Answering FAQ About Sustainable Fashion… From Someone Who Doesn’t Buy Fast Fashion

Hello! Ever since boycotting fast fashion I have heard the same questions over and over. Today’s post is an effort to clear up any of your questions and it will hopefully be educational! I asked you over on Instagram to submit these questions. So if you want to be involved in the next post like this, please follow me over there. Ugh I actually hate promoting my Instagram – it feels like such a cliche. Anyway, on to the important stuff:

What about trends?

Trends are the food that fast fashion feeds from. The trends that are going around now seem to be recycled bits of old fashion, meaning the charity shop is the place to find all of the hidden gems. Buying into trends is a waste of money anyway, because they will disappear as soon as they came into fashion. Buy things that you know will last a long time, or won’t go out of style any time soon.

How do you get socks/underwear?

This is one thing I have to source from fast fashion brands, but rather than support the big high street retailers I pop into Peacocks or M&S.

What if someone gifts you fast fashion?

Of course, by refusing it you are contributing more waste to the world. If you can, try sending it back. If it is a close family member/friend explain why you don’t buy fast fashion. Exclaim that you love the thought behind it but you would prefer something else next time. Be gentle, but don’t stay silent.

Are you ‘uncool’ at school for only having second hand pieces?

I honestly don’t know. I haven’t been into school since March, and it was during lockdown that I researched the horrors of fast fashion. I never bought many clothes before hand, and that was never regarded as ‘uncool’. I did feel a bit stupid wearing the same jumper on every school trip but no-one seemed to mind, If they did, they didn’t voice their opinion. It’s not uncool to save the planet.

Will you ever buy fast fashion?

Sadly, in the last few days, I’ve had to purchase some school uniform. I’m moving schools so it requires a whole new set of clothes! It is unfortunate that I have to buy from fast fashion brands in this instance, but it’s the only time of the year that I do so. I will research how my school uniform is made, that could be an interesting topic of research.

If you don’t buy from garment workers, how do they get paid?

There are a few charities I have discovered that help garment workers and their families obtain necessary goods for living – such as food, water and safe housing. You can give a bit of money towards them, or support larger charities in the country of concern who will give help not only to garment workers but a broader reach of workers. Buying second hand is cheaper than fast fashion in many cases, so with the extra dosh you’ve saved you can donate towards a charity you believe in.

Have you ever bought from a sustainable brand?

Never! I find they are way out of my reach in terms of cost. I just visit the charity shop if I need anything (that’s a British equivalent to a thrift store, except money spent goes to NGO charities)

Do you think everyone should stop buying fast fashion?

Not if you cannot afford it. Fast fashion, such as Primark, is cheap and cheerful and often the only option for struggling families. There’s also an amazing convenience paired with fast fashion. For parents it’s easier to just get the specific item from a shop. Charity shops are a bit hit and miss, and they require more time to shop. So if you have a lot to juggle around, it simply isn’t possible. If clothes can be manufactured in better ways, perhaps I would buy fast fashion. However my main concern is the sheer amount of waste. If you cannot afford thrifting/sustainable shopping please do not feel inferior. Don’t feel any pressure from me to buy clothes in a certain way. Do what is best for YOU!

Hope you found this post useful and informative. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to be involved in The Plastic Plan series, or if you have any other requests for sustainable fashion related content. 

What are your plans for the weekend?

Guess who’s birthday is next week? Hopefully I’ll make a monster sized cake to share with you either on here or Instagram haha. I’d love to know what you’re up to this weekend!

catherine x

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How I Avoid Instagram Consumerism | 5 Ways To Spend Less In 2020

This will be a long post, so let’s just get straight into it!

What Is Instagram Consumerism?

This is a term I think I made up myself, but it could well be used elsewhere. Instagram consumerism, in my eyes, is the way Instagram affects how/when/where you buy your products. It is especially prominent in the influencer space, more specifically, brand deals and collabs. However there is also pressure around all of social media to wear a different outfit every day. This first harms our mindset towards clothing, and leads to consequences of buying more clothing to adhere to the expectation. 

Why Is It Bad?

First and foremost, the easiest ways to purchase clothing is via fast fashion brands. That is a problem in itself, which my friend Ava did an amazing guest post about on my blog. Secondly, the most advertised clothing on Instagram is fast fashion. To those who are not educated on the subject, it’s easy to fall into the trap of fast fashion.

