What If I Can Only Afford Fast Fashion? Best Strategies For Ethical Consumers

A large part of today’s environmental and social problems may be attributed to the way we buy our clothes. Globally, the fashion sector is the most polluting, and it has some of the worst working conditions you’ll find anywhere.

Fast fashion stores have contributed to the emergence of a consumer culture that views clothing as disposable rather than an investment to be cherished for years to come.

You can help prevent harm to people and the environment by staying away from fast fashion and purchasing from ethical and sustainable retailers. But, understandably, not everyone has access to that choice.

Buying exclusively eco-friendly clothes is becoming increasingly popular, but it can be too expensive for many people. This article offers you some straightforward suggestions on making your love of fast fashion a little bit more environmentally friendly. 

Ready? Let’s get into it!

Make your clothes last longer

One of the best ways to avoid excessively shopping for new things is to take care of what we already own. Here are some suggestions on how to do that. 

Be mindful of how you wash and dry your clothes

Washing garments in cold or warm settings are more gentle on the fabric, so use cold water if possible. Add a small amount of mild laundry detergent to cold water and let the clothes soak for two minutes before washing them in the machine.

Washing should be kept to a minimum with fast fashion, using low-water temperatures and short spin cycles. Avoid softeners that leave residue on clothes since it can lead to more pilling. Run your clothes through an extra rinse cycle rather than using a fabric softener in the wash.

When washing fast fashion garments, be careful to use an appropriate detergent. Too strong a formula in some detergents can harm clothing over time. Before using any soap on your clothes, make sure you check with the manufacturer to be sure it’s suitable and won’t destroy them.

Machine drying is not always necessary and can damage clothes. The intense heat can damage fabrics and shrink garments, rendering them stiff or even literally melting the fibers together.

If you are using a dryer to freshen up your clothes that are already clean, use low heat for no more than 10-15 minutes. If your clothes need washing, air drying is always best!

When the garments are dry, remove them from the clothesline or drying rack immediately. If you don’t take your garments off when they’re dry, they’ll get moist and moldy, reducing their lifespan.

Also, avoid exposing your garments to direct sunlight. The sun’s UV radiation may damage garment fibers, degrade colors, and leave bleach stains.

The sun isn’t the only factor to consider when drying your clothing; the wind is also a factor. The reason is that if the wind blows, it tends to wear down garment fibers, causing premature death and long-term harm from frequent exposure.

Store your clothes properly to keep them fresh

We must maintain our clothing looking and smelling great to minimize the times we may be unnecessarily washing them.

Items should be folded with care and stored quickly after each use to avoid wrinkling due to tangling up with other belongings. When your sweaters become damp or sweaty, hang them and allow them to air dry.

To avoid mold or other musty odors, keep your clothes off the floor and away from any moisture that may form under them. Also, clothing left on the floor tends to get coated in dust.

To avoid a musty smell, make sure your closet is well-ventilated. Put lavender or coffee grinds in sachets and store them at the bottom of your drawers or garment storage to keep your wardrobe smelling fresh. Cedar is an excellent natural repellent for clothing-eating moths, and it also smells fantastic!

To keep your closet free of dust and dirt, empty it around once a month and thoroughly vacuum it.

Show your accessories some love

Don’t neglect the care of your shoes and bags. Keeping your leather goods clean can help them keep their beauty and prevent them from looking worn out after only a few months. You can use a cleaner that uses beeswax to restore the luster of your boots without the need for waterproofing.

If your shoes are still usable but scuffed, use a toothbrush and some liquid shoe polish. It will help to conceal any damage and make your shoes seem new.

The same is applicable for bags: if the stitching begins to come undone, you don’t have to throw them away straight away as long as it doesn’t impair the shape or function of the bag. Before taking them to a repair shop, try using a simple needle and thread or even clear nail polish.

Repair and mend your clothes to give them a new life

Repairing damaged or ripped clothing is less expensive than purchasing new ones. Clothing repair also lowers the quantity of textile waste that ends up in landfills.

