March 6, 2022
By Marthe Baalbergen and Linde Schouffoer
Even though our clothing is just pieces of fabric that you put on to cover yourself and to keep you warm, they are fully integrated into our culture of presentation. We show a piece of ourselves through the clothes we wear and the Fashion industry knows that. They are specialized in selling the products for our personality in high speed and low quality. They gain from our compulsory consumption, buying things to satisfy our feeling just for a little time. Back in the day, stores would have two collections; the Summer and the Winter collection. Nowadays, Fast Fashion brands produce around 52 collections in a year. And the bad quality of the clothing makes you come back to every collection. This does not only badly influence our behavior towards shopping but it also destroys our environment. Our earth is not built to make amends for our shopping spree.
There are many ways to shop sustainably, so many in fact that I can imagine you getting a bit lost. In sustainable clothing, you have the option between new sustainably produced clothes and second-hand/vintage clothes. Below, we will also distinguish between online platforms and clothing shops. For both it is important to look at the quality of products, it is of course better to buy a shirt that lasts 3 years than to buy a shirt every year for 3 years long. The whole idea of sustainable clothing is that you buy something that lasts for a long time, so that in the long run you need to consume less. New products often come with a more expensive price tag, but this does not always have to be the case. In this blog, we will write about some alternatives to Fast Fashion. Or in other words; we will showcase Slow Fashion (ethically and environmentally conscious clothing) options and try to give you our experience of using them.
Slow Fashion On Instagram and Vinted
There are several online platforms that sell second-hand clothing, such as Vinted, Sellpy and Instagram accounts. The disadvantage of buying second-hand clothes online is that it is not (always) possible to exchange the clothes, which makes it difficult to assess whether something fits. Something that can help is looking at the posture/body of the person who posted the pictures. Sometimes this can tell you whether a certain product will fit you or not. If the photos don't tell you much, you can also use the chat function. People are often willing to help you with your questions, because they want to sell their product. If you have bought something that does not fit, see if you can have it altered. If a pair of trousers is too long, it's only a small effort to alter them and maybe it will become your favorite pair! It's also really fun to browse Vinted and like pieces of clothing and let the algorithm do its job. Liking clothing can also help you to get a discount, just a tip ;) On Instagram it's all a bit different, often there are storiesales or sales via posts on certain accounts. As soon as you follow an account, you will quickly find other accounts that sell second hand or vintage clothing. The best way is of course to follow people who have the same style and/or posture. That way, you have the greatest chance of things being posted that you like and fit. In the beginning, it might be a little awkward to buy clothes this way, but once you've figured out how it works, it's great to browse Vinted or Instagram for new treasures!
Collage instagram foto’s: Instagram accounts: sister_s_style, vintess_vintage, lien.sien.vintage, vinterage.amsterdam, duurzaamopkamers
Slow Fashion Brands
Slow Fashion brands produce clothing while being aware of their environmental and labor circumstances and try to make them as best as possible. But the Internet is like a sea of fashion brands that try to use the term: “sustainability” to their own use. To avoid getting lost in this sea, I would recommend the app and site: Good On You. In this platform, you can search for your brand and see their ‘sustainability’ score on a range of topics; Planet, People and Animals. They provide you with information on every topic and show their price range. Good on you also gives you articles about finding the best brands in several clothing items, like shoes or jewelry. And provides you with ethical alternatives of your (favorite) brands.
Some tips for looking for sustainable brands; Do not always trust the term ‘sustainable’. Always read the description on what kind of policy they have in their company regarding this topic. And if they do not have a description on their site, they probably have something to hide. Also, be aware of the place where the brand is located, otherwise, the clothing still has to be shipped all across the world to get to your Mailbox.
Slow Fashion Shops in Leiden
Leiden is a city for students. And with being a student city does not only come with a lot of students, but also with having a lot of second-hand stores! I have made a map which locates some of the second hand and vintage shops in Leiden. You can visit them to have fun and conscious shopping experience ;)
This blog has listed some Slow Fashion options for someone who wants to begin with a sustainable wardrobe, or someone who is looking for more platforms to expand their knowledge. You can use this blog as a guide, but never forget that shopping sustainable is all about the mindset! ;)