Want to shop more sustainably but don’t know where to start?

Fast Fashion is killing our planet.

Twice a year the fashion industry encourages us to get rid of our clothes in favour of the “new trend” designers showcase what we should be wearing for the coming season, fuelling our constant need for new clothing when we have a wardrobe full of unworn items already. With trends moving so fast we are always looking for the new thing to wear.  But there is nothing new in fashion – there only so many ways you can re-invent a frock!!

Designers take inspiration from the past everyday for their “new collection” with a few minor changes it is roughly a 15 year cycle for trends to resurface so with a little clever styling you can re-work what you already own!!

Fast fashion is killing our planet our ever consuming fashion fix means more and more clothing ends up in landfill.

The constant desire for cheap clothing is causing mass destruction of our planet – lakes and rivers are drying up due to over consumption of water to produce one cotton t-shirt, rivers are running blue with die from the manufacturing of jeans and the air is polluted with toxic fumes of cheaply produced polyester.

Figures from How to Break Up with Fast Fashion  by Lauren Bravo says  “Every year in the UK, an estimated 300,000 tonnes of used clothes now ends up in landfill – although the word “used” is disputable seeing as garments are reportedly worn on average just seven times before there are more than often thrown in the bin.  In 2019, Brits spent and estimated£2.7 billion on clothes worn only once – including £700 million on 11 million summer clothes that didn’t make it beyond the duration of a single holiday.” She goes on to say that we should think a little more, buy a little less and we can acknowledge the part we play in feeding the fast fashion monster.

When the waste charity Triad launched its 23% campaign in London it discovered that 23 percent of the capitals clothing was sitting in the back of wardrobes unworn – that is 123 million items of clothing!! The CEO of the charity Maria Chenworth says “people need to start being kind. And this kindness should be from ourselves and how we consume, but also from the buyers, the supplier, the shareholders…. We just need to be kind and thoughtful instead of I don’t care I am just gong to trample on these people to make profit”

So how can you make the change and move away from fast fashion?  Lauren Bravo makes a very valid point “people don’t remember your clothes” we may think that we can’t wear the same things twice but think about how many times someone has said “I like that dress – is it new?”  We all know that we need to fuel those little squares that we live our lives through now but isn’t the “new trend” to show how sustainable our wardrobes are???!!!

  • Buy second-hand – chairty shops where once old clothes went to die are the new fashions destination.  Shop for the original trend inspiration from the designer rather than a high street copy.
  • Wear what you have – take a look through your wardrobe and spend a few hours creating outfits from what you already own – look at ways you can layer up summer dresses with sweaters, mix and match – get some inspiration from Jade @notbuyingnew who shows her very stylish ways to wear her wardrobe on her feed.
  • Take more care of your clothes – invest in some good hangers – the wire ones really don’t do your clothing any good, put them away at the end of the day, learn how to do small repairs like sewing a button back on rather than throwing it away.
  • Think before you buy it? Do you need another black top just because it is in the sale?  When you do shop make sure you are buying pieces that will last rather than be worn a few times. Buy investment items that will last you a lifetime.
  • Investigate sustainable brands, they may cost a little more but you will be supporting a small business as well as buying a brand you know is doing its best to preserve the world’s resources.
  • Hold a swap party with your friends – get a few people over, grab a bottle of wine, bring a few items you don’t wear and have fun swapping clothes.
  • Rent – if you need something for a special occasion that you know you will only wear once – why not rent? There are lots of companies that hire clothes, bags and accessories from high-street brands to high end designer pieces.

For more information and getting involved check out the following:

How to Break Up With Fast Fashion – Lauren Bravo

Claire Press Sustainable Fashion Editor Australian Vogue

Conscious Fashion Collective

Fashion Revolution


Fashion Roundtable

Slow Fashion Season

There are many other organisations and companies that are trying to make a difference and by just stopping for a moment before you click “add to basket” or tap your card you can too!!??

Karen James Welton



Bio: Karen is Fashion stylist with over 25 years in the industry. She has worked in London, Paris and now in her home town of Norwich. She is passionate about vintage and sustainable styling and now encourages women to move away from fast fashion and make vintage and second hand clothing part of their everyday wardrobe with workshops, shop your wardrobe and shopping services. Karen is writing a book how to wear vintage as part of your everyday wardrobe that will be available in Spring

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