Let’s face it: fashion is the worst.

At least when it comes to the environment, that is. More and more people are becoming aware that the way fashion is currently made, sourced, and consumed is having some terrible impacts on the environment.  The chemicals used to grow, dye, launder and treat our clothes end up polluting rivers, as well as our water. Currently, our clothing accounts for around 3% of global production of CO2 emissions, according to The Carbon Trust. The list goes on, but the bottom line is: we need to take up some sustainable fashion habits.

There are a few ways you can help by making some adjustments and keeping a few things in mind when you’re shopping. And of course, there’s actually no reason your great style will have to be sacrificed when it comes to shopping sustainable fashion. Here are just a few ideas on the simplest things you can do that can make a positive difference to the planet, whilst still making sure you’re looking your best.

Fashion has the potential to change the world – so we better make sure it changes it for the better. Here’s how…

1. Shop secondhand

One of the best ways to shop sustainably is to turn fashion into a circular economy. Instead of clothes reaching the end of its life cycle, think of it as clothes simply reaching the end of its first use. By selling and buying secondhand, you give these clothes a second (or third, or fourth) life, which can save on so much energy, resources, and money that’s used to make a brand new piece of clothing. Thankfully, there are some really good and easy ways to find secondhand stores for gorgeous designer pieces — on Instagram alone there are hundreds of boutiques to choose from in Bangkok.

Second-hand shopping in Bangkok:

Chatuchak Market,  Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Bangkok 10900. (Tues-Sun: 7am-6pm).

(un) FASHION Vintage Collection, Ekkamai Soi 10, Bangkok 10110. (11.30am-9pm).

Again & Again, Market Place Room B1A, Thonglor Soi 4, Bangkok 10110. (11am-9pm).

Talad Rod Fai Train Night Market, Srinakarin Soi 51, Bangkok 10250 (Thurs-Sun: 5pm-1am).

2. Shop vintage

Still can’t get bring yourself to wear someone else’s old clothes? It’s only a matter of shifting your perspective a little bit. Elevate the branding, add a couple of zeros to the price tag, and you can call it vintage! There are several places to shop vintage items in Bangkok too. From the luxurious rare items from Central Embassy’s The Vintage Store to the private dealers online, there are loads of rare designer items you can get your hands on. Not only do you support sustainability by choosing not to buy something “new”, but you could also be owning some extremely unique and wearable investments.

Vintage items at The Vintage Store, Central Embassy.
Vintage stores in Bangkok: 

The Vintage Store, 2/F Central Embassy, Bangkok 10330. (10am-8pm).

The Trapeze Swingers, 15 Chana Songkhram, Bangkok 10200. (12pm-9pm. Closed Mondays).

Tokyo Joe, Sukhunvit Soi 69, Bangkok 10110. (10am-7pm).

Labellist Vintage Vibes, 2/F Gaysorn Village, Bangkok 10330 (10am-7pm).

3. Look for sustainable brands

Don’t get us wrong, you don’t always have to buy from other people’s wardrobes. If you’re really after something new, then there are still options for brands that are conscious of their environmental impacts. Stella McCartney, for one, uses only eco-friendly materials in not just her clothing but in the design of her stores too. Meanwhile, Thai brands such as Madmatter, Taktai, and Maison Craft are committed to only upcycling old fabrics to make new products. However, more and more mainstream fashion brands are taking on eco-centric collections. We’re huge fans of the pieces in the H&M Conscious collection, although the brand is aiming to make their entire product line 100% sustainable by 2030. Brands like Levi’s, Burberry, and COS are also joining the sustainable fashion movement.

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H&M Conscious is available to purchase on their online store: www.th.hm.com/

4. Go to a clothes swap

There have been more and more clothes swapping events in Bangkok lately, as a movement towards raising awareness to lessen wasteful consumption in fashion. Earlier this year, the ‘Swap ’til You Drop!’ event hosted at The Home BKK saw hundreds of visitors in a single day and over 100kg of clothing brought and swapped. This is also one of the most fun and social ways to revamp your wardrobe without having to spend a single baht.

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Swap ‘Til You Drop! is held every other month at The Home BKK (unless stated otherwise), as part of the Fashion Revolution Thailand movement. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated.

5. Buy local

Thailand is known worldwide for our amazing textiles and quality craftsmanship. So when you buy from local artisans, producers or weavers, you’re not only getting some of the best quality products in the world — you’re also cutting down a lot of carbon emissions from importing products. After all, handmade clothes are the OG of sustainable fashion. Some of the most fashionable celebrities in Thailand like Pearypie are already making the move towards wearing Thai-made fabrics and ethically produced clothing.

sustainable-fashion-thailand-bangkok-pearypie
Amata Chittasenee, better known as @Pearypie on social media, is a leader in the movement towards wearing local fabrics.

6. Join Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution is a global movement that aims to raise awareness about the significant social and environmental impact of the fashion industry. It’s a community that drives to encourage people to take up more responsible practices when it comes to fashion. There’s a FashRev group based right here in Thailand, and they’re very active in organising talks, workshops, and activities (including the clothes swaps we mentioned earlier). Follow them on social media or become a member to get more deeply involved.

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Follow news, events, and talks on sustainable fashion by Fashion Revolution Thailand on their Facebook and Instagram. www.fashionrevolution.org/asia/thailand.

Karn Chatikavanij
Style Writer
A globetrotter with a love for sushi and Miu Miu, Karn is a fan of all things upbeat, delicious, and well-dressed. Her frequent activities include packing for beach trips, listening to 80s music, and trying to make daytime pyjamas happen.