Photo: Antonia Böhlke

It’s not easy, we know it. When you’ve been together for such a long time – 20, 30 years maybe, ditching the habit of shopping at your favourite high street chains can feel daunting, sad and overwhelming. But we’re here to help you.

Seeing as it’s something we have simply grown up with, shopping fast fashion comes naturally to us. It is the default option for most of us and therefore giving it up might seem impossible at first. Sure, we all technically know that it is not ethical in any way and that we should try our best to avoid it. We’ve read about the terrible working conditions and we’re aware of the unsustainable a-new-collection-every-week system. Making the switch to more sustainable options, however, seems like an overwhelming  step. To finally end your toxic relationship with those cheap high street brands, we’ve compiled some tips for you.

1.    Unfollow, Unsubscribe, Delete Facebook

You’re never gonna get over it if you see their latest  photos in your facebook feed all the time. Or if you get a biweekly newsletter telling you about the latest collection in your mailbox, a campaign shoot on Instagram that lures you into checking that once beloved retailer’s online store – just checking, of course. We know how that goes. Once you’re scrolling down the ‘New In’ section on a Sunday afternoon you’re doomed. So here’s the advice: unfollow all social media accounts, unsubscribe from any newsletters and cover your ears whenever someone drops the name of your former flame. It’s going to be rough but it helps so much with staying sober. (Don’t actually delete Facebook though, we want you to follow us on there!)

2.    Educate Yourself. Take A Good Look At  Your Old Love’s Flaws

Know the why’s and how’s. Seeing as you’re here at MOCHNI means you’re already doing this, so head over to our article about why sustainable fashion is the future. Educate yourself about the pollution and human misery that fast fashion causes. Watch ‘The true cost’ and read about why hemp and linen are wonderful and totally eco-friendly. The more you know about the bad stuff the less appealing it’ll look to you should you ever find yourself striding by an alluring storefront. Being able to remind yourself of the flaws and shortcomings of your old love and the reasons you parted ways is going to be an enormous help in preventing unreasonable longing.

Photo: Antonia Böhlke

3.    Get Out There And Find Alternatives

Or, as we like to say in Germany, ‘Other mothers have pretty sons/daughters, too’. By refusing to partake in the consumption of cheaply and unethically made clothing you are literally sacrificing nothing. Once you’ve found your couple go-to eco brands, shopping will be almost as easy as it used to be. Truth be told, you’ll probably do a lot more online shopping than store hopping, seeing as most brands are mainly sold online at this point but hey, that saves a lot of time and running about. Well, one downside is you might have to do actual Cardio now.
Be it a new pair of jeans or a bridesmaids’ dress, you’ll easily be able to find a sustainable alternative these days. Eco-fashion has come a long way from tie-dyed linen dresses and its old hippie image – new brands are cool, modern and work with cutting-edge materials.

4.    Give Yourself Time And Credit

You will relapse. And it’s gonna be OK. If you’re striving for absolute perfection you’re only setting yourself up for failure and self-loathing – once in a while you’re going to still really, really need that one item from somewhere you know isn’t a good place to shop at. It might be an impulse buy or something you’ve been looking for forever. Allow yourself these occasional splurges and go on with life. As with anything really, it’s all about a good measure. Even by buying sustainable and ethical only 70% of the time you are still helping the cause. Do try and support fast fashion’s more (if not fully) ecoconscious options, like H&M’s Conscious Collection, not because they are perfect but because they help you make a case and ‘vote with your wallet’.

The most important thing is to see this as an adventure and an addition to your life rather than something you’re giving up. A whole world of new, fresh ecolabels lies ahead of you, waiting to be explored. This is a chance for you to discover fashion anew, in a more deliberate way than you did the first time around. With time you’ll find your new go-to alternatives and get to love them even more dearly for aligning with your beliefs.