The Un-Material Girl shares her slow fashion tips

Leah Musch, aka The Un-Material Girl, is a former fast fashion addict turned slow fashion activist. She is the writer and host of an Australia-based web series, which follows her adventures in becoming a more conscious fashion consumer. Here, Leah provides her advice for those looking to break the shopping frenzy and take it slow:

‘There is a shift happening within the fashion industry, as consumers are wising up to the unethical and unsustainable practices of the fast fashion world. Clothing is increasingly cheaper, more accessible, and now often considered disposable. The environmental and social impact of this is frightening,  but we must not forget that much of the power lies within our hands and wallets. There are countless smalls things you can do, that in the long run will make a big difference in slowing down the impact of slow fashion.’

Buy secondhand first

This is your chance to become a real-life treasure hunter. Before you buy something new, try rummaging through your local thrift store or secondhand market. It can be equally fun as it is challenging, especially when the reward is a bargain at the end. Secondhand stores give you the opportunity to find something unique, and you have the added bonus of bragging rights – “Oh this? Yeah, it was only $2!”

As a result of the fast fashion industry, thrift stores are overflowing with clothing that can be re-worn or repurposed for a fraction of the price. Plus, most secondhand stores exist as social enterprises, so you’re also supporting charitable causes. Turn up the Macklemore and get thrift shopping!

Ask the tough questions

I ask myself three key questions when considering whether or not to make a purchase. Firstly, where was the item made? If the answer is vague or hard to find, I assume that there could be a reason for it. More fashion brands are becoming transparent and accountable for the production of their clothing, which is fantastic. These are the ones you want to support so keep an eye out for them!

Unmaterial Girl

Secondly, I ask myself do I really need it? I consider what I already own, and whether or not the piece of clothing will become a staple I can wear for years, or be considered out-of-fashion by the end of the season. Do you think you’ll wear it at least 30 times? If not, time to reconsider.

Thirdly, is it good quality? I’m willing to fork out extra dollars these days if I know the piece I’m buying is going to go the distance. Clothing should never be considered disposable (note: biodegradable fashion is currently in the works) as there are epic amounts currently being thrown into landfill. Seek out natural fibers and fabrics, especially pieces that have been crafted to last.

Create a capsule wardrobe

When I first read about Courtney Carver and her personal challenge of minimising her wardrobe into 33 items of clothing for 3-month cycles, I was both amazed and shocked. Since starting Project 333, Courtney has inspired an army of women to strip down their wardrobes and hone in on their personal styles, forcing them to get more creative with the pieces they love and parting with the things they “just don’t wear”.

When I took on the challenge, I found I saved so much money. Being hyper selective with the clothing you bring in to the house makes you really consider every purchase, as well as saving on space and feeling super zen. If you’re not ready to take the full challenge, even consider making your own version (say 50 items) – you won’t regret it!


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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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Want to know more?

If you want to learn more about slow fashion and becoming a more sustainable and ethical shopper, check out Leah’s website for videos, advice and blog posts. You can also follow her adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

Photos from

Unmaterial Girl