Sustainable fashion : why I care + 7 easy ways to shop better

Sustainable fashion is not a trend. I first became aware of the movement through an alarming article about a cry for help sewn into a garment bought in Primark. Further research into the ethical and eco impact of my wardrobe, conversations with like-minded friends and watching documentaries like ‘The True Cost’ (it’s on Netflix, folks!) have changed the way I shop.

My fast fashion avoidance is a similar ideal as to why I don’t eat meat – it’s better for the environment and more humane. There are other options and I can dress better / eat better without supporting cruelty. It’s difficult for me to feel so passionately about veganism and still shop on the high street. Caring about animal rights and not human rights feels hypocritical.

cable knit jumper: my mum’s from the 90’s. it’s lemon yellow and I’m OBSESSED ft. awkward claw hand

cable knit top: American Apparel

I recently became a brand ambassador for ‘The Nu Wardrobe, Ireland’s first online clothes sharing platform. Signing up means you can share your most loved pieces and borrow gorgeous new items from other Nu members. It’s a sustainable fashion community who believe you can look and feel amazing with a positive impact.

I’m no expert – my knowledge of sustainable fashion really only scratches the surface. Every day I’m accumulating more information and passion for the movement, so expect to see lots more about it on the blog and instagram (@ohhappyveggie). 🙂

vegan leather backpack: Matt & Natt. shorts: vintage Levi. Shirt: Glebe Markets in Sydney

Here’s 7 ways I have managed to majorly cut down on fast fashion over the past year:

  1. Shop less – this is number one on the list because cutting out consumption is always going to have the least damaging impact. Get out of that consumerist, capitalistic, constant desire for more mindset and ask yourself if you really need what you’re contemplating buying. If the answer is yes, refer to the rest of the tips before you head to Topshop.
  2. Clothes swap – if you’re in Ireland, sign up to The Nu Wardrobe and sustain your desire for a new outfit without being unsustainable. It basically works by having meeting spots on college campuses where you can swap clothes with other people on the app. Give this video a watch to see what I’m talking about. As I said earlier, I am newly a brand ambassador for Nu so I will definitely be sharing more of their projects on here and instagram!
  3. Charity shops/vintage shops/clothing markets – these give clothing a second life & the profits goes to charity or a small business owner. Plus you find some really unique pieces or old designer/good quality things for cheap. Op shop over Topshop is a motto I aim to live by.
  4. Shop local & small – support small local businesses and locally produced fashion which is more Eco friendly and benefits your local economy over sending your dollars straight into the pockets of mass corporations.
  5. Online – if online shopping is your thing, use apps and websites like Depop and Asos Market Place to buy and sell pre-loved fashion online
  6. Investment buys – rather than buying numerous cheap pairs of jeans in different colours, put a bit of money into one good quality pair with a timeless cut and colour which will last you years and save you money in the long run. 1 pair of jeans every few years creates less waste and takes less energy to produce than consuming 5 pairs every year.
  7. Ethically conscious brands – such as Reformation and Patagonia. Here’s a full list of ethical and fair trade brands for next time you want to buy something new.

super warm amazing quality wool coat: $12 from the men’s section in Vinnies

When I was in Sri Lanka a friend I made there took me to visit a clothing factory. The conditions he said were good, above standard for the country, and there was no child labour. To me they seemed appalling. Seeing how our clothes are made first hand helped me make the connection with what my purchase in Penney’s actually supports. I felt like I had been totally disassociated from it the same way I had when consuming animal products.

lilac velvet dress: American Apparel. My friends actually found and recycled their outfits from some random part of the share house we were in.

It’s a matter of switching on and becoming aware of the grim reality of the industry so that you genuinely care enough to motivate yourself to be a more conscious shopper. It wont happen overnight and I admit it’s often hard to be a 100% ethical consumer. Politics happens every day when we vote with our dollar for what we support. Shopping in H&M fuels an industry that depletes the earth’s resources and uses slave labour to leverage lower prices for us. Can you turn a blind eye to the true cost?

beach dress: $5 from Roselle Markets in Sydney

Swimsuit: found on the side of the road in Byron Bay….


Let me know if you sign up to Nu + tag me in all your sustainable outfit pics on instagram @ohhappyveggie! x

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