Sustainable fashion is difficult to define. Nothing is sustainable when it's impulse purchased in mass quantities and never worn. For fashion to be sustainable, it needs to be slow.
When a piece of clothing has minimal impact on our ecosystem, it's usually thought of as sustainable.
If the person who made it was working in harmful conditions for long periods of time, or the item costs next to nothing and it’s made from cheap materials like polyester or nylon, it is not classed as sustainable (unless it's second-hand and purchased with the intention of long term wear).
Now that people are cottoning on to just how bad fast fashion really is, a lot of fast fashion brands are making a minimal effort to be sustainable and using it as a sales tactic to appeal to eco-conscious shoppers.
We’ve done our research and we’re not falling for any greenwashing here- keep reading so we can show you how to avoid greenwashing too.
If there’s one thing the greenwashers can’t get their hands on, it’s second-hand clothes.
Most of the time, if you need something new, shopping on Depop, Vinted or in charity shops is a good idea. Keeping fashion circular is what it’s all about. However, even though second-hand clothing is usually 100% ethical, there are some things to be careful with.
A second-hand purchase needs to be thought through just as much as when you’re buying something new. If you’re consuming something you don’t need, whether it’s second-hand or not, this is not sustainable.
Think before you buy. Follow our 5 steps to ordering items you won’t want to return if you’re in doubt.
The eternal debate: are marketplaces sustainable by default? We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the answer is no.
Pretty Little Thing announced that they were releasing a marketplace in summer 2022.
People jumped to defend the fast fashion brand suggesting that doing ‘something’ was better than nothing. We get it, but if you’re shopping from Pretty Little Thing’s Marketplace you are still funding a business that has been accused of modern day slavery and unsafe working conditions.
We could go on for hours about sustainable fashion vs fast fashion, which is why we started our Brand Impact series. We’ve taken a deep dive into Zara, Shein and Boohoo so you can understand how unsustainable they are.
Buying clothes made from ethical materials is also a good way to ensure you’re doing your bit for the planet. Polyester is basically indestructible, so we suggest avoiding it at all costs. Ethically made materials include linen, bamboo, organic/recycled cotton, ECONYL®, cork, deadstock and hemp.
Often eco-friendly clothes are made from cork or even seaweed. Science is really doing the most, so there’s no excuse not to shop sustainably where you can if you have the means.
When brands come out with eco conscious collections made from recycled materials, often only a small percentage of the item is actually made from recycled materials, such as the inner lining. Read the label carefully to find out just how much of the garment is actually made of reusable materials.
What about vegan leather and faux fur? Often vegan alternatives are not the most sustainable due to the fact they are made up of non biodegradable materials. It depends where your values lie: with animal rights or with climate change? Obviously, both are important, but when it comes to vegan leather, you have to make the choice.
If you're looking for a leather jacket or new leather boots, we suggest buying second-hand leather. This is a sustainable option as the leather has already been purchased, you are not directly funding the animal industry.
As well as this, real leather tends to last longer and is not made up of harmful chemicals (just cow skin, lovely). For the full scoop, click here to read our article ‘How Sustainable is Vegan Leather’ to find out more about faux fur and vegan leather.
A fail safe way to shop sustainably is simply buying clothes you genuinely love and you'll wear to death. This is something Alex Leach talks about in his book The World is on Fire but We're Still Buying Shoes. Even if you're buying second-hand clothes or renting, actually wearing the piece is the most sustainable thing you can do.
It makes the labour, love and resources that went into the garment worth-while.
It’s not just your consumption patterns you can change to be more sustainable, how you dress is important too. That’s where we come in.
Whering makes sustainable fashion easier than ever, providing you with a digital inventory of everything you own so you can browse your own wardrobe - think online shopping but with things you’ve already bought (it’s more cost effective too).
Whering is the clueless inspired wardrobe app making your sustainable fashion journey easy. Use our Dress Me feature to get that newness fix we so desperately crave from your own wardrobe.
Our outfit shuffle feature is inspired by Cher Horowitz’ outfit making machine (from the iconic 90s film Clueless). You’ll see your clothes being shuffled in the palm of your hands before being presented with a stunning new outfit combination from your own wardrobe.
When you go through everything you own and upload items to Whering you’ll notice how the app helps you get to grips with your wardrobe and your style. Wardrobe gaps become obvious.
