On the road to sustainability
I haven’t blogged in so long, nearly three months, that it feels weird to be typing this right now. This is a result of a few reasons, the main being I’m fucking busy all the time and that I’ve become super disenfranchised with consumerism as a whole. Which when you think about it, is kind of ironic as not only a fashion blogger, but a full-time marketer.
I, along with many others, have become more environmentally aware of my actions and of those around me. Once I started becoming interested in vintage/thrift shopping it was kind of a natural progression. I went deeper and learned about the impact of fast fashion, the incredible amount of waste in our landfills and how we’re running through finite resources like they’re infinite.
I go through phases of wanting to do and speak more about this topic to not wanting to go onto social media at all because all I see are ads for cheaply made clothes and society’s unhealthy need for constant consumerism. I actually feel sick when I see brands like Missguided proudly advertising its 1 pound bikini. I feel sick when I think that a few years ago, I probably would have thought “what a steal!!”. There was a time when I was obsessed with bargains and deals without thinking if a) I really needed it and b) what impact are my actions having. We may be individual people but we do not live on individual worlds. What we do affects everyone and I don’t think everyone considers this.
Anyway, I’m kind of blabbing on so I’ll get to the point. I wanted to list a few ways on how I’ve been trying to lead a more sustainable life (and how you can too!). It’s a journey, it’s not something that you can switch to overnight but I’m trying. And honestly, I think that’s a huge step. When people start caring enough to at least try and change their ways.
Single Use Plastic and Waste
Single use plastic, and waste in general, is everywhere and is rapidly killing our environment. 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute (Pennington, 2016). These are just some of the ways you can cut down on your consumption.
Tote bags – I carry a tote bag with me everywhere. There’s always one in my bag so if I ever do grocery shopping I have one and have no need to buy a plastic one. You can even reduce the amount of packaging you buy by switching to purchasing loose vegetables over pre-packaged ones. Over the years of attending events and conferences I’ve culminated a huge collection of branded tote bags which have come in tres handy!
Straws – lol I think we all know about this. Lots of cafes, restaurants and franchises have already switched from plastic to paper straws and you can too! If you don’t like your paper straw going soggy on you, purchase a reusable metal one. You will look super trendy and environmentally conscious when you whip one out at the pub.
Tupperware – this is something I’ve really been trying really hard to switch too! I bring lunch into work with me everyday, usually a sandwich, and whenever I was feeling lazy, I’d wrap it in clingfilm. If I take two extra seconds in the morning, I can grab a box of Tupperware and put it in that. I also need to wash it too but realistically, that takes feck all time too.
Keep Cups – This one doesn’t apply to me too much as I rarely purchase coffee over making it at home/in the office. But if you are a regular coffee to go fiend then you must get a keep cup or reusable cup/flask. It saves another coffee cup getting dumped and some cafes also give you a discount when you’re using a keep cup.
Hand dryer – This is a random one but I recently realised, I have always used paper in public restrooms to dry my hands instead of the dryer. Maybe because it takes a bit longer to dry your hands completely, but I had to stop myself automatically reaching for the paper and opt for the dryer.
Ok so this has been trying for me I will admit. I love fashion, but I hate what the industry has become. This constant need for a new outfit for each occasion or not being able to be pictured in the same outfit twice is ridiculous. In fact, I believe the people with the best style are the ones that can rewear and restyle the same pieces and look awesome.
Unsubscribe from mailing lists – this one is a MUST! Especially if you’re on your email a lot. Unsubscribe from every single fashion brand that you’re signed up to. You may not even you’re signed up but often if you purchase from a store, they put you on their list. I use a tool called unroll.me to mass unsubscribe from mailing lists I don’t want to hear from anymore. It really helps because it means I’m not constantly seeing SALE banners and BUY BUY BUY subject lines while I’m on my laptop/phone.
Unfollow – this has also helped me a lot. I have recently unfollowed a lot of brands and fashion influencers on social media. Mainly on Instagram as it’s the most visual and my most used platform. I enjoy browsing my feed a lot more now that I’m not seeing so much shit. Instead, I’ve started following influencers who use their platforms to try make a change, who inspire change and who understand the importance of all of this. It makes me want to do better when I see others doing better.
Shopping – yo! Being sustainable doesn’t mean you can’t still be fashionable or buy a new item of clothing. There are so many clothes already in the world, really, there’s no need to make anymore!! You can thrift in your local charity store and find some awesome bargains. Step back in time and purchase a vintage piece. Even take it upon yourself and try your hand at DIY and up-doing. I love picking up pieces in the thrift store that I think I’ll be able to bring home and work some magic on.
Sustainable section – if you don’t fancy buying second hand, which I know some people are adverse to (no shame!), you can still shop sustainably. There are lots of smaller brands out there who manufacture their clothes sustainably or at least, have a specific line that does like Monki or Weekday. Check out www.rankabrand.org to see how sustainable your favourite company is.
Change your Mindset
Changing the way you think about consumerism can really change the way you behave while purchasing. I am really starting to lean into the thought that if somethings worth buying, then it can’t be bought instantly. We put too much worth into buying THINGS. This instant gratification we get from buying things needs to stop. Things that really matter like houses and cars are hard to buy and take time, but I can grab a brand new top in H&M for a fiver so yay? But do I really need another top? Nope, no I don’t.
This also goes for cheap shit and knock offs. Save up to buy the real thing, especially if its high price point is due to their ethical practises. If you’re buying a cheap, fake version of that product than you’re only fooling yourself.
Don't Shame Others
Above all, while you’re on your sustainable journey, please don’t shame or belittle others. Even if they’re not on that journey too. I understand that when you realise that things should change or be done a different way it can seem like this should also be obvious to everyone else, but it not always is. People progress at different rates to others and they might be trying to make little changes in their own way. Just aim to educate and enlighten. 🙂 And don’t be afraid to slip up or admit to your own mistakes too, nobody’s perfect after all.
Where I’m lurking when I’m not here…