Sarah Fung: How To Shop Sustainably
One of a kind
Embrace pre-owned. Every pre-owned garment is one less new item bought. Buying pre-owned reduces waste, extends the life of your wardrobe and gets you more for your buck, especially when buying quality, luxury pre-owned items.
Also, purchasing vintage means you often get to wear something no one else has. That’s the best feeling!
Know your brands
Study green brands. Supporting labels that are consciously trying to reduce environmental waste is a key step to changing the way we shop.
Look for designers creating clothes with offcuts or fabrics that are less harmful to the planet.
Devil's in the details
Beware of the finishes. Fabrics that are dyed—for example, with indigo for jeans or heavy metal dyes for leather—can cause toxic waste that ends up in rivers and oceans.
Learn about the people making your clothes and buy accordingly. Brands with ethical production methods—such as paying workers fair wages, working with non-toxic materials, reducing packaging—should be on your radar.
Be wary of anything that seems too cheap; someone (the garment maker probably) is paying for it down the line.
Avoid acrylic, polyester, PVC. Also fur (real and faux, as most fake fur comes from plastic) and denim. If you must, buy them second-hand.
Quality over quantity
Gauge how many times you’re likely to wear something. If you wear a $2,000 cashmere sweater 100 times versus a $200 polyester one four times, their cost per wear is $20 and $50 respectively, so the cashmere is effectively cheaper than the polyester one.
Plus, you’ll be likely to wear quality pieces for longer.