Why your closet needs a makeover ASAP (but don’t actually throw your clothes out)
The fashion industry is one of the world’s largest polluters, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, deforestation, and enormous amounts of waste. Fast fashion is the biggest culprit of the industry and the cost of it, is more than just the price tag. Cheap and unethically made clothes are constantly churned out to meet the demands of the latest trends in fashion. This has a significant impact on the environment. In fact, around half a million tons of microfibre is being dumped into the ocean every year. This industry is not only destroying the environment, but is utterly unsustainable. As a consumer, you might be wondering what you can do about this issue.
Welcome to Sustainable Fashion 101
Although, it’s brands like Zara, H&M, and countless others who should be held responsible, as a consumer you can choose to do better. There are so many ways you can incorporate sustainability into your wardrobe, understanding the real cost of fashion is just the first step.
Here are 5 ways to achieve a sustainable wardrobe:
1. Buy second-hand clothing
You can find used clothing almost anywhere like local thrift stores, garage sales, and online retailers. The exciting thing about buying second-hand is finding everything from everyday basics to truly unique statement pieces. Almost everywhere you go you can find used clothing and thrift stores that offer amazing items for your wardrobe without the cost of buying a brand new piece. Garage and tag sales are another great place to search for pieces, even setting up clothing swaps with local groups can be a lot of fun! Lastly, there are now a bunch of online retailers to buy used clothing from, such as Depop, ThredUp, and Facebook Marketplace.
2. Don’t fall for trends
Trends come and they go. A style may be in one day and out the next. This is what the fast fashion industry runs on. You can make smarter purchases by buying higher quality staples that won’t be out of style by the next year. It’s important to have long-lasting basics in your closet that you can style several ways no matter the season. The goal is to maximize the life you get out of your clothes.
3. Mend your clothing
It’s normal for clothing to experience wear & tear, but you don’t have to throw them out. Bringing them to a Goodwill also isn’t the best idea (it can still end up in the landfill). Pull out the sewing kit to patch up any holes in your clothes- or find a good local tailor to repair your clothing. This is also a good opportunity for some DIY projects to repurpose any worn out clothing.
4. Shop sustainable and eco-friendly brands
There are now a bunch of eco-conscious brands working towards producing more sustainable fashion pieces. To find clothing that minimizes environmental effects, look for items made with natural materials like organic cotton, hemp, or recycled materials. These require a lot less water and chemicals for production. Shop at brands that use these materials and promote sustainable practices in their company.
5. Get what you’ll actually wear
Retail therapy can be your best friend and worst enemy. I’m all about treating myself, but sometimes we get pieces that we don’t get good use out of. Like all purchases, you should really reflect on if this is something that you really love and will actually wear. A good rule of thumb is to imagine being able to wear the piece with several different outfits and across the seasons. If there are several ways you can wear it, then go for it!
Overall, it’s important to understand the true cost of fashion and to make better decisions as a consumer.
Looking for other ways to incorporate sustainability into your lifestyle? Read more tips here.