Affordable ethical fashion is not an oxymoron.

One of the more common complaints I receive about ethical or socially conscious fashion is how expensive it is. “I can get a t-shirt for $5 at <insert store here> why would I pay $70?!?!” or “Does affordable ethical fashion even exist?”

I get it. For people on a budget, and even for a lot of people who aren’t, an item with a large price point will not be an option. Even if it means sacrificing style, quality, and time. However, with just a little bit of planning, you can actually save money shopping consciously.

1. Quality

While items that are more expensive might be difficult to swallow at first, in the long run, you’ll be saving lots of money because quality items that are built to last will not need to be replaced as often (if ever!). It’s worth it, in my opinion, to wait and save up for a quality item than buy a new one every year because its worn. A caveat – just because it’s more expensive, doesn’t mean its better quality, or ethically made. It’s also worth a little bit of research.

2. Buy Less

Ultimately, a lot of people find that they end up spending less overall because they buy less. Once you get into this “less is more” or minimalist mindset generated by sustainability and ethical concepts, you’ll realize its easier and more fiscally responsible to just buy less stuff. Even if you buy more expensive items, buying one sweater vs. 12, will save you money, especially in the long run.

3. Sell/Buy Secondhand

Now this is one of my best kept secrets. Did you know that you can EARN money living a conscious lifestyle? Every year, billions of items of clothing needlessly end up in the landfill. Many donation centers are overwhelmed by our excess and throw it all in a dumpster (#truestory). With the modern age of online shopping, you can easily, and I mean EASILY, sell your gently used clothing on thredup.com or Facebook Marketplace, and earn money for your clothing budget. I also shop secondhand as well, which saves me a TON of money. Talk about affordable ethical fashion!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just remember that the most ethical and socially conscious clothes are the ones ALREADY living in your closet. So wear those proudly, and take the rest one shirt at a time.

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