A woman in a blue and cream sweater

So, you’ve seen the harm of fast fashion and decided to reject it. What now?

First order of business, celebrate! High-five yourself and be really proud of your decision. It’s one thing to say you care, but actually putting it into action is not easy to do. Bravo for committing to real change. Of course, becoming more conscious (in fashion or otherwise) is a life-long journey, and it doesn’t stop here.

Below are a few practical ways for you to keep this momentum going:

Continue to educate yourself, and form your own point of view.

Consciousness comes with understanding. Rejecting fast fashion leads to asking what’s better and why. There’s so much information out there for you to learn more about this topic. Platforms such as the Sustainable Fashion Forum and Fashion Revolution are great resources.

Educating yourself will give you a set of discerning eyes, which allows you to know your direction before moving forward. Note: your point of view will and should change in time.

Support sustainable and ethical fashion brands.

There’s a large space between fast fashion and sustainable (and ethical) fashion. We need to continue to go higher on the sustainability spectrum. In fact, we should all strive to help sustainability become the industry norm.

That cannot happen without the support of consumers like you and me. Because, as they say, you vote with your wallet. This is also the key to lowering the cost for sustainable and ethical fashion and, thus, helping making it more accessible to everyone.

Do your own research, and demand positive change.

Unfortunately, greenwashing is prevalent in today’s market. Greenwashing is when a company or brand shares false or misleading information about it’s products that conveys them to be more environmentally sound than they truly are. To avoid falling victim to it, you should do your own research and fact check sustainability/ethical claims. When you see words like “sustainable” or “ethical,” look for supporting evidence. What exactly does this company do that’s sustainable or ethical? 

As a consumer, you also hold tremendous power to influence what happens in the fashion industry. Many positive changes have already occurred as a result of pressure from customers. If you wish a brand you like was more sustainable, then let them know. If you suspect greenwashing, then ask for more details. If you see something wrong, then call it out.

As a consumer, you also hold tremendous power to influence what happens in the fashion industry.

Rethink your fashion behavior.

Practicing sustainability requires a holistic and mindful approach. You’ve already started the positive change. Now, let it radiate to the rest of your fashion behavior. The easiest way to do that is to change your mindset when buying. Instead of thinking about price per item, start thinking about price per wear. A $300 item that you love and wear all the time actually makes more economic sense than a $30 item that you never wear.

Change your mindset when buying. Instead of thinking about price per item, start thinking about price per wear.

Also, we tend to take much better care of the $300 item. In this way, you get to wear clothes that you are excited about for a long time, and you generate less waste. If everyone made this mindset shift, then fashion would become radically more sustainable. 

Start conversations.

Don’t leave your friends behind. Now that you’re on this journey to become more conscious, bring them along. Start raising awareness about the harm of fast fashion and the need for more sustainable and ethical practices. Share practical ways you’ve found to become more sustainable, and encourage your friends to do their own research.

Help them shift their mindset and understand the true cost of their purchase. Share sustainable and ethical brands you love with one another. Eventually your friends will start sharing with people they know, too. Your influence can create a ripple effect. Don’t underestimate it.

How conscious are you of buying sustainable and ethical fashion? Why is this a priority or not a priority for you?

Image via Melanie Acevedo, Darling Issue No. 11

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