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How to Ditch Fast Fashion in 8 Easy Steps

The rising environmental and ethical concerns surrounding the fast fashion industry have sparked a movement towards sustainable shopping.

Fast fashion—the rapid production of cheap, trendy clothing—has significant environmental and social consequences. From using vast amounts of water to creating an excess of waste, it’s clear that a change in our shopping habits is overdue. This transition not only benefits the environment, but also supports fair labor practices and can lead to a more fulfilling relationship with our wardrobes.

women shopping for clothing at a mall

As we become more aware of the lasting impact our choices have, ditching fast fashion becomes not just a personal decision, but a communal stand for the planet and its people.

In this guide, consumers will learn practical ways to shift away from fast fashion and embrace more ethical and environmentally friendly alternatives.

8 Steps to Ditch Fast Fashion

Ditching fast fashion is easy with this guide!

Step 1: Educate Yourself

Begin by researching how fast fashion affects the world—from the depletion of natural resources to the poor working conditions for workers.

Understanding these impacts gives your shopping decisions context and urgency. Look up reports, documentaries, and articles that explore both the negative aspects of fast fashion and the benefits of sustainable clothing.

I personally encourage you to watch The True Cost documentary. This kicked off my interest in ethical fashion. This documentary really made me start to pause and ask questions before buying new clothes.

woman reading about ethical fashion

A few books I also recommend include Sustainable Fashion for Dummies and Consumed. These are two of my favorite books I’ve read about learning how to shop and style more mindfully.

Step 2: Assess Your Wardrobe

I’m not going to tell you to throw out your fast fashion clothes….that would actually be unsustainable and cause more waste! However, it is important the assess what you have in your wardrobe. Take stock of what you have, what you ACTUALLY wear, rediscover pieces that you might have forgotten about, and really start to understand your closet.

Do you have five striped shirts? Multiple black dresses? Maybe keep this in mind the next time you’re out shopping to prevent yourself from buying more similar items.

Step 3: Value What You Already Have in Your Closet

Once you’ve re-evaluated your wardrobe, fall back in love with your closet. Create new outfits from your existing clothing, repair any damaged pieces, and begin to cherish the versatility of your current collection.

woman who loves clothes in closet

Wearing what we already have is one of the MOST sustainable practices!!

Step 4: Research Ethical & Sustainable Brands

When you do feel the need to purchase a new item, find brands that prioritize sustainability in their production processes. Look for transparency in their supply chain, fair labor practices, and the use of eco-friendly materials. Certifications like Fair Trade and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) can be indicative of a brand’s commitment to sustainability.

There are plenty of sustainable fashion blogs, brand directories, and social media accounts to help you with this! Also, consider looking at local boutiques or craft fairs to support makers in your area.

Step 5: Shop Secondhand or Swap

Purchasing from sustianable clothing brands can be a bit more expensive. If you’re looking for a new item that is affordable, consider shopping secondhand.

Thrifting is a sustainable alternative to buying new. Consignment shops, vintage stores, and online secondhand platforms like Depop or Poshmark are treasure troves for unique finds. Remember, each pre-loved item you purchase is one less piece of clothing contributing to the fast fashion cycle.

You can also explore hosting a clothing swap. Each friend brings clothing they are ready to part ways with and you can all swap! This gives your closet some new pieces and gets rid of clothes you don’t want.

Step 6: Embrace Slow Fashion

Adopt a ‘less is more’ mentality. Instead of chasing trends, invest in high-quality pieces that withstand the test of time. Look for classic designs that can be worn in multiple seasons and styled in different ways.

sustainable clothing boutique

Step 7: Care for Your Clothes

Caring properly for your clothing can significantly extend their life. Washing clothes in cold water, air-drying when possible, and storing items correctly are just a few ways to maintain your clothing’s quality and appearance for years to come.

Consider learning some mending tips and tricks to help you fix buttons, sew up holes, and other ways to keep your clothing in good condition.

sustainable fashion tips

Step 8: Spread the Word

Inspire others to join in on the sustainable fashion journey. Share your experience, tips, and sustainable finds on social media. Education and spreading awareness create a community of mindful consumers and can amplify the impact of your choices.

Shifting from fast fashion to sustainable shopping is a meaningful journey that can redefine how you view and consume fashion.

steps to ditch fast fashion

By following these steps—educating yourself, assessing your wardrobe, valuing existing pieces, researching ethical brands, shopping secondhand, embracing slow fashion, caring for your clothing, and encouraging others—you can proudly contribute to a healthier planet and more ethical industry.

Each choice we make is a stepping stone towards a better future, both in fashion and our environment.