Sustainable shopping isn’t always easy, but this is something we need to do. In 2016, about 300,000 tonnes of clothing was binned, in the UK alone. Although the amount of clothing being sent to landfill has fallen by 14% from 2012, that is still a big amount of fashion waste and pollution.[Ref: The Guardian]  It is pretty perilous to the planet.  Sustainable shopping can help to decrease numbers of clothing out of landfill. By purchasing secondhand clothing, we can all help reduce fashion waste as well as the environmental impact. It’s simple, ethical, and trust me, it’s way more stylish!
Make a list

I think this is the essential part of doing sustainable shopping because we don’t want to buy anything that we don’t need. Always make a list to check what you are actually looking for and if there’s the same item in your wardrobe already.  The key to eco and sustainable shopping is more about consciousness and responsibility. A good attitude of responsible customers can make a big change.


There’s a lot of places offering a huge range of vintage clothing, it’s super easy to do vintage and sustainable shopping. In London, it’s so painless to spot a vintage clothing store near your neighborhood. My favorite place to hunt for vintage clothing is East London (of course!) From Brick Lane to Hackney Market. I can always enjoy a cup of tea nearby after shopping! Apart from trendy vintage stores, charity shops are another great option. TRAID is definitely my favorite charity! They aim to stop clothes from being thrown away. They raise their funds by reselling unwanted clothing and help to reduce the environmental and social impacts caused by fashion. They have their own boutique-like charity shops with awesome decor. Each piece was sorted and displayed as usual. They don’t just offer a large scale of clothing, but, shoes, homewares, accessories, and lingerie as well. Check it out for your next secondhand and vintage shop.

Sustainable Shopping

Size & Alteration

It’s impossible to change a size S dress to Size L. But don’t say to no to a dress that may be a bit too big for you, or has a tiny hole it. Bringing up a hem, shortening sleeves or simple repairing are super easy tasks for any tailor. A local tailor can be easily found and help you to fix it. It will only cost you an extra few pounds to do the alternation. If you know how to sew, that’s even better. There are many ways to fix and give secondhand clothing a new lease of life. I have found this useful link on Live Better: How to Mend on The Guardian. There are many methods provided for readers to learn how to fix different things instead of throwing them away. Why not get some tips from there! Please be aware that the old measurement of vintage clothing is not up to date anymore. Don’t trust the size labeling on the piece and It’s always better to try it on. In case you are shopping in a market, bringing a measuring tape is pretty helpful as well.

Label & Style

The first thing you would see on the label, surely, it’s the brand name, but there is more information you can learn from the label. Like where did it come from, what kind of fabric was used and even when it was created. Learning how to read a label can help you to find nice and suitable clothes. For example, many clothes that were made before or during the 60s were handmade items by many small family businesses. Sizing could be specific and a bit difficult to fit in. Polyester was commonly used during the 70s to 90s, with a mix of cotton, nylon and acrylic. It’s not too difficult to find vintage coats or jumpers that are made of wool or even some valuable material like mohair or cashmere. It’s a more eco way to give these old pieces a new life instead of buying a new one.

Also by understanding vintage style and trend, you can find and choose something valuable and exclusive. If you are a vintage fashion newbie, here’s some ideas for you to learn more about a particular style in a different era.

sustainable shopping

During the 40s, slack and boyish style became popular and more women were encouraged to go to work. Short Bolero jacket, white blouse and midi skirts were a classic look in the 1940s. After the war, people became a little bit more luxurious on fashion. It was so easy to find full-skirt with simple fabrics like cotton and gingham. Bold colour was used widely as well as wide belts. The 60s was all about innovation. Space age looks were created to celebrate the moon landing.

Boots in silver were definitely a key look for the 60s. Don’t forget the invention of mini skirts which allowed women to show off their beautiful legs. Between the end of the 60s to early 70s, the craze of hippie and bohemian style bloomed across the states. Kaftan, ethnic and folkloric style became the popular trend. In the late 70s, disco culture and fashion popped up. It was all about shiny, glittery and leopard skin pattern. Wide leg jeans and bandeau tops became extremely popular since then.

sustainable shopping

Last but not least, I recommend Vintage Fashion – Collecting and wearing designer classic by Emma Baxter-Wright for anyone who loves vintage fashion. This book concluded and collected useful information on style and history of fashion. It will definitely benefit you for the next vintage hunt!

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