It seems more and more that every time we enter a store or scroll through our instagram newsfeed we face the dilemma of how to shop sustainably. As the growing trend for green fashion rises, so does the opportunity for businesses to market to you based on these interests. But how do you really know the difference between a green lifestyle and just plain greenwashing? Here are some simple tips and tricks from us here to navigate the sustainable world and make your shopping habits twice as nice!

First things first. What really IS a sustainable product?

Plain and simple, a sustainable product provides benefits for the environment, society and the economy. It is a product that is transparent from start to finish. Sustainable products are made within fair working conditions. They are products which materials have been ethically sourced. A sustainable product is aware of its impact on the climate and takes steps to reduce said impact.

What is Fast Fashion?

To identify this, let’s first take a look at what is not sustainable. The fast-fashion model foundation is cheap manufacture to sell vast quantities of low-cost profits to make a profit. In order to encourage consumer consumption, the companies convince the customer that they need the latest product. That their life will be improved by acquiring the latest product. That in order to be trendy/happy, the perpetual buying of low value, fast-moving products is a necessary commitment.

Nobody is Perfect Though!

However, we know that we are not perfect and that sometimes, fast-fashion or low-cost homewares are necessary for the budget. All we really wish is that instead of impulse purchasing, we ourselves can look at what we really need, want, and is within our means. If we buy five cheap pairs of jeans that only last a few months each, perhaps it is better to save our money to put it towards one pair of higher quality jeans that last a lifetime.

So now that we know what is NOT sustainable, how about we start trying to navigate how we can shop with a difference!

Prioritise Buying Clothes Made From Natural Fibres

We are kicking things off nice and simple. Look at the material! How easy is that? It’s the simplest place to begin. Get to know your natural fibres: cotton, linen, tencel, rayon. Avoid synthetics where possible. Natural fibres are naturally breathable, naturally comfortable and when we care for them, they can last a lifetime. Chances are you are within reach of Australian makers around you who are devoting their practice to ethically sourced natural fibres. We love supporting local and we love it twice as much when they are using the good stuff!

Our lovely hand painted dot skirt, screen printed in Melbourne on natural linen.

“Will This Make Me Happy?”

In today’s society, it’s easy to get caught up in impulse buying. We want to imitate that look on our favourite icon, had a great idea for a party outfit but the budget is low. Enter: Fast Fashion. Cheap, easy, reliable. But try to be aware of this. Ask yourself some simple questions where possible. Will this make me happy? Will I wear it more than once? Is it entering my wardrobe as a staple? Will seeing this in my living space make me smile? If you answered yes to these, then we are all on the same team. Do what makes you happy!

Do The Research

I know, I know. This is one that can take time. But it can be a very useful tool to understand how the fashion and homewares industries operate. Being well-versed in fair working conditions, ethical sourcing and transparency of the brand is a great way to be an efficient shopper. If they tick all your boxes, you can tick that checkout sign! But again, I know this is a daunting task.

Here are some easy ways to check about the brand you might wish to purchase from:

  • Familiarise yourself with the company and their transparency in the chain of production (how it is made)
  • Find standards or certifications you want your product to meet
  • Find apps or websites that rate certain brands… this does all the hard work for you!
  • Follow sustainable blogs and social media accounts where they only endorse brands that do good!
  • Confused? Reach out and ask the brand! A simple email is all it takes

Choose Second Hand Where Possible

My personal favourite! Who can deny the pleasure of taking a day to yourself, with friends, family or a loved one and finding your perfectly unique piece in a second hand store! Many items are made to last a lifetime, and sadly this is not always the case. By buying secondhand we can give these products a new life and add your very own one-off piece to your style.

I know we hear this often, but spend enough time getting to know your local charity or thrift stores and I guarantee you will find something perfect for you! Not to forget as well, if you are handing with a needle and thread, think about all the creations you can make revamping and revitalising secondhand garments! This one is definitely a fun one, so make a day of it if you like and see what you can find!

Be Familiar With Your Wardrobe

For many of us, myself included, the morning can begin with “I don’t know what to wear!” Or the common catchphrase “I have nothing to wear!” This is difficult for me, but when I get ready in the morning I always try to familiarise myself with what I own. Enter the capsule wardrobe!

By keeping a small but vibrant wardrobe and rotating favourites in and out, it can be easy to ensure you never grow tired of the same thing and if you do…sub it out! This is a wonderful trick as well to get creative with what you already own as well. Try that combination you never thought would work… you might just be pleasantly surprised!

A little effort here and there goes a long way!

Bonus Points! We always try to remember our reusable shopping bag or tote bag.

Just because we’re purchasing doesn’t mean we need to take our purchase home in a useless piece of plastic!

Nobody is perfect, and we understand that buying ethically and sustainable is not always the easiest option for many. The simplest way we can try to do good is to maintain awareness of what is happening in the industry, and how we can put our money into things with good ethics and the kind of business chain we can support. That’s where we at Bowerbird try to begin.

We hope you enjoyed this blog! If you want to know more about Bowerbird and how we aim to reduce our environmental impact to provide the perfect, lifelong product for you check out our blog post on just that!

Until next time xx