As a student studying the apparel industry, I think more about clothes than you'd probably think. What kind of fabrics am I wearing? Where was it made? What makes this material better than that material? And as I begin to gain more knowledge in these things, I have become more aware of what I am buying and where I am buying it from.
The topic of slow fashion has been on my mind. What is that, you ask? The opposite of a term you probably have heard of—fast fashion.
This is becoming more and more common among companies who have a demand from customers' "see now, buy now" attitude. Everything is at our fingertips, but how well do you know your clothes and where they came from? The fast fashion industry often leads to lives in other countries making your everyday clothes in unhealthy conditions, with little pay.
The idea of slow fashion is to slow that process down in order to live more sustainably and wear clothes more purposefully. Buying more sustainably ensures that your clothes are being made with eco-friendly fabrics and helping the environment, rather than destroying it. Often times, though, buying more sustainably comes with a price.
As a broke college student, I don't always have the money to pay the price, but I have come up with five ways to buy more sustainably while on a budget.
1. Buy Secondhand
This is my favorite way to shop smart. There are thousands of secondhand stores like GoodWill, Salvation Army, and many others everywhere that give you the opportunity to buy secondhand. If you prefer online shopping, sites like threadUP offer lower prices on your favorite brands.
For starters, you save that money and find pieces that no one else has! And of course, by shopping secondhand, you get to re-wear clothes that someone else no longer does.
2. Rent Or Borrow
Since coming to college and joining a sorority, the more events there are to attend. Between formals, date parties, sorority recruitment season, and campus events, I in no way have the money to buy a new dress for every event. Take advantage of borrowing your friend's clothes or renting from someone!
At Iowa State, there are resources like the Curtsy App that allows women to upload their formal attire to rent for events. You look great, wear more sustainably, and save your money instead of buying a new dress you won't ever wear again!
3. Capsule Wardrobe
I am IN LOVE with the idea of capsule wardrobes. The purpose of this is to have a set number of garments in your wardrobe that you can wear over and over again in different ways. For example, for spring you might have ten tees, five pairs of jeans, four dresses, and a few accessories that you can mix and match for that season.
You don't have to be overwhelmed by the pile of clothes sitting on your floor or what to wear the next day. This keeps your closet condensed and away from buying things you don't need.
4. Quality Over Quantity
As mentioned before, buying more sustainably can come with a price. But, instead of shopping for $5.00 tees at Forever21 that you'll throw out after a few months, consider buying more quality and staple clothing that will last you a few years.
5. Do Your Research
If you are content with your buying habits and don't care to change them, take a few minutes out of your day and research your clothes! Are they made in safe environments? Are you helping the environment and company in a good way? Knowing more about your clothes can change your buying habits and if anything, makes you more aware of your everyday surroundings!