The news is filled with stories about climate change and the destruction of the environment. We hear about the loss of biodiversity and plastic microfibres that are poisoning the oceans. As a consumer, you have a lot of power to effect change. By shopping online in a sustainable way, not only do you directly reduce the amount of environmental damage being caused, you also show companies that making sustainable goods is better for their business.
Think about the material your clothes are made from
Rarely do we think of our clothes as being made from plastic, but actually many of them are. Polyester, nylon, and rayon all contain microfibres and should be avoided if possible. If you have to buy clothes made out of these materials, use a Guppyfriend washing bag that prevents microfibres escaping and protects your clothes.
Try to buy clothes that are made out of natural, sustainable materials such as cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo and wool.
Do your research
Every time you make a purchase online, you are telling that brand or website that the way they do business and produce their products is OK by you.
You can make a powerful statement by only shopping with companies that make an explicit commitment to being sustainable and environmentally friendly. To make this task easier, you can use the Donegood browser extension to tell if a brand is sustainable or not while shopping on Google or Amazon.
Think about how companies model their clothes
Many companies still behave in a very old fashioned manner and use models that are primarily underweight, young women. The photos of these models are then often airbrushed, making them look even skinnier. This promotes unrealistic beauty standards and causes mental health issues and eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia.
These days, many more companies are using a diverse range of models and presenting realistic portrayals of the people who might wear their clothes. Debenhams, for example, have used rehabilitated military veterans and Paralympic athletes as models. They also employ female models up to the age of 70 and size 18.
Buy less, buy vintage or second-hand
Often the most environmentally damaging aspect of the fashion industry is the production of clothes. You can limit your consumption by filling your wardrobe with timeless pieces rather than rushing to follow the latest trends. Try to purchase items that will last and that you will wear several times.
Another good way to limit the amount of clothes that are produced is to buy vintage or second-hand clothes (these can often be found on online auction sites).
Avoid fur and companies that test on animals
There are now multiple ways to produce faux-fur clothes that are just as high quality as those that use real fur. Yet every year 1 billion rabbits and 50 million other animals are still being killed for their fur. The immense scale of this is truly horrendous. There are many companies that now refuse to sell fur that you can get your clothes from.