I filmed a video about the 7 Steps to a more sustainable closet and figured I write down everything that I said for you.
Step 1: Figure out the WHY
Why do you want to shop more ethically, more sustainably. Are you concerned about the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry? Are you a shopaholic, a “owning way to much stuff but still have nothing to wear” kinda person (because that is where I started)? Are you concerned about the animals? You are maybe a vegetarian/vegan and want to find brands that don’t use leather, fur or any kind of animal products. Are your concerns humanitarian? Do you care about the workers in the factories, how they are treated and the wage they receive. No matter what drives you, the first step is figuring out the WHY you want to change your closet. The WHY plays a tremendous role in your wardrobe change. By changing your perspective on the current fashion industry you will find motivation and everything you need to focus on your journey to a more sustainable closet.
Step 2: Get yourself informed
This step goes hand in hand with the first step. You will need to inform yourself as you are trying to figure out WHY you even want a more sustainable closet (or lifestyle). Check out my blog post on the different meanings of the overall general terms: eco fashion, fair fashion, slow vs. fast fashion, sustainable and ethical. You can get more information about our current fashion industry by watching documentaries like the most famous one: The True Cost. You can watch videos on YouTube, read books, articles and blog post online about conscious shopping and Fair Fashion movements. The more information, the easier is the change.
Step 3: Research the brands you love
The next step would be to research about the brands you currently love and support. Sometimes a brand has its own “about” page on the website to inform shoppers about the steps of their supply chain and give information about its impact on the environment, the code of conduct, what materials are used and usually the general story behind the brand. How transparent is the brands production process? If you can’t find any information on the about page, you should google the brand and check out websites that hold the necessary information. A very convenient app for this is would be Good On You.
Step 4: Transparency is Key
If you really can’t find information about the brand than maybe you should ask yourself why the company chooses to keep secrets? This might be totally acceptable back in the days without internet, but we live in the 21Century and consumers deserve transparency. Transparency can even be very helpful when it comes to building customer relationships because the more transparent a company is the more trust can be build. I completely stopped shopping at brands that give out no information at all. Ethical and sustainable brands very openly talk about their production process, the steps of creating their products, their CO2 footprints on our environment, where the clothes are made and who makes them.
Step 5: Where to shop
In this step we finally figure out WHERE to shop. It will usually take a bit of effort to find the right clothes, depending on your fashion sense, your style, your budget and your personal WHY. You should give second hand shopping a try and check out the sustainable brands you love and those you want to support. Here is a list of my current favourite sustainable brands that I simply love to shop at:
Step 6: Affording sustainable clothes
One of the biggest questions that arise when it comes to sustainable fashion is: How am I suppose to afford these ethical clothes when they are so much more expensive than fast fashion brands? My first advise: Start changing your perspective on fashion and trends! The Fast Fashion industry rushes new trends every season, making you change your closet constantly and they slowly change you into a shopaholic. I have a whole blog post on this that you can check out: Ethical and Sustainable shopping on a budget. The easiest solution is, of course, second hand shopping, don’t forget that not every sustainable brand is necessarily expensive, there are more affordable ones out there as well and best of all, all shops have sales at some point.
Step 7: Don’t force the change – be patient
Just like with every change in life; don’t put pressure on yourself! You don’t have to throw away all your fast fashion clothes all of a sudden just because you want to own sustainable clothes from now on. Keep the clothing pieces that make you happy and only toss (or even better: donate) those that you don’t. Just ask yourself whenever you are shopping for clothes (or anything for that matter): do I really NEED this? and if the answer is yes, can I get it second hand or find one that is made by an ethical brand?
Don’t tell yourself that you have to change immediately, because you don’t. Take it one step at a time and the more you know the easier it will become to transform your closet. Just keep in mind that this is something you have to want and not something that you can force on yourself. Slowly change and step by step you will become a more conscious shopper. I can only talk from my own experience and learned that the more conscious I make decisions, the happier I am with my closet and each and every single item that I own. I told myself not to force it over and over again and here I am one year later buying less than I ever did and when I do, only from brands that share the same values as me.