Becoming a Thoughtful Consumer

Over the last month or so I have been on two holidays and I felt like my wardrobe lacked the clothes I would need for colder climates. So I gladly used the holidays as an excuse to buy more jumpers and a new coat. I started to buy more and more clothes and shoes, not really thinking about what I had at home.

Fast fashion is one of the worst polluters of our planet. Highstreet brands produce new fashions lines being inspired by celebrities and catwalks, bringing them to the market quickly and cheaply. Giving us, the consumer, as much fashion as possible to choose from. What makes it even worse is that predominantly the clothes we buy are made from polyester, which when washed sheds microfibres that are too small to be detected through water treatment plants. These microfibres end up in the ocean where they’ll never degrade. They end up being eaten by plankton, which is eaten by fish and humans eat fish.
Sunset on one of Amsterdams many canals

Cotton is also a huge part of our clothes, which when farmed causes pesticides which are harmful to animals and humans. Another huge contributor to pollution is textile dyeing which pollutes clean water and destroying any aquatic life, as well as effecting those who live near the water.

Not only does it use masses of water just to produce jeans and other clothing, it doesn’t stop there. The garments need to make their way around the world to be bought by the consumer. Not only are clothing brands constantly bringing us the latest trends straight from the catwalk, they make way for new garments, leaving the old ones left behind. Many clothes only last 3 years in our wardrobe. 3 years really isn’t a long time when it can take up to 200 years for synthetic fibres like polyester, which are plastic fibres, to decompose. Synthetic fibres make up 72% of all clothing.

When it comes to getting rid of our unwanted garments around 15% is recycled or donated. That’s such a small number considering there are 7.5 billion people in the world. Which is around 11.2 million people out of that 7.5 billion who recycle and donate their clothes. The rest of the clothes end up in landfill, in the ocean or littered around the planet.

As scary as these facts are, there are ways we can change the way we shop and how we shop. Brands such as Zara and H&M are choosing to use organic cotton rather than mass produced. H&M also has a Sustainable Style section to choose fashion conscious clothing made from recycled polyester. H&M also recycle clothes in their stores, just give your donation to them and you receive a £5 gift voucher! The clothes are either reused, recycled or given to others to rewear. You can read more on what H&M do here.

At A’Dam lookout

Whilst it all seems like doom and gloom and we all just need to wear what we have, it’s never going to happen. People are always going to want the latest trend or to treat themselves to a nice outfit. I know I’m guilty of treating myself to new clothes and updating my wardrobe.

Fast fashion is the second highest contributor to the pollutions killing this planet, just below oil. Fashion is something that effects us all, whether you’re constantly updating your wardrobe or treat yourself every so often. Something I’ve started doing when buying clothes is checking to see what it’s made out of. Whilst every single item I’ve checked contains polyester, however some have also contained small percentages of mohair (goat hair) and alpaca. Which grosses me out, so I checked all the jumpers I had at home and found that one I bought last year contains 5% alpaca hair.

Another thing I do to try and reduce my carbon footprint in fast fashion is to really look at the item and see if I need it in my collection. More often than not I end up buying similar things or the same coloured jumper. Whilst I don’t have the money to spend extra on more sustainable brands, I try to make the most of what I have and only buying key pieces/pieces I know I’ll wear again and again and be used for multiple outfits. Every few months or so I’ll have a huge declutter and donate clothes I haven’t worn in a while or are no longer my style to charity shops, as well as places that recycle clothes such as H&M.

Stacey Dooley did an amazing programme on the BBC about fast fashion and of course Blue Planet II did amazingly scary features as to how plastic and waste is effecting our planet. I know I’m only one person, but one person making a change has lasting impact, it may not be huge but will have an impact nonetheless.

Who knew going on holiday would bring such am impact into my spending and the fashion I buy. But I think this is a really important topic to talk about, we only get one planet and it needs looking after. Do you have any tips on reducing your carbon footprint, if so please share them in the comments! Until next time,


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Sources: here and here.


3 thoughts on “Becoming a Thoughtful Consumer

  1. entermyworldweb says:

    I love this!! I think it is so important to talk about, especially as we are all guilty of doing this. Personally I still have clothes in my wardrobe that I have had for about 10 years (and still wear). I am quite good at just restyling my old clothes! Or go into charity shops, because it’s cheap and helps the environment more and the charity more too! 😊 great post xx

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