Staying on top of the latest trends is great, but you may have realized just how much waste buying these ‘trendy’ items has created. Fashion comes and goes but the materials and energy used to create these products are often significantly higher than what you realize.
Creating a stylish and eco-conscious wardrobe on a budget is something many people are turning to. Not only is this great for your wallet, but it helps the Earth as well. Take a look at these tips to help you get started!
The idea of building an eco-conscious and sustainable wardrobe on a budget might sound appealing, but what does it mean? This isn’t a goal that can be attained overnight, so understanding your “why” and doing research can be extremely beneficial to helping you stay focused on your goals when it seems so far away.
“Learning what your goals are to create a sustainable wardrobe is every bit as important as owning one,” says Lori Price, Founder of PixieLane. “There are many different types of eco-conscious wardrobes and people take their sustainable wardrobes to different levels. Understanding your own goal by researching the industry can help you be successful in the long run.”
Inventory Your Current Wardrobe
Before you set out to create a new wardrobe, make sure you understand what’s in your closet right now. You might be surprised what you already have to work with. This will also come in handy for some of the later tips in this article.
“One of the most eco-conscious and budget-friendly ways you can improve your wardrobe is to build off of what you already own,” says Omid Semino, CEO and Founder of Diamond Mansion. “Look at what you have and create a list or a photo album of clothing that you could incorporate into new outfits. Neutral colors and basic designs are fantastic because they’re easy to modify by adding other elements into the outfit.”
Find Local Options
Shipping and handling add expense and waste to the purchasing process, so finding a local option is both eco-conscious and helps you stay on a budget. Look for local eco-friendly boutiques or secondhand stores where you can try things on and make sure you love them before making a purchase.
“Online shopping is convenient, but it’s also home to many fast-fashion retailers who are not eco-conscious,” says Lauren Kleinman, Co-founder The Quality Edit. “Support a local business by shopping from someone in your community who’s looking to make a difference in their economic footprint as well. Consignment shops and eco-friendly small businesses are fantastic ways to purchase items that you’re sure to love for a long time.”
Learning what brands are doing to support the environment while producing their clothing products can lead you to brands that are not only affordable but eco-conscious as well. A great way to create an eco-friendly wardrobe on a budget is by doing research into brands to find where the sweet spot is for you in terms of affordability and environmental responsibility.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people think that eco-conscious purchases mean that the products have to be expensive,” says Cesar Cruz, Co-Founder of Sebastian Cruz Couture. “This leads many to believe that they can’t afford to buy new clothing that is eco-friendly. This is simply not true. There are many brands out there that strive to do their best to maintain a positive carbon footprint while producing affordable products. Sometimes you just have to dig a bit to find them.”
Find Others Looking to Do The Same
Reach out on social media or other platforms to find others in your community who are looking to remodel their wardrobe to include eco-conscious clothing. There are many eco-conscious people out there who are probably interested in doing the same thing and multiple heads are better than one when it comes to finding new resources.
“Not only is a community of like-minded eco-conscious friends a great thing to have, but they can help you build your wardrobe too,” says Karim Hachem, VP of eCommerce at Sunshine 79. “Hosting a clothing swap a couple of times per year can be a great way to change out some things in your wardrobe without purchasing new clothing or creating waste. You can also share resources and shops that you’ve had great experiences with.”
If consignment shops and clothing swaps are letting you down and you’re looking to stick to a low budget, getting a bit creative might be the answer. The trend of upcycling clothing from one thing to another has been around for years and it’s a great way to repurpose some of your clothing that you may not wear anymore.
“Not only is upcycling a great way to create something new from an article of clothing that may otherwise end up in the trash, but you can explore a new hobby too,” says Eric Elggren, Co-Founder of Andar. “Creating new articles of clothing from something you already own is a great way to spruce up your wardrobe in an eco-conscious way. Additionally, if you don’t love what you’ve created, you could always sell your creations to fund your eco-conscious wardrobe budget.”
Creating an eco-conscious wardrobe doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking. While it may take some time, it is entirely possible to build a stylish, eco-conscious wardrobe on a budget. Educating yourself and learning more about what the clothing industry looks like today is a great start. It’s hard to stay motivated to make a change if you’re not informed of the full scope of the impact you’re making. Researching brands and businesses that support these ideas can help you learn what to look for as you shop and build onto your existing wardrobe.
Look into your community to find businesses, organizations, and other people who are on the same path as you. Shopping local is a great way to support your community on your quest to build an eco-conscious wardrobe. Learning from others who are doing the same is also a great way to expand your knowledge and make friends too. You may also want to explore how you can repurpose some of your current wardrobe items to match your new eco-conscious clothing items.