How to Shop to Save the World
As we approach Earth Day, sustainability is a topic on the lips of many as conversation about how to best save our planet reaches a peak. There is no denying that environmental conservation is something that people everywhere are working on and we’ve seen some awe inspiring solutions. But, with a rush of information circulating our screens from documentaries, advertisements, articles, podcasts, and even the occasional message in a group chat, it can sometimes feel like a full time job to be environmentally friendly. We’ve been offered every solution from new diets to 5p bags and it feels like as a society we’re making great progress but there is still always room to improve and consider new and often simple ways to be an even better contributor to change.
While we here at Fleur of England are not nutritionists or ecologists, we do strive to be educated about the environmental impact of the fashion industry and consumer choices and, while we are working to improve our environmental impact from our side, we also have a few ideas for how you can do your part too. And fear not, we’re not going to suggest only shopping second hand or making all of your clothes yourself out of potato sacks (although, if you do, we’re extremely impressed). So below are a few ideas for how you can be a more conscious consumer and all-round more environmentally friendly person without having to completely uproot life as you know it.
We’re all guilty of seeing something online that looks exciting and just adding it to your cart for the sake of it. Did we need the Aztec print blazer? No. Did we actually realise we loved it and keep wearing it for years to come? Also no. For the most part you know what you wear or use regularly, you know what you like, and you know which brands have the best quality products. We’d recommend shopping for items you know you’re going to love even after the trend cycle moves on and that you know will stand the test of time physically. Think “well crafted little black dress you’ll never get sick of” rather than “5 dresses in colours and prints you’ve never worn but your favourite magazine said was going to be all over runways”- taking risks is fine but not at the expense of the environment so aim to invest in pieces you’ll wear timelessly rather than trends.
Read Care Labels
If you want your purchases to last longer and avoid contributing to the 206 tonnes of textile waste we create each year in the UK alone, it is worth making sure you’re taking care of your garments properly. You don’t have to have a PHD in the many symbols of the care label to get an understanding of what you shouldn’t tumble dry and what you should probably hand wash. For your delicate lingerie and nightwear pieces for example, we recommend always hand washing and drying pieces flat as, not only will this help the garments last longer and help them to keep their shape, looking newer for longer, but it also significantly reduces the energy you’ll be using to wash them so the planet and your electric bill can thank you. You can see our complete care guide here.
Recycle and Upcycle
Sometimes clothes do, no matter how hard we try, get damaged or stained, stop fitting how we like, or genuinely go out of style in ways we can’t bring ourselves to rectify. In this case we suggest always trying to recycle clothes or donate them if they are still in good condition. But, if you’re feeling a little more creative, we can assure you it doesn’t take being a seamstress to turn your old jeans into new shorts and there are a wealth of easy crafts you can find on websites like Pinterest which will help you give new life to almost any garment. You can also reuse packaging such as our gift boxes as storage. Our larger gift boxes are excellent for organising smaller pieces of lingerie or hosiery and have been crafted using recycled materials so they really are as good as they look.
So what is the takeaway? Generally speaking, if you’re going to shop then you should avoid the fast fashion mentality as much as you can. As much as it can be tempting to buy new pieces all the time and emerging trends can be exciting with marketers trying to convince you that those silk harem pants are the key to happiness, realistically it’s better for your purse and the environment if you keep your sights set to the future. We don’t often have a 5 year plan for a t-shirt but, simply by not sending a garment to landfill for an additional year or two, you’re having a huge impact on the worldwide problem with overbuying and quickly discarding.
We ask you to consider your purchases, stick with your tried and tested favourites where you can, spend on quality pieces that you know will last, and try to reuse, recycle, or donate when the time has come to let go of a garment. Impulsive buying can be fun but buyer’s remorse has a wider impact than you’d think, especially when it happens regularly. A wardrobe full of classic essential pieces and a healthy planet is far more desirable than a trendy instagram feed anyway in our opinion.
For more information on what we here at Fleur of England are doing to be more sustainable, click here.