We live in a world where current trends evolve so quickly that we barely have any time to enjoy one before moving onto the next.
In a time when everyone is a fashion blogger or some degree of ‘instafamous,’ there is so much pressure to be seen wearing the latest trends and to keep up appearances. We are accustomed to buying clothes to wear for a few short months before discarding them to buy more. This results in fast fashion and its devastating impact on our environment.
Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, after oil. From the manufacturing to the shipping to the disposal, each step in the process is harmful. For example, fashion’s carbon footprint is especially damaging; the dangerous chemicals used in the manufacturing and dyeing processes are one of the biggest contributors to water pollution.
The easiest way we can help to combat this ever-worsening problem is to simply buy less new clothes. This doesn’t need to have an impact on our shopping habits. There’s no need to actually buy less, we just need to change the way we shop. We can decrease the impact of fast fashion by buying second hand and vintage clothing. This has less of an impact on the environment, meaning it creates a smaller carbon footprint.
Shopping consciously is easier than you think. Start by going to second hand shops and thrift stores and then think to yourself, “How many times will I wear this?” If the answer is less than ten, think twice about buying it. Try to only buy items you know you will reuse season after season, rather than something that will last a week before you throw it out.
We’re lucky to live in an area where thrift shopping is incredibly easy. The East End of London is full of second hand shops and vintage markets. At Stepney Green is the East End Thrift Store, famous for its £10 fill-a-bag style shopping. On Brick Lane you can find a number of vintage clothing shops, such as Hunky Dory and Rokit. Over at Bethnal Green is Beyond Retro, a reasonably priced vintage clothing shop. You can even buy vintage clothes from Topshop and Asos, or go bargain hunting in local charity shops. You might be surprised at what you could find.
So this summer, before venturing into Westfield to buy bagfuls of clothes from Primark or New Look, think about going to a thrift shop first. It’s such a small change to make, but a change that will make a huge difference. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of coming away with unique pieces that you won’t see on anyone else.