Three Ways to Shop More Sustainably

Article by: Lila W.

Edited by: Kay S. + Justin S. + Kylie C.

Visual by: Issy P.

With only two weeks of school left, summer is just right around the corner and the hunt for the best fashion trends to wear has begun. Many students are coordinating and buying aesthetic outfits for their social media pictures, vacation, and squad get-togethers. Nevertheless, with the ever-growing troubles concerning sustainability, we should all consider ways to care for our planet even while enjoying a new vogue. Here are three tips to obtain stylish outfits while maintaining an eco-friendly balance with the Earth:

  1. Consider the materials used to make the clothes, and whether they’re “natural” or not. Information regarding materials could often be found on labels placed on the inside of clothes. In this case, it is safe to say that garments with familiar raw materials like wool, silk, cotton, or linen are considerably more sustainable than synthetic fibers made in the lab. These manufactured fibers are often fabricated from plastic polymers, which are infamous for polluting our planet. Nylon and polyester are included as non-biodegradable synthetics that require much energy to be created and can greatly contaminate the air and water during its manufacturing process.
  2. Purchase from brands that commit to and are transparent on sustainability. Brands, notably Adidas, Marks & Spencers, H&M, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Gap, have all worked to become much more sustainable enterprises. These companies have established policies and deeds that result in better change for communities around the world, thus reducing their carbon footprint, conserving resources, and ensuring the wellbeing of both the consumers and producers. One such policy, prevalent in stores like H&M, Levi’s, and the North Face, incorporates clothing drives that allow returns of worn-out clothes so they can be recycled rather than occupying landfills. These simple measures allow consumers to easily take environmental action, decreasing the environmental impact of their own belongings.
  3. Second-hand shopping, especially through “ukay-ukay” (thrift stores) and vintage stores. Second-hand shopping allows clothes to be recycled instead of occupying landfills. These classic clothes not only prove to be sustainable, but also help to obtain an outfit with a vintage vibe for a considerably cheaper price. Many items often have their prices cut to as much as half their original value. In Manila, Makati Cinema Square is a good place to start thrifting, offering value deals in an area easily accessible to ISM students. Since many thrift stores are owned by private individuals and businesses, “ukay-ukay” shopping prevents multinational corporations from dominating the market, hence fueling the world’s economy.

Through sustainable shopping, consumers can minimize the detrimental health, environmental, and social impacts of our goods. They will also assist in the hindrance of the exploitation of raw materials, reduction of water and air pollution from manufacturing processes, curb the increase in size of landfills, and even help prevent the further abuse of livestock. Sustainable shopping may be a small practice, but it can prove to be a step forward on a sustainable future.