I’m A Late Convert To Ethical Fashion

Credit: Edward Howell via Unsplash

I have a confession to make: It was only in 2020 that I made the conscious decision to have a sustainable approach to clothing.

To be brutally honest, I thought that jumping on the ethical fashion bandwagon was just another radical tree-hugging trend. To say the least, it was inconvenient and required too many unnecessary sacrifices.

Here are a few reasons why I became an “ethical fashion convert” and my intentions go beyond the environment (although that is the biggest factor at play):

  1. The Environment. Duh. We cannot keep up with the enormous mountains of polyster fast fashion worn an average of 3 times that piles up in landfill, which is a material that takes hundreds of years to decompose. This point is an understatement.
  2. Thrift shopping brought out my personal style. In 2020, I stopped following trends. I stopped asking “what was in?”. It’s exhausting when it changes every 4 months. When I started thrifting vintage timeless pieces, I discovered a part of myself that was real and unique — unrepeatable. For the first time, I never got bored of my clothes.

So if you’re wondering what’s currently “in”, I don’t have a clue and there is not one bit of FOMO in me. Ask someone else. I don’t care.

I’ve always generally felt comfortable in my skin but when I stopped following trends, I beat the sub-conscious insecurity of caring whether I looked “relevant” and stopped secretly seeking validation for what I wore. When I discovered my personal style, I naturally became more confident.

3. I became less materialistic. This was liberating. I stopped craving trips to department stores and big shopping centres. The urge was completely GONE. It’s very freeing to walk through a mall and to effortlessly walk past sale signs at Zara and H&M. Nup.

So what is my sustainable approach to fashion? In a nutshell, sustainable for me means good quality pieces that are affordable (thrift shops as much as possible). This does not mean never buying from a mainstream department store ever again but buying significantly less, wearing each item until the end of its life and getting only what I need.

On a deeper note …

To me, ethical fashion is important not just because of the environment but because materialism is damaging on so many more levels. St Thomas Aquinas, a 13th century theologian and philosopher, said: “The desire for artificial wealth is infinite.” We’re told the lie that material things will fulfil, satisfy and make us happy and we fall for it over and over again.