The fast fashion industry is increasingly talked about as part of a growing emphasis on environmentally friendly practices and consumerism. With MPs calling for increased clothing tax to try and encourage more recycling in the fashion industry, the environmental damage caused and exploitative nature of the fast fashion industry is being publicly acknowledged.
Fast fashion is inexpensive clothing produced quickly in response to demand from consumers for the latest fashion trends. The biggest fast fashion brands include Primark and H&M. Whilst these businesses allow people with less disposable income to buy cheap and fashionable clothes, the clothing is often cheap because workers are often paid between 1-3% of the price of the item. As well as these exploitative working conditions, fast fashion produces a throw-away culture. Waste charity Wrap estimates that more than 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes into landfill every year. With estimates showing that on average adults spend over £1000 a year on clothing, fast fashion is expensive, unethical and environmentally damaging.
The rise of the ‘Not Buying New’ seems to be the solution to this toxic consumerism. The trend is exactly as it appears; a movement of individuals taking their purchasing power away from fast fashion and buying second hand clothing. Not only is buying second hand cheaper than fast fashion prices, by not buying new, you are not contributing to the use of exploitative labour and can save fashionable, good quality clothes from being binned. The difficult part of second hand is spending a bit more time looking for the clothes you are after, although the Not Buying New movement has seen an increase in second hand clothing websites.
Here are some tips to get started in not buying new:
Tips for successful charity shopping
Every town and city has an abundance of charity shops, and they are a great place to find inexpensive but high-quality clothing, whilst contributing to the charity they support and rescuing clothing from the land waste. But there is a knack to buying from charity shops…
1 Spend time looking
Finding what you want in a charity shop does take a little longer than browsing ASOS, but being patient really pays off.
2 Look at brands for a great bargain
Charity shops often have clothing from normally expensive and luxury brands as well as cheaper fast fashion chains. A few years ago, I bought a cashmere jumper from Whistles for £5 (which I still own and wear now), only to discover the recommended retail price for the jumper new was over £150!
3 Look at the crockery
Crockery breakages happen to all of us students, and charity shops often have a great selection of good quality and cheap crockery.
4 Be bold
Don’t be afraid to choose something a bit different to your normal fashion taste.
Tips for not buying new online:
There are various online platforms to buy second hand clothing, my go-to is Ebay. Here are some tips on how to best make use of it.
1 Be specific in your search terms and filter the results
Ebay shopping works best when you have something specific in mind, otherwise you have to wade through thousands of listed items! Some people find this off-putting, so when searching, add at least the brand name and size you are looking for to narrow your search down.
2 Sell your old clothes rather than throw them away
Ebay is a great way to make some money on clothes you no longer wear. This also helps you contribute to the not buying new and gives your item a second life with another owner!
As students, we have the privilege of time and of having our voices heard, so starting now, see if you can bring in some Not Buying New techniques !