Buying Better

5 Tips for shopping smarter

By Lucy Siegle

#1 Will you wear it 30 times?

The rapid turnover of trends characterising Fast Fashion means clothes are disposable. Along with the deflation of clothing prices this has put the supply chain under unprecedented pressure leading directly to outrages like Rana Plaza and Tazreen (the 2012 Dhaka fashion factory fire that killed over 100).  Just asking yourself if you will wear a prospective item 30 times is a great place to start shopping smarter and more intentional.

#2 Break the cycle:

The traditional spring/summer autumn/winter of international fashion weeks is just for show. Zara, the Spanish fast fashion behemoth broke the mold, introducing mini seasons every week. 50-100 new micro seasons a year is the new normal. So slow down your fashion cycle.

#3 Spread your fashion $:

The global fashion industry is worth $2.5 trillion. Shouldn’t this be shared? Look for producer centric brands like People Tree run to rigorous Fairtrade standards with longstanding producer groups who get a fair share of the profits.

#4 Detox your wardrobe:

Fashion is the world’s second most polluting industry after oil. Notably, Azodyes are still the most used synthetic dyes despite being toxic. 10% of the world’s biggest fashion brands have committed to phasing out toxic substances through Greenpeace’s Detox programme. Check the list here.

#5 Join the Fashion Revolution:

Be the change you want to see in your wardrobe (to paraphrase Gandhi). Fashion Revolution ( represents millions of consumers who want change and also commemorates Rana Plaza by putting pressure on the brands to increase transparency and empowers consumers to be inquisitive about #whomadetheirclothes.

Brands we love

These are a few brands who are working in different ways for a more sustainable and transparent fashion industry.

Further Learning

Barbara Briggs on why consumers matter.

Maxine Bédat on social business.

Stella McCartney on sustainable fashion.