You can see what you own too much of and what items you're actually missing- so you can make informed purchases of things you actually need. Rather than buying another black top you’ll never actually wear. Whering helps you know what you need more of and what items will unlock more outfit possibilities.
Ever wondered how much your clothes cost per wear? We’re no Isaac Newton, but we’re doing the maths for you. Seeing how much it costs to wear each item is a great indicator into how good of an investment it was. You’ll have a clear gauge of what styles are worth buying in the future so you can curb impulse and unnecessary purchases.
When you upload an item to Planner and assign it to a particular day, we work out how much the item costs per wear. It’s so much more motivating to repeat outfits when you can see how much money you’re saving! Come check out how much it costs to repeat your fave outfit. The more you love it, the less it costs.
We live in a culture where it’s becoming normal to buy clothes just for a one time event or an Instagram post, and throw them away after. For fashion to become completely sustainable, the buy-use-dispose model needs to stop.
According to a New York Times study, most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe. Another survey showed on average people wear clothing just 7 times before deeming it “old”. These statistics highlight the root of the problem. The most sustainable thing we can do is wear what we already own to make the energy and labour that went into making the piece worth it.
Want to see how you compare to the average person and try to be better? To see an accurate % of how much of your clothes you’re actually wearing, track your outfits daily in Planner. We do the rest.
Head to your stats and you’ll be able to see how well you’re utilising what you own. This could be the wake up call you need to start your sustainable fashion journey or the confirmation you’re on the right track that you wanted to see. Thank us later.
Are you looking to fill wardrobe gaps but you’re not sure where to start? It’s okay to buy new clothes when you actually need them. That being said, it’s still super important to make sure you’re buying items you love when possible from sustainable or independent businesses that pay their workers a fair living wage.
The Whering Marketplace makes it super easy to find hot new sustainable pieces. We’ve collated a range of vintage and preloved looks, along with ethically made clothing from our partners, so you don’t have to scour the web to find sustainable and stylish fashion.
All we ask is that you think carefully before buying and trust that the item will become an asset to your wardrobe. Now that you’ve got your wardrobe in the palm of your hand, there’s no excuse for impulse buying. We're watching you...👀
Discover pre-loved luxury, vintage and ethical brands all in one place, the Whering Marketplace. If you’re new to preloved fashion, don’t worry we’ve got all the information you need.
People always ask: are preloved clothes actually better for the environment? The answer is simple: yes they are! Circular fashion leads to less production and waste.
Why should we produce thousands of new clothes every day when we already have enough in circulation for everyone to have enough clothing? We’ve been conditioned to believe we need more clothes all the time.
On average, Americans now buy a piece of clothing every 5 days. As you can tell, we’re prone to over-consume, so making the most of what we already own as a collective (by buying second-hand) is the way forward.
Second-hand purchases need to be thought through, even though they have a lower impact on the environment than first hand clothes. It’s simple to figure out if you actually need something, or like something enough to buy it - ask yourself if you’d still consider buying it if it was double the price? If the answer is no, maybe you don’t need to buy it right now.
Finding quality items worth investing in is also half the battle of shopping second-hand. The Whering Marketplace makes it easier than ever to find quality vintage clothing.
The stigma around second-hand clothing has led so many people to believe that preloved fashion is worse quality than brand new items.
Fast fashion is far worse quality than vintage clothes made years ago. Before trends and fast fashion really took off, clothes were made to last as long as possible.
Anyone can afford good quality clothing when shopping second-hand. Whether you are shopping Beyond Retro for unbranded vintage, or Vestiaire Collective (both on Whering) for your pre-loved Gucci luxury goods, there is an affordable second hand option out there- no matter your budget.
If you’re still of the opinion that second-hand clothing is unhygienic, we don’t know what to tell you. It’s 2023 and no one should turn their nose up at charity shop clothing. Dragons Den icon (no, not our founder Bianca Rangecroft) Deborah Meaden has revealed that she shops in charity shops proving it really is for everyone, no matter your financial situation.
You can find quality preloved clothing on the Whering Marketplace brought to you by our partner brands, Vestiaire Collective, LAMPOO and Beyond Retro, handpicked by our editors.
Shop preloved luxury from certified sellers and discover the beauty of second-hand clothing, first hand (pun intended).
Create your OOTD on Whering now. Download for free: