To be honest, this note was one of the main reasons I wanted to make a website: so I could easily link friends and family to resources about ethical fashion, without me necessarily dumping an entire essay into their DMs. This is just the compiled texts I sent to the main university Discord server I hang out in when the topic of fast fashion came up and people started asking, “How DO I stop shopping for fast fashion?”. I would eventually like to add some basic key definitions and ideas here, but this is a quick-start guide to…
How to shop more ethically: The Basics
There are a few guidelines you can use to make better purchasing choices.
1. Buy fewer clothes
The first thing is just to buy fewer clothes. We all have lots of clothes, and probably don’t need to buy more, so reducing consumption and wearing the clothes you have til their bitter end is the best step. This has a positive environmental impact as well as it ensuring your money isn’t going to the wrong places.
2. Buy secondhand
If you need to buy clothes, try secondhand first. You are normally supporting a charity when you guy secondhand, and you can often find cooler pieces for way cheaper than they would retail.
3. Buy new but ethical/sustainable
If you have decided you need clothes and wish to buy them new, there are some websites that can help you figure out where they stand ethically.
“How do I know what’s actually sustainable?”
There are websites that grade brands:
- Goodonyou: https://goodonyou.eco/ is the main website with some good blogs, https://directory.goodonyou.eco/ is the actual brand ratings site.
- Baptist World Aid: https://baptistworldaid.org.au/resources/ethical-fashion-guide/
- Fashion Revolution Transparency Index: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/transparency/
You should take the gradings with a grain of salt, and you can read up on how they grade brands if you want a better picture of what the ratings mean.
Other websites and blogs (i.e. Google searches)
There are websites that compile ethical brands in blog posts or lists, but it’s always a good idea to look on a brand’s website for how transparent their manufacturing process is, look up any articles or opinions about controversies (just googling or searching on Reddit for the brand name). Some websites include:
- Britt’s List: https://www.brittslist.com.au/, nice because it’s based in Aus
- Eco Warrior Princess: https://ecowarriorprincess.net/
- Style Wise: https://stylewise-blog.com/
You can always google “ethical swimwear brands in Australia”, or replace this with other keywords, and you’ll find various google articles to comb through.
(Note: in response to my friend’s message about how there is lack of plus-size clothing at affordable prices)
Yeah for sure. I think you’d be interested in brands like HoMie or Afends, tho idk how well they do with larger sizes There are also various projects, movements or third-party certifications you can look for: Ethical Clothing Australia: https://ethicalclothingaustralia.org.au/ Who Made My Clothes/Fabric?: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/get-involved/ Certifications include B-Corp, GOTS and OEKO-TEX
In general, I find it enjoyable to research different brands and stuff. It’s just part of the natural process of my interest in fashion and also ethical or sustainable purchasing. So, if you enjoy the hunt, the process is quite easy. In fact, maybe I spend a little too much time looking into these things lol
I wanna start a blog soon so I might make some more handy guides like this. (Note: see: this website)
Tip: Know what you like
It also helps to know what style of clothes you like: colours, fabrics, styles, cuts, etc.. If you know your style, then you are more likely to buy clothes that you will wear for longer, and thus decrease the need for you to buy more clothes
Tip: Take care of the clothes you own
Also, taking care of the clothes you have is important
A few brands
Case study: Is Afends sustainable?
(Note: in response to “Afends is sustainable??”)
For the most part
Transparency about their supply chain is iffy, but sustainable is like part of being ethical
And like, it’s okay to compromise a little to buy clothes you’ll actually wear, if you need them, if that makes sense
There’s no point buying clothes from the most ethical/sustainable brand if they’re not your style and you’re not going to wear them
Brand: Buon Clothing
Buon Clothing is another cool brand, not sure how sustainable they are but their clothing is made in Melbourne
And they have a really wide range of sizes
HoMie clothing has a social enterprise aspect to their brand which is really cool, and they have info about their production process
Tip: Mindset matters
(Note: responding to my own message about how making compromises and buying clothes you will actually wear is more important than buying clothes you don’t like that tick all the boxes of being ethical/sustainable)
I guess what I’m saying is that it’s important to change your mindset about fashion more than it is to try and “buy better”, because your purchasing habits will come from your motives.
It is important to treat clothes as material goods with value and a lifespan. You should buy clothes with the intention of using them, loving them, and either passing them on to someone else before they’re dead if you don’t have a use for them, or using them until they’re falling apart at the seams (in which case, you can get your clothes repaired or tailored, and repeat the previous step until you can literally not wear them anymore)
(Note: in response to my thankful friend who asked about this in the first place)
Glad I could help
On second-hand shopping: other ethical ramifications
On the secondhand thing, you can also shop vintage if you have the means, or shop on websites like eBay, FB marketplace, depop, gumtree, etc., as some people are uncomfortable with buying from op shops when people who actually don’t have the means to spend more could’ve bought those op shop items
(I personally don’t have an issue with op shopping, since most op shops are inundated with donations anyway, and a lot of op shop stock has to go to landfill if it doesn’t get sold)
Brisbane vintage clothing stores I’ve been to include Arkive (Garden City, Chermside), SWOP (West End), Neo-Generalist (West End, in particular more expensive than other places). There are plenty of other vintage stores and op shops if you just search on Google or on Google Maps
im still a “sustainable brand” hater honestly and think i can find everything i ever need on depop lol vintage clothing stores are always overpriced which is disappointing - my correct cousin
Like really, you can find literally anything you want on depop
I don’t mind shopping vintage because 1. I get to try on clothes in person which means they’re 100% going to fit me and it’s not going to be a guessing game 2. Because if you buy something for $30 on depop and then you pay $10 shipping that’s pretty comparable to depop pricing anyway in some cases?
I would not buy vintage on depop because most of it is overpriced AND you can’t try it on, which is sort of a lose-lose Don’t discount eBay. Here is a really good video about shopping on eBay. https://youtu.be/enl5LVszMRw. Since watching this video, I have bought a very cute top on eBay
To Be Honest, if I’m looking for stuff on depop, I’ll buy Uniqlo or Glassons for basics bc I like a lot of the basic cuts and styles from them and I can get my sizes from the brands by trying on their clothes in store. And I’m looking to buy some secondhand Rollas jeans too. Moral of this tidbit is if you have a fast fashion brand you like, you can probably pick it up from depop if sizing is an issue