Shopping with fast fashion friends

Author: Athina Cantle   Date Posted: 4 August 2017 

Shopping is often a social experience; a chance to catch up with mates who will honestly tell you whether you can pull off that canary yellow blazer or not.


But since joining the ranks of conscious consumer, you may find that walking into a mall does not provide the same joy that it used to. What was once a spontaneous exciting purchase is now prefaced with a session of 20 questions with the store assistant into manufacturing policies.

So how do you enjoy shopping with friends who haven't converted to a slow shopping strategy without feeling the urge to subject them to a lecture on the difference between minimum wage and living wage in the middle of the Burke Street Mall?

We always want what’s best for our loved ones, including the best threads. However, if your friends choose not to shop sustainability, remember they don’t mean to cause harm to anyone. Our behaviour as consumers isn’t just based around financial pressures, but also social expectations, environment, career, culture, upbringing, religion etc.

"I love their designs, but it’s a shame they aren’t a bit more transparent about their labour policies".

So if your response to, "Does my butt look big in this?" is usually "No, but you should really research the brand’s supply chain first", don’t be surprised if you’re met with an eye roll followed by a decline in invitations to hang out. It may be time for us to take a hint and gently nudge our loved ones into the movement through leading by example instead.

Just because you choose to no longer support a particular label doesn’t mean you can’t window shop socially. Instead of projecting negativity surrounding your mate's choices, be subtle and comment more along the lines of, "I love their designs, but it’s a shame they aren’t a bit more transparent about their labour policies". 

This plants the seed in their mind and normalises conscious consumerism without dampening the day. Use the trip to search for outfit inspiration, taking photos of the pieces you love along the way. Suggest refuelling at a nearby cafe where you can enlist your friend to assist you in finding similar pieces through your favourite ethical online stores.

It’s also a great idea to include them in the sustainable shopping conversation. Use social media to tag your friend in posts by brands you love demonstrating the way their clothing is made and let them know you would love to check out the store together. 

Educate your mates on the ethical fashion movement by inviting them to events with like-minded consumers such as Peppermint magazine’s Pep-talks or the Socially Conscious Showcase recently in Perth.  Or take a break from window shopping and invite your loved ones to watch The True Cost with you or gift them a copy of The Curated Closet (or one of the many titles on sustainability and style). 

Lastly, and most importantly, scream the love you feel for your clothes to the world. Forget tall poppy syndrome and be confident in your threads; this is the world's best advertisement for sustainable style and your friends will notice. 

Be patient with fast fashion friends. It’s a status we have all worn at some stage. If they are really struggling to come around, we’re sure the gift of Outland Denim will get them on the right track.