Our world is more connected than ever.  We buy clothes and cosmetics, computers and appliances, toys and tech made by people and with resources from all round the planet.   What we choose to buy connects us to all those people and all those places and can be a force for social and environmental good, or ill, world-wide.

Anything we buy uses resources and energy and creates some sort of pollution in the making, shipping, and shopping, and in the eventual recycling or disposal. But buying stuff also creates jobs and provides livelihoods, and having some stuff makes life better.

Throw-away fashion and upgrade-culture tech are the epitome of what we can’t keep doing.  They exploit people and resources and add to pollution and carbon emissions. Oh… and, spoiler alert, the happiness doesn’t last!  So the choices here are about which things to buy for maximum pleasure while minimising pollution and providing good, non-exploitative livelihoods.

buy preloved, buy quality

Second hand needs to be the first choice; we must value stuff with a past.  And when we have to buy new, let’s buy high quality stuff that lasts longer so we don’t need so much of it.

buy less, share more

sharing things from hedge trimmers to party dresses means that stuff doesn’t just lie around unloved or unused, and it’s good for friendship and community too.

care and repair

look after your high quality stuff, and repair it rather than throwing it away or replacing it.

re-use, repurpose, recycle

be inventive and take pleasure in finding news ways of using old things. And whan all else fails, recycle.

greener stuff ideas for your Change List

5 year fashion rule?

It’s absolutely clear that we’ve got to shift to quality not quantity. It’s going to be an upheaval for the fashion industry that is built on making you think that last year’s clothes are passé, but next time you’re clothes shopping why not look for something that will last in...

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Go vintage online

If rootling about in the local charity shop is not your thing there is a growing number of online vintage stores. Oxfam have put all their vintage clothes online with profits going to the charity. Beyond Retro has been growing since 2002 and has a website that is packed with...

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goodbye co-ordination blues

I heard a high-end fashion journalist on the radio recently saying he now buys all his clothes in blues and greys so that everything goes with everything. Goodbye co-ordination anxiety, hello smaller wardrobe, easier packing for travelling, a new greener aesthetic, and more money to spend on fewer, higher quality...

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Best sustainable fabrics?

Can anyone help on this one? We know that cotton uses vast amounts of water and pesticides in its production, even organic cotton uses lots of water. So can petrochemical fabrics ever be environmentally better? Some artificial fabrics are very long lasting and dry fast saving energy on clothes drying....

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