Winter is swiftly approaching and it’s time to bust out the oversized jumpers and fill our wardrobes with new fashion staples.

Whether you’re shopping for the new seasonal trend look, or simply because your jacket wasn’t enough to keep you warm for your 8AM lecture, adding new pieces to our closet means we always have something new to offer. You finally have an excuse to buy that last pair of ankle boots that stared at you when you walked in. Plus, it will only do a little damage to your wallet right?

The world of fashion lets us communicate our identity at the cost of introducing fast-paced, insatiable demand called fast fashion. Fast fashion is not only our excuse to buy, buy, buy, but puts a name to the less bougie side of fashion. A name that describes the cheap, mass-production of clothing. While you hope the red turtleneck in your shopping basket will try to hide your neck from the winter breeze, it also hides the truth of unethical fast fashion practices. 

There are plenty of ways to help reduce our fast fashion impact. As fun as it is to shop till you drop at the next Black Friday sale, it is equally as important to understand where we are investing our money. Below are Newish’s five top tips to help you make ethical and (equally fashionable) clothing choices.

Tip 1: Research the brands you buy from

Sometimes we get so bombarded with all the red sale signs and trending fads, that we forget to pay attention to the places we shop. Shopping sustainably and ethically is the first step towards sourcing our clothes from brands that care about more than just their profit margins. By researching the brands we know, we can flaunt the fabrics we wear without harming the environment and make sure we uphold our social impact towards underpaid workers in developing countries. While some companies are beginning to acknowledge their environmental footprint, let’s do our part to make the T in t-shirt stand for transparency.

Tip 2: Buy second hand

Buying old doesn’t mean less fashionable. Sometimes in order to ‘stand out’ in your personal style, buying second hand pieces no longer stocked in stores can add that final touch to your wardrobe. The best part about second hand clothing, is that it is affordable, sustainable and unique. There are plenty of opportunities to shop for second hand items. Free apps such as Depop not only let you buy second hand, but they also allow you to sell your unwanted, barely worn clothes on a globally recognised fashion platform. This is a good opportunity to make some money on the side too!

If you prefer to feel the texture of fabrics, there is nothing more enjoyable than grabbing some friends and going Sunday market thrifting. Thrifting can help slow down fast fashion culture and reduce the amount of clothes that end up in landfills. Giving clothes a second life means you get items cheaper than its retail price and a happier you! What you might think is trash, is someone else’s treasure!

Tip 3: Buy less and buy high quality

While the old saying goes “less is more” in the world of fashion, it’s actually true. Our habits of buying more when we see the 50% off sign, have convinced us to fill our wardrobes with the newest styles to be happy. However, these fabrics produced from cheap, toxic chemicals are the reason fast fashion practices pollute the environment. Contrary to having a wardrobe overflowing with all the trending styles, true style is more about considering a minimal approach that considers quality and sustainability. Buying more high quality fabrics will last you down the track, rather than cheap, throw-away pieces that lose their color after one wash. Who knew being picky with what you wear could save the planet?

Tip 4: Repurpose old clothing

If you’ve made it this far and you still have no idea what you’re going to do with those old denim chinos you got from your aunty, then maybe it’s time to make something from scratch. Taking the opportunity to up-style your old favorite  pieces, means that you can take what’s old, and turn it into something new again. You can finally take that old piece of clothing hiding in the back of your wardrobe and combine it with the extra benefit in learning how to sew. 

Tip 5: Recycle old fabrics and garments

Finally, sometimes we have to say goodbye to things we no longer want. Recognising our impact on the environment, is also recognising the steps we need to take to promote the circular economy. Those old denim jeans that you’d promised to wear but never did, can be reused as fabric for new garments. While the majority of fashion brands are still beginning to transition towards recycling practices, brands like Levi’s, H&M and Zara offer recycling programs for customers to bring in their textiles. So grab a box because your wardrobe spring cleaning just came early!

Being fashionable doesn’t mean staying on top of all the trends, it’s about expressing yourself in a way that is sustainable and speaks true to your style. In fact, it’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it that counts.

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