Sustainable shopping stores are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, as workers’ rights and environmental impact become major factors.
With many fast fashion brands and large chains making their place in the industry, shopping in those places can sometimes appear as the norm. However, when we consider the details and consequences of our shopping habits — for example, the impact on the environment and workers — there are many reasons to go the extra mile and begin to shop sustainably.
Sustainable shopping and why it’s important
Sustainable shopping takes into consideration that, when we as consumers make purchases, there can be adverse consequences on other parts of life. For example, our shopping habits can negatively affect the environment, health and workers. For those who aim to reflect their values in all parts of their choices and lifestyle, sustainable shopping is another way to support and follow these values as consumers will be shopping ethically.
Sustainable fashion can ensure better treatment for workers; as fast fashion attempts to keep clothes affordable for its large number of consumers, they also keep the pay of workers low, especially in lower economically developed countries. It is estimated that out of the 60 million garment and textile workers, only 2% of these workers earn a living wage. It is not out of reach to say some of the biggest brands are taking advantage of workers that are reliant on these jobs.
However, by shopping from ethical brands, we can refrain from enforcing this cycle. Sustainable shopping can also reduce your carbon footprint in terms of online purchases, as sustainable stores usually deliver using eco-friendly methods like cargo bicycles rather than vans.
With sustainable brands having a presence both online and in-store while following ethical standards, there is more reason than ever to opt for sustainable purchases. Here are six sustainable stores in the UK, and why you should check them out.
1. Here Today Here Tomorrow
Here Today Here Tomorrow is made up of three designers, and together, they have created this brand to represent their aim of having a long-lasting relationship with fashion rather than being here today and not tomorrow.
Their philosophy is to “make, mend, showcase, sell and educate, all under the same roof, accessible and visible to all”, while selling their own brand of Fairtrade products and embracing sustainable fashion.
2. Bring Your Own
Bring Your Own expresses that “life looks better without the plastic packaging” and encourages customers to shop more sustainably by not using individual plastic packaging for their items.
Instead, they provide organic grains, nuts, dried fruits, spices, pasta and cereals, which are all available to those who bring reusable containers. Alongside food, BYO do offer toiletries. If you are new to sustainable shopping, BYO can provide containers and paper bags for you.
Gather describes itself as a low waste refillery, providing foodstuffs like baking ingredients, cereals, teas, condiments and pasta alongside hair care and cleaning products. The company emphasises the importance of shopping sustainably by nudging everyone to take more care while shopping, even though it may seem like something small; “it’s when we all gather together that the big chances start to come”.
4. Abel & Cole
Abel & Cole delivers all essentials to your door while following an ethical approach; the packaging is returnable, deliveries are eco-friendly and they work with passionate growers and bakers who provide organic foods.
They provide boxes of weekly essentials such as milk and bread, fruit and vegetable boxes and pantry favourites that include rice and pasta. Abel & Cole describes its approach as “a conscientious way of tending to the land, that’s not only better for you and the environment, but it tastes much better”.
5. Harmless Store
Harmless Store focuses on minimal packaging for their products and asks customers to bring their own reusable containers. They offer food items like baking ingredients, breakfast items, cheese and chocolate, as well as pet food and personal care products.
As well as being sustainable, Harmless Store is vegan and provides vegan alternatives like vegan cheese, salad dressings, mince and chocolate. They also offer a click-and-collect service where you can choose your order online and simply pick it up when it is ready.
6. Alternative Apparel
Alternative Apparel is another sustainable clothing store in the UK, which provides casual pieces for every closet ranging for women, men to children. They offer a range of t-shirts, leggings and jumpers that generally follow a vintage style and are made from recycled materials and organic cotton.
As Alternative Apparel uses sustainable packing and follows ethical standards in the factories they use, they make a much eco-friendlier option than mainstream, fast fashion brands.