If you have shopping habits anything like mine, you could probably relate to the urge and temptation to find any reason to justify a shopping spree. The instagram ads and the clothing hauls on Tik Tok don’t help either. Everytime I open up Tik Tok, the same two Edikted ads come up on my For You Page; both showcasing their infamous faux leather flare pants being worn by a Tik Toker. It’s no new news that social media influencers have a huge influence on trends; as we’re all guilty of seeing a piece of clothing on Tik Tok, scrolling through the comments to see where it’s from, then ordering it for yourself. Unfortunately, in most cases these articles of clothing that gain attention tend to be from unsustainable brands that may be categorized as a “microtrend.” Most people don’t think twice about whether their purchases are from sustainable sources simply because it may be trendy at the time, and it’s seemingly cheap. Both things that are especially appealing to the college student demographic. But this destructive combination can result in harmful greenhouse gas emissions, the continuation of harsh working conditions and unfair wages, excess waste, etc.
It’s hard to put in perspective what effect buying from unsustainable brands has on things such as the environment, but to put it simply, many of the clothing items being sold at Shein, Edikted, Princess Polly, Adika, Urban Outfitters, and many more, are made of materials like polyester and acrylic. These materials are petroleum based, and require a significant amount of energy to be produced in comparison to natural/recycled materials. Not to mention other factors such as the clothing items more often than not, being considered a microtrend, and of poor quality. Even if you can’t empathize with the effects of unsustainable clothing on the environment, it would be a smarter choice for you to buy from sustainable brands anyways.
Sustainable brands are made with quality products and are designed to be long lasting. As a result, sustainable brands tend to consist of classy and timeless pieces that won’t go out of style, therefore making for staple wardrobe pieces that you can hold onto for years. Some sustainable brands include Aritzia, Reformation, Levi’s, Girlfriend Collective, etc. Their higher prices is probably what scares customers off the most, but I can guarantee that it’s priced on the higher scale for good reason. If you really think about it, spending more money on an article of clothing that you would wear at least once every one to two weeks is much more worth it than spending money on a cheap top just to wear it a total of three times until you go back to Shein to buy another top of subpar quality and continue in that never ending cycle. Though it’s not realistic to expect anyone to be able to shop 100% sustainably, doing little things such as educating yourself, limiting purchases from unsustainable brands, and thrift shopping, are little steps that can be made in everyday life that can make a larger impact than you know!