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Five Ways to Shop Sustainably

September 19 2018  | 3 comments


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 brands 

Always 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.


      About The Author

      Kayla Wratten is currently in her third and final year of a Bachelor of Journalism at the Queensland University of Technology, minoring in Fashion Communication.  Her ideal day involves reading Vogue or Frankie with a cup of green tea by her side, dreaming of exotic travel destinations and catching a yoga class.  She loves nothing more than writing about her passion for fashion, interviewing designers and sitting front-row at Brisbane's runway shows.  You can read more of her work at

      Comments (3)

      • Glenise Coleman on October 13, 2018

        What a fantastic idea about swapping clothes with your friends. Now the warmer weather is here will definitely be organising an afternoon with friends to swap our clothes, maybe even drinks and nibbles as well. Keep up the good work.

      • glenise coleman on October 13, 2018

        Such great advice. I had no idea dyeing clothes could be by a waterless dye techniques, we need to look after our planet. Definitely going to use your suggestion of having friends over for drinks and exchange our much loved clothes. Thanks for all your valuable ideas.

      • glenise coleman on October 13, 2018

        Such great advice. I had no idea clothes could be dyed using the waterless dye technique. What a great idea of afternoon drinks with friends swapping clothes am definitely making an afternoon date with my friends.

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