It didn’t occur to me how far I got on this sustainable fashion journey until the other day when a friend asked me for a tip. Now, having friends and family members asking me for fashion and sustainable lifestyle tips isn’t a new thing for me but this one stuck with me in particular.
During our chat, my friend said that the reason why she likes talking to me is that I don’t judge her. She has been trying to live more consciously lately but still shops at fast fashion stores. I never seem to be bothered by that while she feels that some other people judge her for doing this.
This got me to realize that I was such a person for a while too. A person who would judge others. But I learned better. In fact, I learned a lot on my sustainability journey.
Yet, there are things that I wish I knew before even starting, that would’ve made my journey easier.
Here are 5 of them!
1. Don’t judge!
I’ll start with what I touched upon in the introduction. And that is not to judge others.Like many of us, I started my sustainable fashion journey because I learned how our consumption fuels environmental and social injustices. It’s a hard lesson to learn but that one made me passionate to change what I was doing. And I just couldn’t understand how others didn’t see that. How could they continue shopping the way they did?
Well, I later learned that not everyone is on the same path and not everyone has the same things available to them. And that’s ok. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. Plus, not judging people made things easier for me and it opened up the doors to much better conversations with people. Truly, judgment isn’t serving anyone!
2. Don’t change it all at once!
Continuing on the previous point, when I first learned about the hard reality of the fashion industry, I wanted to make a big change in my wardrobe. I wanted to get rid of clothes from unsustainable brands and shop only for ethical clothing from now on.
But that’s not the solution. Throwing away perfectly functioning clothes isn’t an answer. Wearing them, even if they come from fast fashion, is a much better approach. And shopping better is important but it’s not the answer to everything. Reducing our consumption is!
3. Nobody is perfect!
Another thing I was trying to do is to shop only the best possible way. I would spend a lot of time researching sustainable brands and would make sure to balance it with shopping second-hand. I would also spend hours planning my wardrobe and calculating the number I’m wearing each item.
And while being mindful about your fashion consumption is absolutely crucial and I will always encourage this, the truth is: I was overthinking everything. To the point where I was on the verge of breaking down because I bought something that I later found out wasn’t the best thing to buy after all.
I expected perfection from me. But there’s no such thing, nobody’s perfect.
When I realised this, I allowed myself to make mistakes. And you know what? That allowed me to learn and grow, while still enjoying every bit of the journey. Nothing can beat that!
4. Shopping better isn’t the only way!
I mentioned this earlier but I want to break it down now.
Shopping from sustainable and ethical fashion brands is really important. If you’re looking for a new item and have the means to, go for a sustainable brand instead of fast fashion.
Still, I learned that shopping new is just a part of sustainable fashion. So is buying second hand, learning to properly take care of clothes, renting or borrowing, swapping, and repairing. There are different ways to have a more sustainable wardrobe and they all matter. Besides, not changing our shopping habits but just translating them to buying from better brands can still encourage overconsumption. So, it’s all about changing our attitude towards clothes and appreciating them more!
5. You don’t have to be alone!
I certainly felt alone when I started my sustainable fashion journey. There was nobody in my close family or friends circle who was doing the same and whom I could talk to.
And for the longest time, I didn’t seek for others, either. But I wish I had because going through a big lifestyle change is easier when you have people around you.
Only later, I found a big community of sustainable fashion enthusiasts on social media. I started following some and realized that they are sharing valuable tips and experiences that could help me so much! Even more, I saw others who had the same struggles as I did and just knowing that someone understands you makes things so much easier.
The sustainable fashion community is growing every day and I suggest you find some accounts to follow, especially if you like their style. Trust me, it will make you excited about your own clothes even more!
Hope these things are helpful to you and perhaps you learned a thing or two! When I started Planet Hugs, after being on the sustainable fashion journey for years, I never wanted it to be just another shop. I wanted to build a community around it. And I would love to have you there too, so let’s connect on Instagram!