Shopping Ethically on a Budget
By Alexia Antoniadis, our amazing intern!
So you want to start shopping ethically. You’ve read the articles on sweatshops, you’ve seen “The True Cost”, there’s just one problem: You’re broke.
Well today may just be your lucky day, my friend, The Social Outfit has you covered, (both literally and figuratively) and we’re ready to buckle you up and send you on your way.
Ethical shopping need not cost an arm and a leg, and if you’re ready to go, you can use tips like these to get started in no time!
Tip one: Spend money to save money
Makes no sense? Don’t worry, nothing good ever does, we’ll explain: You could switch to auto-pilot for a few hours and save on clothes by filling your cart to the brim (if there was one) with fast-fashion clothes. All the while thinking; hell yeah! I get a whole new wardrobe with the change I found in my car?...Jackpot! The only problem is, much like your spare change, your new wardrobe will be lost or disregarded before you even remember you’ve bought it. Ethical clothing may seem a little pricey, but you can wear it to your 30th, your 50th, and even your wedding if you like (which one of our magnificent customers even did!)
Spending more money than you’re used to may be confronting, but if you add up all the money you’ve spent on fast fashion that has ended up torn or stretched, or just downright thrashed, you could probably buy a ethically made garment right now. You’re already spending the money, you just need to change how you do it.
Tip two: Buy staples
We’re not talking about the ones from Officeworks. Wardrobe staples are the star of the cheat-sheet when it comes to ethical shopping. Like building anything, you have to start with a solid foundation, some pieces you can dress up or down, save the one-off statement pieces for later on.
If you try building a house roof first, the whole thing will crash down (the whole thing being your attitude to ethical shopping), you will be discouraged and feel as if you have wasted your money.Should you happen to still have that spare change I mentioned before, you can still spend it on clothes, except try collecting it all in a piggy-bank and exercising a little patience.
What we’re getting at is, if you’re making your first ethical fashion purchase, buy something you know you will wear, make it versatile, and an extension of yourself. Say you have some grocery shopping to do, then a date later on. Pick a piece you can wear to do the shopping, then to the date, now that’s value for money.
It might feel weird to wear the same thing many times in a row but if you wear a garment in different situations no one will know you’ve recycled the outfit except for you. Plus, you’d be surprised to know that most people don’t even remember where they parked their car, so we don’t think they will be concerned with the fact that you’ve re-worn the dress from last week. This grievance towards outfit repeating seems to have been birthed by the endless torrent of new outfits we see on our screens everyday, and we are most certainly not here for it!
You wouldn’t feel bad about being seen eating the same meal once a week, so what’s the difference with clothes? Ethically-made clothes will offer you a sense of self-pride that will add more value to your life than the stress of finding a new geddup every day.
A brand that makes some amazing sustainably made essentials and supports women from vulnerable communities while doing it - Dorsu! Shop some of their ethical basics that will leave you feeling anything but.
Tip three: Don’t get ahead of yourself
Most of us love a good meal, but that doesn’t mean we could stomach a hundred of them all at once. Your bank account feels the same way. Don’t do anything rash and throw away all your clothes and try to start new.
From now on, buy one piece if and when you need or feel like it, re-wear the clothes you already have whenever you feel the urge to go and buy more.
Eventually, your fast fashion clothes will start to disappear and your wardrobe will become more ethical. Ethical pieces were not designed to be bought in a frenzy or ‘spree’, they are special.
You may even find that being more conscious about where your clothes come from will bleed into other areas of your life, and you may question where your food, or other products you buy come from. Deciding what you will wear rather than having marketing giants decide for you, offers empowerment that will make the process worth it and bring you one step closer to a new and freer you! Be patient, be conscious, and before you know it you will be rocking a wardrobe of clothes you can really be proud of.
If you’re looking for locally & ethically made, sustainable clothing, you’ve come to the right place - shop our latest collection now!
And if you enjoyed this article and are looking for some inspiration on how to style your ethical garms, check out our Retail Trainer and Eco-stylist Natalie Shehata giving the lowdown on everything you need to know about eco-styling!