by Arwa Aburawa
There seems to be no foreseen resolution. We’re constantly battling our conscious with questions of whether organic, fair-trade or sweatshop-free clothing is more important. So, even though your new year’s resolution was to be more green, you’re left wondering if heading for the hills is your only realistic option. Well, don’t pack your camping gear just yet as I’ve put together some basic rules and nifty tricks that will save the fashion-conscious student money whilst flaunting truly individual style!
Ethical shopping just like any kind of shopping, it’s personal. Just because something is organic and fair-trade doesn’t mean that you have to buy it if you don’t need it. Within ethical shopping there is a wide range of causes which are supported and you have to decide which is important to you. If environmental damage and climate change is something that you’re passionate about, then seek out organic clothing with natural dyes and avoid plastic shopping bags. If you’re more concerned with workers rights, then Sweatshop-free clothing is what you’re after. You can find tons of local organisations that sell what you support at websites like Ethical Junction (www.ethical-junction.org).
The ethical shoppers mantra is reduce, reuse and recycle. So although the growing ethical market may be offering new and usually pricey world-saving products, it’s important to remember that not buying anything can be just as powerful. Avoiding massive stores when shopping is also important as these multi-corporations provide your bargains at human and environmental costs such as poorly paid, badly treated workers and nasty pollution.
Recycling clothes is one of the cheapest and most ethical ways to rejuvenate your cupboard and refresh stuff you already have. Charity shopping is the best way to stumble across really original, vintage items at a bargain price. If you’re having no luck in the city centre, my advice is to jump on a bus or train and visit charity shops further out.
Another way to recycle is to swap. Swapping clothes parties are a really fun way to meet up with friends and get some new stuff without spending a penny. All you need to do is bring along around 5 clean items and let the swapping begin. And if you’re worried that you and your friends are all different sizes just bring along other things like bags and jewelery to swap. Recycling uses up no new resources and you can support some really worthwhile causes along the way.