Enough with fast fashion: How to shop fair

We all strive for a more mindful life and health. We meditate, exercise regularly and pay attention to nutritional values and ingredients when we eat. Usually. Most of the time.

But when the new collections come into the shops or when there is a sale, we lose our temper. Instead of thinking for a moment whether we really need the fancy skirt or the cute top, we just squint when we quickly pull the credit card through the slit. Whew, that didn’t hurt at all. Or did it?

Why should you buy sustainable fashion?

The fashion industry is one of the largest sectors of the economy worldwide. Unfortunately, many companies outsource the production of their textile goods to countries such as India, Cambodia or Bangladesh. There the workers often have to slave under catastrophic, even life-threatening conditions. Among them are many children who are forced to support their families financially.

According to statistics from the “Campaign for Clean Clothes”, a textile worker in Bangladesh earns around 50 dollars a month, while the cost of living is estimated at at least 260 dollars. For some years now, a counter-movement to so-called “fast fashion” has therefore developed in fashion. Anyone who buys sustainable fashion makes a valuable contribution – among other things, to promote better production conditions for people and the environment.

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What is sustainable fashion anyway?

“Fair Fashion” also known as “Eco Fashion” or “Green Fashion”, refers to clothing that is produced in an ecologically and socially compatible manner. It is about being aware of every single step in the process of creating the product.

Many think that Fair Fashion is “only” about the materials. In fact, there are a whole range of aspects that play a role in sustainable fashion. For example:

  • No child labour
  • No forced labour
  • No discrimination
  • No excessive working hours
  • Right to unionize
  • Safety and health protection
  • Living wage
  • Animal welfare
  • Permanent employment relationship
  • Ecological sustainability

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The list is long. But don’t worry: you don’t have to spend all your time researching during the shopping tour to see if an item of clothing meets all these criteria. There are now many seals that certify that brands adhere to certain guidelines. However, the jungle of seals and labels is still quite confusing.

Fair trade? Environmentally friendly production? Which seal indicates what exactly? How do they differ? And does a seal keep what it promises? For all these questions, please visit www.Siegelklarheit.de. The portal not only offers clear, well-founded information and recommendations; the seal comparison also motivates the organisations to improve their award criteria step by step. Here, not only seals for textiles are explained, but also those for food, laptops etc.

Does Fair Fashion look uncool?

Certainly not! Nevertheless, many people think that sustainable fashion and fashion consciousness are mutually exclusive. But that is complete nonsense! Besides the old-established fair-fashion greats like Armed Angels or Hessnatur, there are numerous young labels that deal with the topic and bring great creations to the market. The cuts are timeless, the fabrics are high quality and the quality is top.

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Is sustainable clothing more expensive?

Many think that fair fashion is particularly expensive. Even a sustainable T-shirt can only cost 10 euros – after all, it doesn’t need to be transported over long distances and so on. As a rule, however, sustainable garments are a bit more expensive, since they are not produced in low-wage countries.

However, if you really want to consume fashion sustainably, you should buy less clothes anyway – you’ll even save money on shopping in the end. Which brings us to the next point…

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In sustainable fashion, quality before quantity

“Wow, this skirt goes great with my new top and a nice pair of earrings?” Sure, we like shopping because we associate it above all with positive emotions. A new garment can save a stupid day. But do we really need all this? Too often we buy something new when we don’t have to.

This is also confirmed by a study by Greenpeace: According to this study, 60 percent of the women between 18 and 40 surveyed said they owned too much clothing. The study also revealed that almost every second woman owns various items of clothing that she has never worn before. Well, who feels caught?

So in future, it will be better to have a few good things in your cupboard that will give you pleasure for a long time than a lot of cheap parts that break quickly and also harm people and the environment.

This is how you dress for the long haul:

Consuming fashion in a sustainable way is something that not only ecologists and fair fashion bloggers have been doing for a long time, but also many French it girls. The so-called “5 Piece French Wardrobe” has the basis of having only 5 high quality basics, which are combined with new trend pieces according to the season.

Nachhaltige Mode muss nicht teuer sein Sustainable fashion does not have to be expensive. © AO / unsplash.com

That’s pretty radical. But it can be less strict: For example, with the principle of “capsule wardrobe”. The idea for this came about back in the 70s and is based on the concept of minimalism. In other words: less is more!

There you go: You simply reduce your wardrobe to several selected pieces, i.e. real combination miracles, instead of rashly making bad purchases and swearing off the “I have nothing to wear” moments!

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That’s how you build a capsule wardrobe:

A capsule wardrobe usually consists of about 37 pieces per season. Excluding swim and sportswear, underwear, jewelry, loungewear and bags. These tips will help you build a minimalist wardrobe:

1. provide an overview

Stand in front of your wardrobe and go through which cuts and colours you prefer to wear, what really suits you and above all: what you really wear!

2. mucking out

The band begins to play. Make three piles: keep, give away, tie. These are the three categories you’ll be dividing your entire wardrobe into. If you can’t decide on some things, pack a box and put it out of your reach. If you don’t miss the items after 3 months, they should also be given away, sold or donated.

Capsule Wardrobe From now on, only favourite items belong in the cupboard. © Priscilla du Preez / unsplash.com

But beware: Anyone who brings old T-shirts, jeans or sports shoes to the used clothing container should know that behind some of the names of large social or charitable organisations that appear on it are often private companies that sell or recycle used clothing as lucratively as possible – the social or ecological benefit is almost zero.

You can recognize really serious collections for example by the label “FairWertung” or the “bvse quality seal” on the container. In these cases you can be reasonably sure that the collected textiles and shoes or the proceeds from their sale actually go to social or charitable causes.

3. find out style

Next, you examine and analyze your yield. Which colours dominate? Are they rather trousers, skirts, dresses? For which occasions can you wear these clothes and how can they be combined? Take your time and try out one or the other look.

4. add slowly

Did it? Then you have only favourite parts in front of you! Now the question arises whether there are any last parts that you are missing for the perfect equipment. Write a list of these things and gradually add to what you are missing. But: No more than the Capsule Wardrobe prescribes is bought. If they do, an old part will give way to a new one – but only if it can’t be saved.

After all, patching, darning and other fashion repairs (upcycling) – professionally if necessary – is also an important part of sustainable consumption.

With conscious clothing consumption you will quickly find your own style and make a valuable contribution to the environment. Shopping with a clear conscience is more fun anyway!