How can I buy less and save money when it comes to clothes and fashion?

22 May 2023
3 min read
Clothes swap party to buy less

Fashion weeks across the world might be high points on the global fashion calendar but micro collections and fast fashion isn’t great news for the planet.

Fashion weeks from London to Sydney used to herald plenty of private jets on tarmacs across the world as billions of air miles were clocked assembling the great and the good from the fashion globe. But thankfully, things have changed and while lots of fashion labels are looking at their eco credentials and going greener, you don’t have to have deep pockets when it comes to green fashion.

Buy less

We’ve all got items in our wardrobes we bought on a whim but never wear.

It sounds incredibly obvious but simply buying less can make a huge difference to the harm fashion consumption does to our planet. I think we’ve all got items in our wardrobes we maybe bought on a whim or look at but never wear and it turns out, researchers in Germany think we should all be purchasing less. While it might take a while to get into the habit, buying less will help our wallets and the planet too.

Researchers from Berlin’s Hot Or Cool Institute found that we should only be purchasing no more than five new items of clothing a year in order to stay in line with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C. 

In the UK that means shoppers will need to reduce their consumption by up to 80 percent.

Listen to Dame Viv

A quick google of your favourite brands will tell you their eco credentials and what they’re doing to help the environment.

The late Vivienne Westwood was a huge advocate of buying less but better and in a world of fast fashion, isn’t it better to buy a single timeless piece than lots of items that’ll go in and out of fashion quickly? Arguably the UK’s most famous and influential designer, Dame Vivienne said: “What I want people to be able to do is to buy well, by first choosing well and then making it last. And I also believe that if everyone wore just a few beautiful things, there would not be such a climate change problem.”

It’s worth remembering too, buying less might mean opting for better quality on a few items. The good news is the fashionistas at London Fashion Week are doing so much more than they used to so the week – which is one of the high points in the capital – is greener than ever. The organisers plan an annual Swap Shop – visitors bring in garments to swap and get given tokens to spend in store at the swap shop. But you don’t have to travel to London to make the most of preloved clothing.

Get swapping

Simply searching ‘clothing swap’ on Facebook will show you plenty of pages set up for clothing swaps. does exactly what it says. The website is set up for swaps or sales of preloved clothing.

If you find it hard to ditch your love of the High Street though, a quick google of your favourite brands will tell you their eco credentials and what they’re doing to help the environment and if you can’t find anything online, why not contact them on social media and ask? 

Marks and Spencers have a ‘schopping’ plan where if you’re a Sparks customer you get a free treat every time you donate clothes instore.  Plan A Shwopping | M&S (


The information in this article was correct at the time of writing and is provided for guidance only. Please see the full disclaimer in our terms and conditions.

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