and durable fabric.
Purchase from eco-friendly brandsAlways research a brand before you buy from them. Being a conscious consumer means understanding where your clothes were made, how they were made and what values they hold. Does the brand use a waterless dyeing technique or regulate contaminated water disposal? These things have an enormous impact on our environment, and by purchasing from eco-friendly brands, you can have your say too. RP Skirts and Tasi Travels both incorporate the sustainable fabric tencel into their designs, so these brands are a great start.
Buy from brands manufactured in Australia
All hail the Australian fashion brands actually manufacturing in Australia (including RP Skirts). This may come as a surprise, but up to 80% of Australian apparel is manufactured offshore, thanks to the cheap rate of offshore production. Attaching the ‘Made in Australia’ tag to a garment not only instils a sense of pride in both the consumer and designer but also allows brands to regulate and promote the social conditions of the workplace.
Go thrift shopping
Thrift shopping leads to vintage gems and incredible finds at dirt-cheap prices. There are a variety of vintage stores and op-shops throughout Brisbane, from the fashionable SWOP clothing exchange at West End to Paddington’s Ra Ra Superstar, who also design their own clothes from recycled fabrics. Buying from op shops rather than retail stores minimises the amount of fabric in landfills and closes the loop on fast fashion.
Swap and share unwanted garments
What could be better than a cashless shopping spree with your best friends? Nothing! Gather your nearest and dearest around for a prosecco and nibbles, and make sure everyone brings a bag or two unwanted clothes. The best part of swapping clothes within your friendship circle is that everything is completely free! Swapping and sharing your clothes with friends is the easiest way to give garments a new life.
Whether you end up having a wine night with your friends or find yourself stalking ethical fashion brands on Instagram, always remember to shop sustainably and give your garments the long life they deserve.