Before we go ahead, I’d like to add a disclaimer: not everyone can afford sustainable fashion. It disappoints me that less advantaged families have to buy from fast fashion brand without choice. If you are included within that bracket, please do not feel pressure from me. You do not need to switch to sustainable fashion if you can’t afford it.

However, so many people with enough money to buy slow fashion decide to still go for the fast fashion option. That disappoints me beyond belief. Seeing influencers on YouTube with millions of subscribers do a Primark haul that gets over 500k views is scary. Unless they’re putting the revenue from that video towards charities that help garment workers in Bangladesh (where Primark’s clothes are made), I’m not going to support it. I’m scared because they have power, they own the label ‘influencer’ for a reason. They influence those people who watch the video to buy fast fashion. 500k views. That has an impact. 

How Do I Avoid Instagram Consumerism?

Now to the main part of this post. This section goes for any product you see promoted on Instagram, or YouTube. Not just clothing! 

1) Read The Facts

If you see a book on Instagram, made from paper that is not FSC approved, look into how harmful that can be for the planet. Read information on deforestation, learn about why you should just buy second hand. Even better, an independent book store. Although they are expensive, they have plummeted into financial decline since the Covid-19 outbreak (like many other businesses). Support small. Rather than just buy on a whim, wait a few days. Find other buying options.

2) The Influencer Is Only Going To Hype The Brand Up, They Would Never Advertise a Product They Do Not Like

Okay, so this is an obvious one. If an influencer has been sent a gifted item that they do not like, they wouldn’t post it on their Instagram. It’s gifted, they’re not paid for it. They might send a critical review back to the seller by email, but they wouldn’t share it with their audience. Next time you see a gifted item on someone’s feed, remember that everyone is different. Just because they love it, doesn’t mean you will. Plus, this influencer didn’t buy it with their own money. Everyone loves free things! They might not have bought it if it weren’t free. 

3) Make a Wishlist

Make a wishlist of all the physical items you desire in life (a book, a cactus and a blanket are on mine). Next time you want to buy something from an advertisement, glance back at your wishlist. Do you really want to spend your money on this, or should you put it towards something you have wanted for a while? If you decide you really love the advertised product on Instagram, write it on your wishlist. Come back a few days later and rethink. Do you still want this?

4) Did You Want This a Few Weeks Ago?

This is similar to the wish list idea. At the moment, razors have been gifted to a ton of creators in my Instagram feed. They’re cute, pink and, for some people, essential. Did you need a new razor a few weeks ago? Do you need a razor now? Probably not, because you already have one. Wait until you need a new razor before buying a new one! Don’t just buy one now, and then not get full use out of your old one. That’s wasteful.

5) What Purpose Does It Serve?

Book = happiness, education. Cactus = room decor. Blanket = keeps me cosy in the evenings. Everything serves a purpose. Some, however, will be more important than others. List out, either on paper or in your brain, the purposes your desired product serves. This simple practise will define what you should be spending your money on.

That’s it for today’s post! It was a little all over the place, wasn’t it? Hope you all don’t mind. Don’t forget that this post is a part of my series The Plastic Plan. It’s ongoing series, where every Friday either myself or a guest writer blogs about climate change, fast fashion and plastic. If you’re interested in educating yourself on those very important subjects, please do head over to The Plastic Plan category on my blog!

Let me know in the comments which tip you found most useful! 

What was the last thing you bought after seeing it on social media?

catherine x

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5 Simple Ways To Consume Less Meat | Collaboration With The Blog Girl

I am incredibly excited to introduce you to Meg, the author of this week’s instalment of The Plastic Plan. As a vegetarian, I thought it would be appropriate to write about my experience of being meat-free. You can check that out by clicking here. Meg, on the other hand, is relatively new to vegetarianism and her post includes 5 easy ways to reduce your meat consumption. So, let’s get into the post!

1. Have 1 or 2 days a week designated to consuming no meat

In my house we have ‘Meat Free Monday’ which means that no one in my house eats meat on a Monday. At the start it was quite difficult to find recipes that were delicious without meat, but as time went on it became easier. I don’t even think about eating meat on a Monday! It has become my favourite day for that reason. If you are struggling for meat-free recipe ideas, I wrote a blog post compiling them all together. The link is here for those interested.

2. Buy less meat products in your weekly shop

This forces you to eat less meat because it isn’t there in the first place. For example, if you usually would have ham sandwiches for your lunch everyday then don’t buy ham for a week and see what else you could have for your lunch! You may even find something else you like more than ham sandwiches – that is meat-free – which may become your usual lunch.

