Five Ethical, Not-Evil Ways to Feed Your Fashion Addiction

How to simultaneously stay woke AND stylish

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There’s nothing wrong with a little fashion obsession or wanting to look fresh AF at all times, but real talk (and deep down you know this), your weekly Zara deliveries are probs not doing the planet or the humans on it a ton of favours.

The fashion industry is one of the world’s largest polluters—designer Eileen Fisher called it the second largest after oil. (OIL!) Between the pesticides used to grow cotton, the toxic dyes used in manufacturing, the resources used for processing and shipping and the throw-away culture fast fashion has created, the industry’s carbon footprint is no joke. Add to that the exploitative and often dangerous working conditions of factory workers on the front lines, and many consumers are realizing that we need to take a good, hard look at our consumption.

The tricky thing is that many of us can’t afford to shop anywhere but at fast-fashion chains. Even so, there are some things you can do to curb your consumption and make more informed choices. So, how exactly can you be your most woke self without giving up fashion entirely? Here are five chic ways to be a better (but equally stylish) fashion-loving human in 2018.

Become one of those cool vintage girls

Ever notice that all the girls featured in those hip “cool girl” articles—the ones with the effortless style, perfectly worn jeans and covetable designer bags—always say the same thing when someone asks them where they got something? “It’s vintage!” How. Annoying. Be one of those girls! Vintage is so curated now, the era of rummaging through piles of stained dad shirts (but wait, are those cool now?) is over because someone else already did it for you. Plus, all the best boutiques are on the ‘Gram so all you have to do is follow to stay on top of the best finds.

Download all the amazing selling/trading apps

Newsflash: people sell things on the internet! And no, we’re not talking about the occasional mattress posting on Kijiji. With the proliferation of selling apps like Carousell, Depop and Letgo (and trading apps like Bunz Trading Zone) fashion obsessives are turning their shopping mistakes/regrets/one-night stands into easy cash, while at the same time buying (often current, brand new, designer) clothes for a fraction of the price (or if you’re trading, zero dollars!). Hot tip: there are a LOT of fashion influencers with a LOT of worn-once-for-a-selfie clothes on these apps. So yeeeeeeah, get thee to the app store immmmediately.

Start a v. exclusive fashion club

Speaking of trading though, if you have a closet full of things you don’t wear anymore, chances are your friends do, too. So get your chicest pals together and start an annual (biannual?) clothing swap. Think of it as an excuse to catch up with your day ones, drink so much wine and score some fancy new duds from people you know have top-notch taste. And as for any items not spoken for—pay it forward and donate them to your local women’s shelter.

Don’t be lazy, get that shit fixed

You know those pants with the rip in the seam or that dress with the broken zipper? Those things can be fixed. Like, suuuuper easily. So rather than buying a new pair of the exact same pants or going shopping for another flirty cocktail dress—even though it feels fancy to buy new stuff!—take those things to the tailor and keep on loving the clothes you’re with! Or if you’re being really reasonable, sign up for an intro to sewing class and learn to make these basic repairs your goddamn self.

Buy things that you actually want to keep forever??

Speaking of basic, this one’s the most basic of all. Don’t just buy things because you saw it on an influencer once! Or because berets are a thing right now even though you kind of hate berets?? When you make the decision to buy something new, really think about it—do you LOVE IT love it, or do you just love it for now? There may not be much you can do about pesticide use or manufacturing practices, but one thing you do have control over is your personal consumption and its general evil-ness level. (Less evil is better.)

Related:

15 Fashion Brands That *Aren’t* the Scourge of the Earth
6 Awesome Brands That Reward You for Recycling
The Best Thrift Stores Across Canada to Score Second-Hand Gems

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