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Why You Need to Embrace Sustainable Fashion

It’s all part of fighting for a better future.

Photo by Charles Etoroma on Unsplash

Sustainable fashion is something that many people reading this will have heard of but may not fully understand the importance of doing so, nor the many benefits it brings them personally as well as the around us all. This is understandable. Hence, I’m writing this article to explain why I firmly believe society — including yourself — must embrace vintage and second-hand clothing.

Setting the scene

To set the scene, I’ll briefly outline a recent experience. As I scrolled through my Instagram feed last weekend, I saw an advert for a pop-up vintage clothes shop in my nearest city. As I need to pick up some new clothes for this winter, I spontaneously decided to check it out.

When I arrived at the event, I was greeted by a brightly lit room in a modern venue. This room was filled with endless racks of clothes. Various t-shirts, trousers, coats, and accessories were available for sale. There was so much variety I was confident I would find what I was looking for, which I did. Hundreds of other people also had the same idea, as the venue was packed with other vintage clothing enthusiasts. It took forever to pay for my clothes because the queue was so long. That said, it was absolutely worth the time.

Clothes shopping is fun.

For many people, this is another truth. The “thrill of the hunt” is a phrase usually seen in collecting circles for luxuries like toys, figures, and video games. There is truth in that. However, this philosophy can also apply to clothing. The thrill of going to vintage clothes fairs, clothes swaps and other sustainability in fashion events is unique and something you simply cannot experience through exploitative brands like Shein, Temu and Primark.

This is because you practice the values you preach. You know you are helping to build a better future for the world, even if it seems insignificant and meaningless. As a woman, I already understand this due to how we’re socialised. However, this ascends to a whole new level when you embrace sustainability (and travel, for that matter). However, if you’re not a woman, you can learn and embrace the fun of clothes shopping is something too.

The selection of clothes is international.

I was surprised by how many clothes not made for the UK market were available for sale. i.e., I found clothes made in Ecuador to be sold in the USA with USA sizes on the label. It did mean finding clothes that fit me was surprisingly difficult because I did not know how to convert them to UK sizes (what I’m familiar with).

This also shows just how far clothes can travel around the world. You never know where your clothes will end up after you get rid of them. Because clothes have very long lives, it’s far better for old clothing to end up at vintage fairs to go to loving homes rather than landfills.

Building a wardrobe to last and make memories with

When people plan for a big event, they usually plan an outfit for it. This usually applies to life-changing events like weddings and high school proms. On the other end of the spectrum, this also applies to more serious occasions like funerals and court trials. This is usually where most thinking starts and ends. Cultural rules partially determine this, but also due to people not thinking outside the box regarding their relationships with clothing (like all physical goods in general).

So, allow me to propose what I consider the best philosophy for fashion.

  • The best library of clothes focuses on quality, not quantity.
  • The best clothes library lasts for a very long time.
  • The best clothes library is one you associate with many events, not just one-time events.

Wanna wear the same outfits on multiple trips abroad over several years? Do it. Wanna become a full-on digital nomad? Pack a whole suitcase with a limited number of outfits and go wild! Want a small number of outfits for the workplace that best reflect who you are (but also fit a dress code if it exists)? Do it.


  • The best clothes library doesn’t end up in a landfill when you no longer want to wear clothes anymore (or they break).
  • The best clothes library focuses on repairing clothes as much as possible, giving clothes to friends, family, and charities to extend their lives.
  • The best clothes library is heavily curated, where spending money on clothes should only be saved for rare occasions. Not just because it’s good for the planet. It’s also good for your finances and well-being.

That’s where embracing vintage fashion, clothes swaps, and other events come in. To embrace sustainable fashion means you endorse a better and brighter future. You also encourage some of your friends and family to do the same, which inspires your friends and family connections to do the same. It’s a snowballing effect that then turns into demand for structural change (and the effective campaigning required to make this a reality).

Ignore the narrative the world of fast fashion tells you.

There are many narratives out there pushed by the world of fast fashion — alongside other capitalist forces — that exist to delay people realising that alternatives exist.

Fast fashion tells us we must mindlessly collect and consume countless clothes we’ll never wear more than once.

Fast fashion tells us to focus purely on purchasing clothes for bargain bin prices without thinking of the working conditions of the factories they were made in, often in the global south.

Fast fashion claims it’s OK that clothes can cost as little as a dollar. In reality, clothes should cost significantly more to compensate everyone involved in making clothes. Additionally, sites like Shein and Temu must be legislated out of existence.

Final thoughts

The next time you discover that a vintage fair, clothes swap or a similar event is happening, I encourage you to attend, especially if you believe in fighting for a better future. You never know what you will find, whether it’s new clothing or new perspectives. If everyone embraces sustainable fashion, the planet will be much better off.

Some of these thoughts may sound radical. However, as tempting as it is to stay within the safety of popular narratives, challenging the status quo is vital for building a better future. A future that prioritises our finances, our environment, and our well-being is always worth fighting for.

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Sustainable Fashion
Climate Change
Climate Crisis
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