3. Involve a friend to become vegetarian alongside you for a week

Having someone commit to being veggie with you helps you stick to your goal because you can help each other cook yummy veggie recipes and prepare meat-free snacks. If you enjoy the week together then you could make it more consistent. Perhaps one week a month, or even try going cold-turkey and ambitiously cutting out meat straight away.

4. Think of the benefits this simple switch creates

If everyone in the world went vegetarian for one day a week think of how many animals’ lives would be saved. This year around 184,500,000 tons of meat has been consumed, as of Monday 13th July. Going vegetarian for 1 day a week means you have been vegetarian for around 52 days in a year and that would be a massive achievement!

5. Incorporate eating less meat into your daily life

Make it seem normal and it soon will become normal

Meg, The Blog Girl

I feel like I’ve touched on this tip before but I want to discuss it in more depth. If you make yourself eat less meat just within your day it won’t seem as daunting. For example, instead of reaching for some jelly sweets, which contain gelatine, why not choose a breakfast bar or even a chocolate bar? *most chocolate bars are vegetarian, but always check* To step it up a notch, you could reach for some fresh fruit.

6. Don’t cut meat out all at once (if you regularly eat meat)

It is much much harder to stick to being vegetarian without a plan. Although I said 5 tips, I felt this was too important to skip over. What I mean is: if one day you wake and promise you are going to be vegetarian from now on, you will find it really hard if you haven’t researched meat alternatives or found any meat free recipes. Finding things hard may result in giving up, and that is not ideal. Especially not in the circumstance of saving the planet. Therefore, gently begin the process of becoming vegetarian if you know it will be difficult for you. Ease yourself into a meat-free lifestyle, with the tips I have previously mentioned!

I really hope you found my tips useful and are now going to have a go at a meat-free lifestyle! Remember, little changes make a big difference.

Which tip did you find most useful?

the blog girl ❤

Now you’ve read the post, it’s about time you go over and check out Meg’s blog! It’s a multi-niche blog, covering lifestyle, food and positivity. If you’re interested in the food aspect, I think you should follow her wonderful Instagram. Her beautiful feed includes lots of baking photos, with her captions being equally – if not more – important. Meg never fails to brighten my day with her sweet comments and our little chats. I would highly recommend all of her profiles!

That’s it from me. If you wish to hear about My 2 Year Experience Of Being Vegetarian, click here.

Love you all loads!

catherine x

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The Misuse Of Water & How To Prevent It | Guest Post By Millie Button

Water, water, water. Fundamental for our survival yet used so carelessly. Water, water, water. Everyday we use this precious resource without even knowing it. How long is it going to take for people to realise that everything we do has an impact?

How many people in India don’t have access to clean water? Go on, have a guess! 100 million. 100 million people who don’t have access to the stuff we have so easily. Another statistic? Sure! 20,000 litres of water is used to produce 1 kilogram of cotton. So, it won’t come as a shock to you when I say that the fashion industry is one of the most water-using industries across the globe.

Fast fashion. We’ve all heard of it and most of us shop it. The fast fashion industry is really the culprit for the large amounts of water used by the fashion industry. The industrial-sized dyeing processes, the mass scale production using inorganic fibres, the list just goes on. Water, water, water, when will we stop taking it for granted? Let us not pretend that the problem lies just with these fashion brands, it is also the product of consumerism.

Scary word right? It makes your everyday Topshop or Primark shopper be turned into a monster before your very eyes. We’re all consumers and that isn’t going to change. But, there are ways to be a mindful consumer and stop using that precious jewel known as water. Thrifting. I know, certainly for me, buying from charity shops was always looked down on as something that was done by people who couldn’t afford normal clothes. Yet, this trend of sustainability has brought new life into these shops and created a new approach. Buying second-hand clothes means not using more water for new garments.

Try bringing a new lease of life into your clothes! Thrift-flip your old clothes! Or even try to buy slow fashion. This gets very expensive quickly, but that means a balance between the two. If you are going to buy fast fashion, do it as an investment and cut down on other pieces.

Water, water, water. We need it more than you would know, so save it and treasure it. Water, water, water…

Thank you for reading today’s post, written by the wonderful Millie! Millie is a small content creator who regularly posts on her blog, Instagram and YouTube channel. Her blog is focused around fashion design, and through her platforms she is actively spreading the word about fast fashion and why it should end. Her profiles are inspiring and informative – the perfect blend for success. Please support her journey by clicking here! I would like to personally thank Millie for writing on my blog because you are such a huge inspiration for me!

