HOW TO SHOP ETHICALLY (& STAY STYLISH)

So last week I got one of the best direct messages ever on my Instagram (@roosarahkonen) – a follower of mine had watched the documentary The True Cost out of my recommendation (yay!!) and was seeking to change her shopping habits. She asked me for all my best tips and I pretty soon discovered I had plenty. SO why not share them with you! Some of my close friends have actually been asking why I don’t share more of my ethical values on here and that’s a very good question… I have this amazing platform with like-minded people who I love to chat with and I should bring my values out more, so here’s to that♥

Buy second hand – Shop on flea markets as often as possible. You get the same thrill and new clothes to your closet but with a lower cost – both for the environment and for your wallet. This is actually one of my favorite hobbies and I’ve gotten many of my friends on board with taking a day to go around flea markets. We’re all uni students so it’s not too hard to get somebody on board when you mention cheap clothing. The more often you go the more likely you are to make amazing unique finds that will last with you a lifetime!

Take your time – Never go shopping last minute or in a hurry, this will definitely affect your judgment and almost always makes you end up with ”almost there” pieces, that you don’t quite love but think you need for the occasion. You don’t really put emotional value into these pieces and will most likely not take good care of them or wear them many times, so though it feels good in the moment, it ends up being a total waste.

Return – Returns are invented for a reason, this is an opportunity for you to be sure you absolutely LOVE this piece. So try it, try it and try it once more. I try pieces on at the store and style them with multiple options at home to be sure of my long-lasting love for the piece. Don’t buy pieces that you wish will some day match the other options in your closet, that will only start a ripple effect of buying more clothes that don’t go with anything you already own. Also when ordering online, if possible, please try to return by hand and save the environment from the shipping.

Support your local & aim to shop from ethical brands – I myself love Finnish brands and try to support them as much as I can. Obviously with a college-student budget that isn’t much, but if we all do the best that we can that equals something. Also if you have a little higher budget more and more ethical brands are popping up online and they actually carry some really cute stuff! These are definitely things I wish to find out more about and put my money into in the near future.

Quality over quantity – Always, and in every aspect of life. When you think about it you actually can’t afford to buy cheap things, because they will only last you a maximum of a year. Always think about cost per wear – how much you wear something and how long it lasts in composition with how much you paid. For example a 10€ for a shirt you wear once for a Christmas party is significantly more expensive on the long run than a 80€ shirt you wear to school every two weeks. In a year the party shirt will cost you 10€/wear and the school shirt will cost you somewhere around 3,30€ and this is just for one year! Buying high quality is something I definitely need to work on more myself, but once I love something I take good care of it wether it’s cheap or not. I often wear things until they break and then some. It probably says something that my favorite sweaters are 6 years old and I still wear some of the same pants I wore when I was 15…

Minimize your consumption of fast fashion – Fast fashion (”approach to the creation of clothing fashion that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to the consumers”) is a huge problem today. Instead of having 2 new lines a year, one for spring/summer, one for fall/winter, stores are aiming to create 52 new lines a year, which translates to one new line a week!! Some of the biggest problems in my eyes are the quality of clothing, working conditions and pay for the people making the clothes, adapting the consumers into a totally wrong way of viewing clothes and developing trends that only last a month. I could make an entire blog post about this (and probably will), but what I’m saying is that I understand that we need to buy what we can afford, but don’t let brands and social media trick you into buying items that will only stay ”trendy” for a month (or a week!) and that will have no life spam. This is a total waste of your money, fabrics and the environment.

Recycle – This is so important and beneficial when done the right way. When I find I’m not using an item I sell it on a flea market or give it to a friend who I know loves the product. So much of clothes we put into recycle bins end up on landfills so for me it is super important to find a new owner or alter the piece in a way I will wear it again. I tend to put a tad higher prices when selling my little worn pieces second hand, because this guarantees that the buyer really wants the piece and is ready to have it for a long time. We often fall into buying things just because they’re cheap or on sale which is a terrible way to shop. We should actually be open-minded to buying high-priced items from flea markets because with the quality of olden days, the pieces will most likely last us a lifetime.

Repair – It does not take too much time to repair a rip in clothing, I actually may repair the same jeans four times before considering buying new ones. If you’re not handy, just don’t enjoy doing this yourself or there’s a stain that won’t come out, go for a professional. Local small businesses love new costumers and it does not cost as much as you think. And you get to meet new people! I’ve made wonderful connections with cobblers who have a huge passion for what they do.

Learn to borrow & loanDon’t buy for just one occasion – Weddings, birthday parties, first day of school… We’ve all been there. You wish to have something new to wear for a special occasion, but the truth is that rarely anyone remembers whether you’ve already worn that dress once or not. When shopping always think about at least three outfits you could wear the new piece with, if you can’t think of three then don’t buy it. Loan from a friend. We all have a few options for special occasions hanging in our closets and it makes me happy my friends always know to come to me when they’re facing an outfit-crisis. This also works whenever there’s a new trend or item of clothing you’re considering but not sure how much wear it will get with you – if a friend has it ask to borrow and live a few days like its yours. This way you see if it works with your closet and if you’re excited to wear it or if your interested drops already in those few days.

That’s a wrap this time! Would LOVE to know if any of these tips were helpful / new to you and if you found any value in this post? If so, feel free to tell me about it or share the post with a friend! I find myself having so much more to say on the topic I think I’ll make a sequel..

Have a great day & talk to you soon xx

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