In with the Old, Out with the New
How to make 2022 the year you ditch fast fashion for good
There is no better time than a brand, spanking new year to kick some old habits to the curb. Maybe it’s the inevitable Holiday indulgence, or the onslaught of ‘new year new me’ Instagram posts but the first few weeks of January hold a certain type of freshness that always inspire me to re-evaluate my habits and set some intentions for the coming months.
And this year there is one area in particular I want to focus on: fashion and consumption.
By now, I’m sure that we can all agree that fast fashion is not good. For the planet, for people, for those of us with limited wardrobe space (guilty!!), and even for our wallets. Fast fashion is honestly just not doing it for me anymore.
Don’t get me wrong – I understand the allure, I do. I’m no stranger to a severely discounted PLT sale or a Boohoo student discount. A few short years ago I was blissfully unaware of the disastrous effects of the fashion industry, far more concerned about how many dresses I could buy with my weekly, self-allotted “clothing budget”. I appreciate what it’s like to want to look stylish on a tight budget.
But I also know a lot about the darker side of the fashion industry that brands do not disclose. In March 2019 I stopped buying fast fashion and since then I’ve been on a long, winding and sometimes exhausting journey to unsubscribe from fast fashion. Educating myself about the real impact of choosing a new Zara dress, rather one that is new to you completely changed my outlook on life.
I’ve come a long way since then and have made it my mission to share all I’ve learnt with others. It’s not about shaming or making people feel inadequate, rather presenting people with information that sparks change.
The goal for this year? In with the old, out with the new.
A new year’s resolution that I promise you will be the easiest you’ve ever made. Honestly!
There has never been a better time to unsubscribe from fast fashion and it has never been easier to access clothes that are new to you. I love that term: I think it encapsulates everything that sustainable fashion is. It doesn’t imply a huge “sustainable” shopping spree, or a complete rehaul of your existing wardrobe – because that, my friend, is anything but sustainable!
Engaging in sustainable or slow fashion is all about slowing down our consumption and being more conscious of our clothing choices. New to you is exactly what you think it is – an item of clothing that is new to you. Your sister’s top, your uncle’s belt, a friends jacket, a thrifted hat or a pre-loved dress: clothing that has lived a life but it’s new for you.
And it’s easier than you think! In the past few years there has been an explosion of vintage, second-hand and pre-loved fashion outlets with websites like Haru making it as easy to browse sustainable garments as it is to peruse Asos! A revelation if you ask me.
Still not convinced that this is only new year’s resolution that you need? Saying a firm goodbye to fast fashion is probably the most impactful decision you can make this year. The fashion and textile industry is the second largest polluting sector after air and maritime transport with the production of footwear and apparel causing 10% of global CO2 emissions. Clothing production has doubled between 2000 and 2014, and at this current pace of production the emissions of the industry could be more than doubled by 2030.
By choosing to buy clothes that are new to you, you’re not only reducing your own carbon footprint but also saving resources, pesticides and fertilizers used in production of clothing, reducing pollution associated with the manufacturing and shipping and refusing to support the labour and wage abuses that is a huge part of the production of fast fashion.
Great, it’s agreed! We’re all going to make a conscious effort to prioritize clothing that is new to you in 2022 – but that’s the easy part. The hardest part comes next: getting started. Well you’re in for a treat because I’m going to make it easy.
Follow these five simple steps and you’re already on your way to saying goodbye to fast fashion clothes for good. Try one a week for the first few weeks of the year and you’ll be well on your way to being a sustainable *queen*.
1. Unsubscribe from fast fashion brands’ email lists, delete their apps and unfollow them on Instagram. Replace them with re-sale platforms like Depop, Vinted and Haru, and follow sustainable fashion Instagramers that will inspire you when the going gets though (my favourite are Venecia LaMana, AJ Barber, Secondhand Huns and honourable mention for Trashion).
2. Sort out your clothes but don’t necessarily throw stuff out. An organized wardrobe is a wearable wardrobe so make sure you have a good rummage make sure you can see everything. Whenever I do this I always end up finding about 5 pieces I completely forgot I had and it makes me feel like I’ve bought new clothes (when in reality I was just wearing what I already had)!
3. Take the time to have some fun and try on new outfits with what you already have. I always surprise myself with the outfit combinations I come up with when I start to really think about it. Finding new ways to wear what you already own makes you feel like you’ve bought something new while also being the most sustainable!
4. If there is anything you feel like is missing from your wardrobe or really want, write it down in your notes app and forget about it. Every time you think about that item, write it down. You’ll be surprised how some items – say a plain white t-shirt – keeps popping up while others – iridescent pink clogs - you completely forget about. If you write an item down more than 8 times in a month, buy it.
5. Dedicate one day a month to a big thrift-shopping outing – and make a day of it! Gather up some pals, plan a route with lots of charity, vintage and second-hand stores and add in some pre-planned coffee breaks and a nice lunch. Shopping is often seen as a national pastime so if you make second-hand shopping as fun as a day out on the high-street, you don’t feel like you’re losing out on something. And I guarantee you it will be way more fun.
Now let us raise a toast – to 2022 – the year that we truly say in with the old, out with the new!