With the surge of online shopping due to lockdown restrictions, many students are experiencing a moral dilemma, as access to affordable and sustainable online shops appear almost non-existent.
It appears as though the only options available online are between saving money by ordering from an unethical company, or spending ridiculous amounts to help the environment. As students, the latter option is definitely not maintainable, and so it feels like there’s no choice but to purchase from immoral retailers like Primark or Zara.
However, despite the need for more affordable and sustainable retailers, there’s still many options which are accessible on a budget.
The app Good on You contains a huge index of sustainable and ethical fashion brands, while also rating labels you may regularly shop in. By providing an “ethical score” ranging from not good enough to great, alongside a price score, it allows you to find an affordable shop that is also environmentally friendly.
The app also holds sections for each type of clothing item and accessory, with extensive lists of brands to choose from.
I’ve found this app so helpful, especially when trying to save money. It barely takes a few minutes to find sustainable brands.
Through it, I have discovered some of my favourite brands, such as Honest basics (they do the comfiest joggers), Uniqlo, and Monki.
The app does also show how many brands are still not good enough – there definitely needs to be more done by brands to become more sustainable.
Opting to use charity shops online not only helps those struggling under the current lockdown restrictions, but also helps the environment through purchasing second-hand products – and it’s not as awkward to do as you might expect. The British Red Cross have an ASOS marketplace shop and an EBay charity shop, while Barnados have an online shop on their website.
Fashion for Change provide a vast amount of clothes, with profits going to many different charities.
Furthermore, second hand apps like Depop and Vinted are a great alternative, providing such cheap options, while also providing ways to sell your old clothes.
Too Good to Go is an app that has reduced-price food from many restaurants and cafes that would otherwise be thrown away.
It helps reduce food waste, and is so handy for students looking for a takeaway or food shop at a heavily discounted price. Many University venues have now opted into this app, so you can get left over selections from places like the Piazza, or Vanbrugh dining.
It’s like getting a goody bag of food, as you don’t know what you’ll be getting.
With the rise of the social media influencer, the pressure to own many different outfits is increasing. So, a simple method to help shop sustainably is by shopping less!
It may sound obvious but if everyone only purchased what they know they needed and would wear for a long time, it would greatly decrease demand for fast fashion industries and individual carbon footprints.
A survey conducted by the Guardian showed that one in three women consider garments worn once or twice old, and with three out of five fast fashion items ending up in a landfill, it is definitely essential to purchase less.