Retail therapy

How to shop in a more responsible way

26 September 2023

2 minute read

Here are some ideas on how you can update your wardrobe with a more responsible mindset.

London Fashion Week is done for another year. Yet with so many being dedicated followers of fashion, often a favourite past-time, it can come at a cost. And we’re not talking about the price tag of your prized designer suit or dress.

A 2019 study revealed that people in the UK spend over £700 million on 11 million outfits brought purely for a holiday and are never worn again.1

With reducing waste and landfill in mind, it’s becoming more important to acknowledge the impact of fast fashion and to shop in a more responsible manner.

Buy less

This may sound like an obvious tip, but by setting yourself limits on how much you buy, you can determine your own consumption. Buying fewer key items a year, rather than lots of pieces, could significantly reduce your carbon footprint – simply because you’re buying less. If you buy higher-quality clothes, they are likely to last longer too.

Buy better

Another way to make better purchasing decisions is to support designers and brands promoting clothes and textiles made from renewable resources.

You might end up paying more for such clothing than in a fast fashion shop but if you buy less overall, that might even out over time.

You can check credentials on a brand’s website before you buy. Look past buzzwords such as “sustainable” and “eco-friendly”, to read about detailed policies.

Shop pre-loved

The thrill that comes with wearing a new item can also be achieved by snapping up pre-owned high street or designer pieces.

If you want designer labels, there are plenty of boutiques in smart postcodes specialising in clothing and accessories with fashion labels you’ll find on Bond Street. Some items are even brand new with the original tags still attached.

Another thrill is that you’ll pay far less for an outfit or highly coveted handbag as well as giving a new lease of life to something someone else has parted ways with. There are more pre-loved stores popping up which is helpful if you want to try stuff on first, though there are plenty online if you prefer trying at home.

Rent for special occasions

Renting clothes is a growing industry popular for being economical as well as a more sustainable choice.

Using a rental website is worth considering if you're only going to wear something once for a special occasion – perhaps a wedding or a red-carpet event.

You might even use them to rent summer outfits to ensure less waste. Choose your date for delivery and length you want to keep the item for – there’s the choice of a few different time spans – and you’re good to go. You just need to remember to send it back!

The rental costs are usually a fraction of the price of the item brand new – even with delivery costs factored in. Some companies also offer a monthly fee, allowing customers to constantly renew their wardrobe.

There are also companies that rent maternity clothes and childrenswear worth a look if you’re expecting or already have children.

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