How to Maintain Sustainable Fashion After Lockdown Ends
COVID-19 lockdowns made everyone stop and evaluate their lifestyles. In terms of sustainability, the pause in routine has given us time to break bad habits and start better ones. We tossed out what didn’t work - clearing out our closets, opting for thrifted or eco-friendly wardrobes instead of fast fashion deals.
Now that people are going back to the office, travel has opened up, and our previous “normal” is reemerging, can we maintain our sustainable wardrobe habits? Or will we become mindless fashion zombies again, susceptible to every advertisement for clothes you know will be out of style in three months?
Here are some tips for how to maintain sustainable fashion after lockdown ends:
1. Download the Shuffle app
The first step to sustainability is awareness of what you already have. Shuffle functions as a digital copy of all the items in your wardrobe. Scrolling through your existing wardrobe in this way will help you see outfit combinations you hadn’t thought of before, remind you what you already have so you don’t overbuy, and keep track of how long you’ve had certain items. Shuffle lets you see how your closet compares to other people from other countries, ages, and genders. Stylists available at the click of a button 24/7 can help you find a style that shows off your personality and fits your lifestyle. Plus, interacting on the app gets you points: earn enough, and Shuffle will plant a tree on your behalf! Download it on Google Play here.
2. Support eco-friendly businesses and companies
Buy from brands who prioritize environmental, social, and economic sustainability. For example, Pact and Kotn offer affordable and inclusive pieces, from dresses to underwear. If you want to splurge, consider shopping Elieen Fisher: their take-back initiative creates new pieces out of old apparel.
3. Shop secondhand
Thrift, vintage, or consignment shops sell some unique and good quality clothing that can have another life with you. It’s recycling in its finest form! From Etsy to Depop, online shops are great options as well.
4. Support nonprofits dedicated to sustainable fashion
For example, Custom Collaborative aims to restructure the fashion industry by training women to become entrepreneurs, instead of remaining stuck in entry-level jobs with no opportunities for promotion. They focus on uplifting women of color and immigrant women, “whose labor constitutes the working capital of the fashion industry, [so they may] share in the wealth they create.” Custom Collaborative deals exclusively with repurposed and upcycled garments.
5. Swap, share, and donate your clothes
40% of people in the UK had a “COVID clearout”, flooding local thrift shops with donations in 2020. If your local charities or secondhand stores are accepting clothing donations, consider giving your clothes new life that way. Alternatively, you may want to sell online, give hand-me-downs to friends and family, or organize a clothing swap in your community. A swap may be just the thing to bring your community together after months of isolation. Just be sure your clothes are clean and sanitary first. Additionally, sharing items between family members is sustainable - as much as you might not want your little sister copying your style - it does help the planet to reuse garments in this way.
6. Leave fast fashion out of the post-pandemic world
Fast fashion is when cheap clothing is mass-produced, putting an incredible strain on garment workers and the environment. Learn more about why fast fashion is unsustainable here.
7. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Just because we’re returning to work, travel, and maskless outings does not mean we should return to unsustainable fashion. You can keep the comfortable style you cultivated during lockdown to go back to the office or to go out on the town. (Organic cotton is always classy and comfortable!) Don’t let yourself be pressured into dressing a certain way in order to fit in. Reach out to the stylists and community on Shuffle for tips and encouragement.
At the very beginning of the pandemic, Sara Maino, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia stated, “We are guests on this planet. The planet is going to stay, but we are guests. [...] Change has to be done.” The lockdowns may be easing up, but the climate crisis is still in full swing. The good thing is, the Shuffle app makes maintaining a sustainable wardrobe fun! Within the app are a community of people waiting to help you pick out timeless pieces, and rock what you’ve already got!