ethical shopping tips

How To Build An Ethical Wardrobe From Scratch #2

ethical shopping tips

The second part of my series on how to build an ethical wardrobe is advice on resisting consumerism.  There’s no point setting a goal to only shop ethically if you can’t recognise and remove those fast fashion impulses from your life.

It’s not wrong to want or need things, but what if you want to be more immune to fast fashion consumerism?

Now, I agree, it is difficult to be immune to consumerism.  I’m sure we’ve all been there.  You know, it’s a Friday evening, the kids are in bed, you’ve got a glass of wine, and you get an email from a shop saying they’re having a massive sale.  Before you know it you’ve got a parcel winging it’s way to you.

How do you stop this?  My advice is try to remove all temptation from your life:

Unsubscribe from mailings from fast-fashion shops

It’s no coincidence that emails from fast fashion retailers often arrive around pay day, or at the weekend – so remove the temptation at the source.

Maybe you get emails from fast fashion shops because you bought something once and now you’re on a shop’s mailing list.  Maybe you signed up once to get 10% off your next order and never got round to unsubscribing.  However you ended up on the mailing list, hit that unsubscribe button every time an email comes in!

If unsubscribing to every email sounds like too much work then use a email service to make your life easier.  I’ve used, which finds out exactly which newsletters you’re subscribed to and offers an easy one one click unsubscribe option to all the ones you don’t want to be subscribed to.  I can’t sing it’s praises highly enough.

Using I’ve unsubscribed from all the fast fashion shops that had me on their mailing lists.  I then created a dedicated folder where I’ve set all the subscriptions from all my favourite small, ethical and independent shops to be filtered into.  I can then look at those emails when I want to, but they’re not in my face as soon as I open my inbox of a morning or evening.

It’s pretty refreshing not to be constantly bombarded with  “shop now” and “50% off today only” emails and removes so much temptation from my life.

The same goes for the catalogues that pop through your letterbox.  I wrote a post what feels like a million years ago on how to stop junk mail that may be of assistance to you.

Stop buying glossy fashion magazines

These magazines are all about trends and just breed consumerism.

Added benefit?  You’ll save £££’s!  Say an average magazine costs £6 and you buy 3 a month.  That’s £216 a year saved straight off.  This isn’t including the potential savings you’ll make on buying clothes just because they looked good on the model in the magazine or because the magazine said an item was in fashion.

And another added bonus: life feels a whole lot better without constantly reading articles telling you to have a bikini body, or all the other negative body image crap that these magazines peddle.  Nobody needs that negativity in their life.

Unfollow fast fashion blogs/instagram accounts

I used to read some fast fashion blogs (or rather, blogs that became fast fashion blogs) and follow a few Instagram accounts that became fast fashion-y.  I realised these blogs and accounts were making me feel bad about my life, and made me want to buy more stuff.  Unfollowing them took away the temptation to buy stuff because I’d seen bloggers wearing the latest trends and made me enjoy blogging a whole lot more.

Instead try replacing these blogs with sustainable fashion blogs.  Some of my favourites include Style WiseTortoise & Lady Grey, Sustainably Chic and Sustainability In Style, and there are heaps more waiting to be discovered.

I’ll be back soon with the next installment – in the mean time I hope this has given you some food for thought!

PS: the first part in this series is here if you missed it.


  1. I love this series, and really agree with number 1. But I like magazines and instagram for inspiration, and am fine with taking it for what it is; inspiration. If I find a style I like, I will go the extra mile to find a fair alternative, so I can still look stylish, within my values.
    But sales emails – go away ;)

  2. I’ve just used on your recommendation and wow! What a game changer! Although I didn’t subscribe to look of fashion things, I did have a lot of newsletters re. homeware and it feels really good to know that I won’t be tempted anymore.

    Thanks for all the great blog recommendations too, I’m on my way over to them now! S x

  3. I recently decided to cleanse my emails as I was getting so many emails that came in and I just deleted. So the unsubscribe button gets pressed every time something comes in that I don’t need. With specific regard to fast fashion, I do think this is really helpful and it means less emails cluttering your mind/day.

    I will definitely be checking out those blogs for inspiration. In addition, I’m starting to need some maternity clothes and so scouring ebay and charity shops for 2nd hand items in a bid not to fund the fast fashion industry! (ps liked your maternity clothing blog post from a while back)

  4. Thanks for the mention Wendy! The feeling is mutual :)

    Great tips too. I wasn’t really into blogs and mailing lists, so it isn’t a tip that I had even thought of!
    I am a big fan of magazines, but I gave up glossy fashion magazines about 7 years ago because I was sick of the advertising. (That was even before I knew about sustainable fashion) Some fantastic magazine alternatives are:
    1. Peppermint Magazine from Australia, full of inspiring ethical and sustainable fashion (if not for that magazine, I may not have started my sustainable fashion journey)
    2. Flow from the Netherlands (I think), it is about joyful, creative, mindful living with an appreciation for beauty in imperfection
    3. Simple Living from the UK, about reconnecting with the simple pleasures of life and stepping off the treadmill of consumerism and overwork
    4. Collective Hub magazine from Australia (but stocked all over the world), although this is glossy, and does contain some famous fashion faces, the magazine is actually written to inspire female entrepreneurs and changemakers. There is plenty to inspire you to dream big, and shake the world. They have numerous articles on social entrepreneurs so it is wonderful inspiration
    5. Womankind magazine (from Australia), a gorgeous magazine that is completely advertising-free. It contains poetry, art, history, philosophy and everything in between.

    I love magazines, and won’t give them up. But there are wonderful alternatives to the mainstream status quo.

    Does anyone else have any other recommendations?


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