When I discovered how costly it was to buy new clothes constantly, I began searching for methods to make the most of the items I already owned. I’ve been mending and repurposing my old clothing. It’s so wonderful to restore something that was previously broken to its (almost) original state.

When my clothing wears out or rips beyond repair, I recycle them into new pieces rather than toss them away. I’ve seen some significant advantages to my wardrobe due to these adjustments, and I discovered that I had more new and exciting clothes than ever before!

Avoid trends

Fast fashion skeptics worry that the pressure to keep up with the latest trends may lead consumers to buy more clothes than they need. There are, however, methods to lessen the impact of your purchasing on the environment and your bank account.

Avoiding trends is one option; instead, search for wardrobe essentials that will serve you well for years to come. Fast fashion has the drawback of having a limited shelf life before being replaced by the next big thing. 

If you’re going to spend money, put it on apparel basics like excellent boots and jackets that will last you season after season. There will be no need to spend money attempting to keep up with the newest trends when you invest in these classic items that will last for years.

Investing in neutral-colored clothing, such as navy blue or grey, is another excellent suggestion. There will be new trends every season, but if you buy neutral-colored clothing, your wardrobe will remain current regardless of what is popular at the time.

Be mindful about your shopping decisions

Ask yourself some questions

When you think about going shopping, start by asking yourself the following questions: What exactly am I searching for? Why do I desire it? Will this item get me where I want to go, or will it merely be an addition to my wardrobe? Is this anything that will bring me joy?

It may appear to be straightforward advice to disregard, but the fact is that many of us make impulsive purchases simply because we’re bored of our clothes or want to have something new to wear. When this happens, some things simply end up lying around and never be worn again.

If you’re tired of your clothes and want to try something new, look at what you currently own. By asking yourself these questions, you can determine what you’re searching for before becoming sidetracked by the next fast fashion fad.

Limit the number of pieces you buy

Following that, I recommend that you keep your purchases to a minimum. Instead of purchasing ten things per month, I would consider buying one or two pieces every month.

Before going shopping, establish a list of the things you require and wish to get. It may sound like a joke to suggest anything like that, but it will encourage you to stay focused on your shopping list and avoid purchasing items you do not need!

Select your garments carefully

It will be much easier to choose your clothing if you follow the previous two suggestions. Giving yourself the freedom to make thoughtful purchases at a moderate and controlled pace can help you change your negative habits of impulse buying.

Also, if you know what you currently own, you may seek items that go well together and have a holistic approach to your wardrobe.

To avoid being swayed by quick fashion culture in the future, choose fashionable options that you enjoy and fit your style objectives instead.

Look for eco-friendly fast fashion

Another method to make your fast-fashion habit more eco-friendly is to seek sustainable choices. 

H&M, for example, offers a Conscious Exclusive line that incorporates recycled materials and sustainability into the design process.

Inditex, Zara’s parent business, has announced a Sustainability Strategy to reduce waste and emissions while increasing the usage of organic cotton. Per Zara’s objective of producing 100% sustainable apparel by 2020, they developed the Join Life label.

An essential thing to remember is that just because something is fast fashion, it does not automatically imply poor quality clothing. Some brands provide good quality products at reasonable prices, ideal for individuals on a tight budget. Conscious or eco-friendly items are typically produced with higher quality fabrics such as Tencel lyocell, Ecovero viscose, or organic cotton.

Choosing the most sustainable pieces from a favorite fast-fashion retailer also sends a powerful message to them that you care about how your clothes are manufactured and about industry best practices.

Final thoughts

The clothes you wear may have a significant influence on the environment because of how they are made. Thus, before making a purchase, consider what you’ll buy and how you plan to take care of it.

You can do a few things to prevent your fast fashion from harming the environment and personal life. With these purchasing recommendations, we hope that everyone will be able to enjoy our beautiful planet with clean air, water, and land for years to come!