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How to shop sustainably on a student budget

The Croft Magazine // Annabel Ditchfield shares her top tips for shopping sustainably on a student budget.

By Annabel Ditchfield, Second year History

The Croft Magazine // Annabel Ditchfield shares her top tips for shopping sustainably on a student budget.

It's no secret the effects of fashion on the environment are severe. Poor manufacturing methods and high levels of transport mean that the fashion industry is responsible for a whopping 10% of the world's annual carbon emissions. Thus, giving the fashion industry a greater carbon footprint than all international flights and shipping combined. Furthermore, the fashion industry creates substantial amounts of waste as clothing is dumped in landfill sites or burned once it is no longer wanted. According to Greenpeace, £140 million worth of unwanted clothing is transported to landfill sites each year in the UK alone.

We are all guilty of contributing to this; continually buying new clothes and striving to be in-line with the season's latest trends. It's an easy trap to fall into after all since the devastating effects of the fashion industry on the environment are largely invisible to the buyer. Luckily, sustainable fashion is on the up. Sustainable shopping is often given a bad name for being 'too expensive', which, can often be off-putting for the consumer. But I assure you that after reading the following tips, you will be dying to get on board with sustainable shopping, as there is always a way, even on a student budget!

  1. Shop second-hand

Shopping second-hand is a great way to restock your wardrobe on a budget and at the same time bring back life to old clothes. Bristol is full of great charity and vintage shops. Try Cancer Research UK on Gloucester Road or Rhubarb Jumble in Bedminster for lots of quality pieces at low prices. But if you're currently in isolation, or find it easier to browse from the comfort of your own home, shopping on apps such as Depop and Vestiaire Collective are great ways to find pre-loved items.

Bristol's best second-hand shops

Epigram/Morgan Collins

2.  Avoid fast fashion brands

Fashion Fashion brands mass-produce cheap, poorly made cheap clothes. Often, they use unsustainable materials and produce large amounts of waste. Steer clear of companies who manufacture multiple collections per year and instead try to buy one good quality garment from an eco-conscious brand that will last you a long time.

Style opinion | Fast fashion and the social media influencer: a toxic combination?

Epigram/Morgan Collins

3.  Look out for sustainable brands

To work out where to shop, download an app such as Good On You, which will provide you with a brand's sustainability rating. Look out for brands which are committed to producing a few small collections per year and use sustainable manufacturing methods, for example, the brand which popularised that fur trim cardigan that everyone on Instagram has been obsessed with the autumn/winter - House of Sunny. Although slightly more expensive than your average fast-fashion brand, buying one high-quality item will likely save you money in the long run.

House of Sunny 'Day Tripper' cardigan - Epigram/Lucy Broome

So, there you have it - my top tips for shopping sustainably on a budget. But also, don't forget about the existing clothes in your wardrobe and to re-wear them in different ways to create new looks, as the cheapest and most sustainable clothes are the ones you already own!

Featured image: Epigram/Morgan Collins

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