Fashion From Fast Fashion to Thrift Shops: How You Can Help The Climate

From Fast Fashion to Thrift Shops: How You Can Help The Climate

2019 Aug 26

With over 70 million trees logged every year to produce fabrics like rayon and viscose, climate change is hot on the heels of fast fashion. Throwaway garments (fast fashion) contribute more to climate change than air and sea travel (Imagine that). Fashion waste contributes significantly to the industry’s performance on sustainability indexes.


Recognizing this fact, many labels have taken steps to minimize the waste arising from their operations. Spanish brand, Ecoalf, for instance, produces clothing made entirely of waste material – fishnets, plastic bottles, and discarded tyres, to name just a few.



Sri Lanka too has its fair share of brands who are now committed to reducing the amount of waste fabric churned out every year – around 30,000 tonnes ( according to the Institute of Manufacturing, University of Cambridge). With garment manufacturing being one of Sri Lanka’s biggest industries – accounting for almost half of our GDP – it’s not hard to imagine why fast fashion may be a problem plaguing our island nation.  But we are making little strides.


  • MAS has pledged that by 2025, all their waste will either be enhanced in value or up-cycled as raw material or as a completely new resource.
  • Ready-to-wear brands, like House of Lonali, create collections made with up-cycled fabric.
  • Swim suit brands like Pigeon Island showcase ethical fashion by recycling plastic bottles to create their products.


What can you do to help?


Now with increasingly common natural disasters taking place due to our negligence and a wave of more conscious and responsible fashion houses coming into the scene, us consumers have the opportunity to step in and make a difference. Firstly, by being consumers to such responsible brands and secondly, getting past the initial reservation to thrift shopping and being kinder to your wallet by finding your next wardrobe in the interesting shelves of thrift shops.



People who love thrift stores really love thrift stores. And they were gaining in popularity well before Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” made its best attempt to ruin that trend. Obviously the very idea of a secondhand store is eco-friendly. Thrift stores are like humanity’s hand-me-downs. That 7-Up logo tee can theoretically be worn forever, or at least until the threads are literally worn through.



Second hand shops are seldom around Colombo and only a few notable ones have consistently pushed through the years to provide the Sri Lankan public with viable thrift shop options.  The outskirts have a better job at having community driven thrift shops that they utilize and you should definitely hit up the few we have seen down south in Hikkaduwa and Weligama.



Personally I jumped into the thrift shopping wagon when I realized how much money I spent on clothes that don’t survive in my wardrobe longer than a year or two. I stumbled upon this gem called ‘The Store’ and I found Zara and Chanel tops for LKR 200 and I was sold (these Colombo 7 aunties doing a good job in stocking all these thrift shops with some timeless expensive pieces) . After a good washing, I was ready to walk around acting like I was bougie enough to afford Chanel.



This specific store is located on Thimbirigasyaya Road and is headed by CHA (Centre for Humanitarians Affairs) and all proceeds go to the Special Needs program conducted in-house. So in addition to being kinder on your wallet, it gives our futile existence some sort of respite. The prices are as low as LKR 100 and would max go to a 1000 to this date. In Rathmalana, conveniently placed on Galle road lies a little thrift shop called Rith Ru Bale House and if you venture further into Dehiwela you will find a few shops here and there that can cater to your needs.



One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Specially when some people’s trash is mint condition dinner jackets and vintage dresses.


Happy responsible shopping folks!