Just because Earth Day has passed does not mean that we should stop thinking about ways we can live more sustainably. Fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to pollution, contaminates water, funds sweatshops and promotes poor working conditions. With all that being said, it is time for all of us to change our habits and find ways we can help the environment. Read on for a few tips to help you get started!

First off, becoming more educated on the practices of your favorite brands is an important step. The Fashion Transparency Index is a study released each year that scores 250 brands on five different categories—Policy & Commitments, Governance, Traceability, Know, Show & Fix and Spotlight issues. The answers at times are shocking, but no doubt will open your eyes to the practices of some of the most popular brands out there. In 2020, brands like Adidas and H&M came out on top while, brands like Tom Ford and Canada Goose came out in the bottom 5 percent. Transparency from brands is incredibly important and many favorite brands drop the ball on this. If we want to put a stop to fast fashion and poor business practices, we must hold brands accountable for their actions.

Fast fashion and single-wear clothing— the pieces you buy just to wear for a night out, or for that cute Instagram pic — go together like peanut butter and jelly, but have terrible effects on the world. One of the easiest ways to get started with sustainable fashion is to become more mindful of what you are purchasing. Take inventory of what items you already have at the start of each season and only buy what you need from there. Basic clothing pieces that can travel through any season with you will help to keep purchasing new items at a minimum. If you do need to purchase clothing for a formal event, or you want to get some cute trendy pieces, sustainable brands are the way to go. Happy Earth, Girlfriend Collective and H&M’s sustainable line might not be as inexpensive as fast fashion brands, but are sure to keep you looking fashionable without the same negative impact on the environment.

Another great way to combat fast fashion is to shop locally and thrift! By shopping locally, you are fighting big business practices and helping to support people in your own community. Tesorina Boutique, Mabel D. Orr Fashion Boutique and Stephen’s Vintage Clothing are located in Downtown Binghamton and have a great selection for any and all styles. Instead of your money being poured into large corporations, it’ll go toward feeding their family, paying for baseball cleats, sneakers and school supplies. Not only is it important to be mindful of what you are purchasing, but also where your money is going. By shopping small, you’ll be able to do just that! Mabel D. Orr Fashion Boutique and Stephen’s Vintage Clothing are both vintage stores that allow you to obtain unique pieces while supporting small businesses. Instead of shopping at companies like Goodwill, look for local thrift stores that allow you to be sustainable and put your money toward your community.