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Fashion, along with the rest of the world, is under constant transformation, and for the last decade the “fast fashion” revolution has ruled the market. Brands like H&M, Top Shop, Zara and Forever 21 sample the latest looks straight from the catwalks and reproduce them fast, globally, and affordably to the masses.

Fashion is more available than ever, but also more disposable. Although it seems like a sweet deal at the end of the month when you’re standing in line to H&M, waiting to pay for your €4.99 t-shirt – consequences will follow. You might not pay the price for it right there and then, but unfortunately someone else probably will.

The brands in the fast fashion industry are constantly looking for the cheapest possible production cost, in order to deliver a cheap cost to the end consumer. The result is outsourcing the job to third world countries like Bangladesh and India where factory workers work under slave like conditions in unsafe buildings on minimum wages. On top of that they go to work everyday in fear that the building will collapse over their heads.

Supporting labels that operate through fair trade, ethical and sustainable policies as well as to be aware of your own carbon footprint has never been as crucial as today. It’s up to each one of us to take responsibility for our actions, and purchases.

Here are a few tips on how to stay on top of your eco-shopping:

  • Shop vintage

Every year, 80 billion new pieces of clothing are being bought worldwide. In the same period of time thousands of tonnes of textiles are being thrown away. Doesn’t that seem unnecessary? Especially when shopping second hand is such a hit – the clothes are wicked, the prices are often lower and you know you won’t run into someone with the same outfit at the party.

Have a look for yourself:

Dublin Vintage Factory– Smithfield

Tola Vintage– Temple Bar

Dublin Flea Market– New Market (the last Sunday of every month)

Nine Crows– Temple Bar

  • Recycle your old rags

To sell or pass on the pieces of clothing that no longer rock your world is never a bad idea. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But the truth is that only about 10 % of the clothes going to charity in third world countries, are actually being sold. The left-over clothing ends up being dumped and is instead polluting the air from massive landfills. So keep that in mind when you’re cleaning out your wardrobe- the clothes you’re passing on are actually supposed to be worn by someone else. And for the rags you know you’ve worn day in and day out for years (you know which ones I mean) – recycle them!

Recycle your clothes here:

Liberty – 28 lower Camden Street

H&M – 23-27 College Green

  • Label awareness

Let’s just say that some brands simply work harder to maintain a certain standard when it comes to sustainability and ethical values. Although the whole industry is moving in the right direction, certain labels have come further when it comes to eco fashion.

Brands to check out:

Filippa K – Scandinavian clean quality using recycled wool and polyester

ASOS – recently launched a jeans line made of recycled cotton

Stella McCartney – sharp high end design without using any leather or fur

New Balance – strives for zero waste and working towards completely recoverable products

Nudie Jeans – products manufactured with 100 % organic cotton, everyone in the supply chain is being paid a living wage, recycling and reselling second-hand garments and performing unannounced factory checks

 

There is more than one route towards eco town, just make sure to not get lost along the way. And remember – as consumers, trendsetters and lovers of fashion – we have the power to actually make a change.

Elsa Anderling

Image Credit: Pexels