Next week’s post is all about bath bombs and their danger to our planet. Stay tuned!

Do you buy second-hand clothes? How are you going to stop investing in fast fashion, taking inspiration from this post?

catherine x

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Why You Should Stop Buying Fast Fashion | Guest Post By Ava Santa Ana | Stats, Facts + Where To Avoid

To kick-off The Plastic Planet series I have invited Ava to discuss a topic we are both passionate about: fast fashion. Through Ava I have learned a lot about this industry and stopped buying fast fashion all together. Please take a look at Ava’s Instagram and YouTube once you have finished reading this post – she constantly updates her socials with information on this subject. Before we get started, what even is fast fashion?

Hi guys – my name is Ava and I feel so honoured to have been asked to write the first post for The Plastic Planet Series! Although this isn’t technically to do with plastic, I’m going to be writing about the fast fashion industry and the implications it has on both the environment and the people actually creating the clothing.

I actually made a super in-depth YouTube video about this so if you do want to learn more then you can feel free to check it out hehe: http://youtube.com/avasantaana

Some Facts + Stats About Fast Fashion

  • 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions are produced by the global fashion industry each year
  • The clothing industry is the second largest polluting industry
  • It is estimated that 60,000,000 people work in the fashion industry worldwide
  • 85% of textiles are sent to landfills which is around 21 billion tonnes per year
  • The lowest paid garment workers in the world are paid 3$ per day
  • Fashion is the most labour-dependent industry on earth
  • On average, the garment workers are working 96 hours a week
  • Garment workers are the 2nd highest at-risk product category for modern slavery

I feel like these figures really speak for themselves, but it is so clear that something needs to change now!

Fast Fashion Brands To Avoid

When I first began my slow fashion journey, I was really unsure of what brands I should and shouldn’t be buying from. I have chosen some of the worst for this list, but there are so so many more and I would really recommend the website/app ‘Good On You’ which has a directory ranking basically every brand on their sustainability policies.

  • Victoria’s Secret
  • H&M
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Primark
  • Zara
  • Topshop
  • Forever 21
  • Shein
  • Boohoo
  • GAP
  • Uniqlo
  • ASOS
  • New Look

I gave up buying fast fashion around this time last year. After watching some videos and documentaries about the reality of this industry, I knew it was something that I no longer wanted to be investing my money in. Although it was definitely hard at first, I have discovered some sustainable brands that I love and I am proud to say that I have become a lot more conscious of my purchases.

My Favourite Sustainable + Ethical Brands

  • Depop – my absolute fave place to shop! Buying secondhand is so underrated because you can get some really cool stuff for cheap prices because it has already been worn. I love buying vintage clothes from Depop and the overall shopping experience on the app is really nice and easy, could not recommend it enough.
  • Charity Stores – charity stores can be really hit or miss, but you can find some amazing stuff in them for absolute bargains! 
  • Organic Basics – this was the first sustainable brand I bought clothes from. I won’t lie, it is expensive but you are definitely paying for quality. Their factories ensure that their workplace is free of child labor and forced labor, their workers are surrounded in a safe working space, paid a living wage, offered employee perks like free lunch and childcare and are treated with respect at all times.
  • The Hundred Club – this is a UK based small business that only creates 100 of each item of clothing to combat waste. I love their designs and I think they are very on-trend whilst also being high quality
  • Lucy and Yak – they have the absolute cutest clothes and are also very very high quality at a relatively affordable price (and everything is made of organic cotton too) Their tailors are paid 4 times the state minimum wage, their factories are powered by solar panels on the roof and I love how transparent they are about the whole process of creating the clothing
  • TALA – this is a sustainable activewear brand, which is amazing because it is so hard to buy fitness clothing sustainably. It is run by Grace Beverley (who I completely want to be) and I think it’s amazing that she has created a brand that focuses on empowering people of everybody type, whilst also being good for the environment. Their items are created from sustainable materials and whilst they are slightly on the pricier side, I think it is definitely worth it.

Thank you so so much to everyone who has taken some time to read this! I really hope it made you reflect on your own purchases and awakened you to some of the realities of the fashion industry.

Ava xx

Would you like to know more about fast fashion?

Stay tuned for next week’s post written by the lovely Millie Button. It’s going to be another fast fashion related post. I will conclude this mini-series with my own thoughts on the fashion industry – then we shall return to plastic-based posts. However this subject is still going to be pending on my mind!

If you have something to say about fast fashion, drop me an email to be featured.

erin x

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