As consumers, we are given the chance to purchase products that reflect our personal beliefs—let’s take a minute to appreciate how cool really that is. When choosing where to get our clothes, we have the opportunity to shape the fashion industry and, in turn, impact how clothes are made.

The sustainable fashion movement takes this idea and applies it to the items we often take for granted, including pieces that help us express ourselves and the art we live in.

When it comes to making conscious shopping decisions, it’s important to understand the basics. Shopping sustainably is a science and an art. Like the former, it takes knowledge and lots of research. And, like both, it’s definitely not easy. Here at Pildora, we want you to feel empowered when incorporating sustainable fashion into your lifestyle. Check out these Do’s and Don’ts to cover the bases of shopping sustainably.

The Do’s

  • Do understand the definition of sustainable fashion. The definition has been twisted and turned so many times we’ve lost count. But a steady rule of thumb is that it entails the process of changing the industry so that it takes into account the environmental, social and economic impacts of its businesses.
  • Do figure out which issues matter most to you. Think if you’d like to focus on the environmental, social or economic impacts your clothing can have. No one company is completely sustainable and is definitely not mastering all of these areas perfectly. The cool thing about sustainability is that it’s ever-changing and can always be enhanced—so, in a sense, the word “sustainable” isn’t even really sustainable.
  • Do spread the word. Sustainable fashion is still an extremely niche market. It needs all the attention it can get. Most people don’t understand the hype or don’t understand that shopping responsibly for clothes can be as easy as going to your local thrift shop or hosting a clothing swap with your girlfriends. One great initiative is the Fashion Revolution. This UK-based organization has chapters all around the world encouraging consumers to question brands on their ethics and policies. The hashtag Fashion Revolution has nearly 1 million mentions on Instagram with the simple aim of educating others about the impacts of fast fashion. The more pressure these brands feel from their customers, the more likely they are to disclose such information and (hopefully) improve their current practices.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t get down on yourself for shopping at “unsustainable” or fast fashion stores sometimes. Like we mentioned before, shopping sustainably is an art. Don’t get upset that you have to dip your ink outside the likes of popular sustainable brands. You can shop sustainably at both big and small brands, or even when not shopping at all (think hand-me-downs and recycling bins)! One great resource to find stores carrying sustainable clothing is the Good on You app and, very soon, our very own online boutique at Pildora. Know that building an ethical wardrobe takes time, but every little bit of change makes a difference.
  • Don’t fall for greenwashing. This is a fancy word for when companies mislead their customers on their environmental behavior so they look better. Be sure to research a brand claiming it’s eco-friendly or socially responsible. Ask them questions about their policies and working conditions. If they talk the talk, they better walk the walk.
  • Don’t think shopping more sustainably means shopping for more expensive items because, thankfully, there are great sustainable shops out there that won’t break the bank. Buying second hand, thrifting and swapping are also all great ways to lessen your footprint.

Remember, becoming a sustainable fashionista doesn’t happen overnight. Taking little steps and making small changes all contribute to real change. If enough people make these small changes, just imagine the difference the fashion industry can make for our planet and the people behind our clothes.