Since breaking up with fast fashion a couple of years ago, I haven’t really looked back. Aside from underwear (I’m working on that part), I pretty much avoid the high street entirely. I really thought I would miss it and, other than the odd temptation from Uniqlo U, it’s been much easier than I thought. The thing I was worried about the most was finding affordable alternatives for my more sustainable lifestyle. Because for years and years, the narrative around fast fashion has been that it is the democratic and more affordable choice.
But when I stopped to think about the number of times I’ve had to re-buy something because it had fallen apart, versus the pieces I had bought vintage or saved up for, it didn’t actually feel like I was saving that much. For example, I had bought a pair of gold hoops from the high street, on repeat at least seven times because they turn green. At £10, I could’ve bought one pair at £70 that don’t fall apart after six months. I also considered how much I was spending. Two tops in Zara often set me back about £80, which is actually quite a lot. In looking at some of my favourite small, ethical brands, there wasn’t actually a huge price difference.
So here is how I’ve figured out to how avoid fast fashion affordably, which has been especially difficult when most charity shops are closed intermittently this year (although, hot tip, Oxfam online is full of treasures!). Of course, it is important to recognise that not everyone can quit fast fashion, and more sustainable, affordable options need to be available to all and in all sizes. But these are some of my tips that have helped me and I think will get you started if you just don’t know where to begin.
To the non-believers, I am here to convince you of the wonders that is eBay. How do I love eBay? Let me count the ways. In fact, I am writing to you while wearing a pair of Ugg boots I found on eBay for £10. To those asking, yes, it’s the best thing I ever did. Over the course of the last year, I’ve not only found some amazing pieces at great prices, but I’ve also saved up for more expensive designer pieces by selling less-used clothes in my wardrobe.