Fast fashion, what's the deal?

Fast fashion brings us an ever changing variety of cheap clothes, but we should probably ask ourselves: what’s the real cost behind a £2 t-shirt? Spoiler alert: it’s high. Very high.

Unfortunately, fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industries. To name just a few of its problems, fast fashion’s cheap polyester materials shed plastic microfibers when washed in washing machines: these are not biodegradable and end up in the oceans (and poor fish’s bellies). Also, the toxic chemicals used in textile dying pollute galleons of clean water, 300000 tons of garments end up in landfills every year (in the UK only!), and fast fashion contributes to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The environmental impact of fashion can be corrected if we change our attitude towards clothes. How? We stop considering them as disposable and start loving them instead! 

Here are a few tips to embrace slow fashion.

Choose quality clothes and keep them for longer

It happened to everyone: we walked past a shop window, saw a pretty £2 t-shirt that wasn’t there the previous week and thought it was everything we had ever needed. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt (literally).

However, this type of items is designed to follow the ephemeral trends set by the latest catwalk and to not last very long at all. How many times are you actually going to wear that cheap t-shirt before binning it and buying another one because ‘it was only £2 anyway’?

Buying sustainable clothes that are made to last using high-quality natural materials will reduce the amount of garments that end up in landfills (and will actually save you money in the long run!)

Get creative curating, not collecting

We are only humans: no matter the quality of the clothes, something could go wrong and we might damage them slightly. But that shouldn’t be an automatic death sentence for your clothes! Instead of binning them straightaway, try cute iron on patches or sew the little rip back together. Get creative and love your clothes!

Mix and match (it won’t get boring!)

Whenever you feel like you’ve got nothing to wear, step back and reconsider your wardrobe. We bet you have plenty of clothes you can choose from: perhaps you are just bored of the same old combinations. Once again, get creative! Wear that pair of dungarees with a different t-shirt, or add colourful tights to that pair of shorts. There are so many combinations you can get from the same garments!

Don’t bin them 

If, for whatever reason, you really need to get rid of some items, don’t add them to the tons of landfill waste. There are so many websites and apps that allow you to showcase your unwanted clothes. How about a clothes swap or giving them to charity?! We bet that little charity shop down the road could really do with your pre-loved trousers.

Learn to look for transparency  

It’s not just the planet that’s begging for a shift towards slow fashion: it’s the exploited people who work on it too! While there are new regulations to try and prevent sweatshops, many brands still use questionable practises.

Ask yourself (and companies!) #WhoMadeMyClothes?. At Ilk + Ernie we believe that every human deserves to work in a safe environment, where they're respected. ‘Ethical’ and ‘Sustainable’ are two elements that we consider, always. We don't claim to be perfect, but we are open, transparent and constantly working towards our sustainability goals.

So before you make your next fast fashion purchase, consider the story behind that garment. Ethical clothes have a story too, consider which story matters most.

Are you ready to be part of the slow fashion movement?