The NYLON Guide To Shopping Responsibly

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Shop smarter, save the planet

It’s not a new discovery that the fashion industry is having some pretty gnarly effects on our planet, from intense pollution to the harsh treatment of workers in developing countries. Being that we may not all see these effects in our own day-to-day lives, it can be pretty easy to turn the other cheek and continue buying from brands that are conveniently priced, like giant fast-fashion retailers.

We get it, with the influx of cute and trendy dresses and tops priced at $5 to $10 a pop, it can be hard to resist the temptation to not always be shopping. But really, you’re not only hurting the planet and subjecting others to awful working conditions, you’re also wasting your money on low-quality pieces that aren’t going to last you more than a couple of wears.

With that being said, just in time for fall (cue: sweater season), we put together a guide on how to shop responsibly, filled with tips on new ways to approach the way you buy clothes—whether it’s shopping from better, ethical brands or learning how to repurpose already existing pieces.

Your closet and the planet will thank you. Click through the gallery below to read on. 

Collage photos via Getty Images

Get educated
First things first, it’s important to get yourself educated and familiar with the reasons why a guide to shopping responsibly even needs to exist in the first place. What kind of negative effects is the fashion industry having on the planet? For starters, it’s polluting the Earth in pretty much every way possible, from water contamination and air pollution to overflowing landfills. Giant fast-fashion retailers are the biggest culprits, contributing to major environmental threats as well as awful conditions and absurd working hours in their factories, which are mostly located in undeveloped countries. 

For a more in-depth read on the negative impacts the fashion industry and how it can be changed, check out our story on the power millennials’ shopping habits have over the industry and do more research to learn even more.

Once you’re educated on the matter, we guarantee you’ll want to start changing your shopping habits. While the most obvious reason may be to just avoid major fast-fashion retailers altogether, there are other guidelines you should follow to ensure you’re being a responsible shopper.