Over the years, it has become easier and easier to get your hands on designer looks for less. This, coupled with the rise in seasonal fashion and the need for an ever-changing wardrobe to keep up with the latest trends, has meant people are foregoing quality for what has now become known as fast-fashion.
Although things may be more affordable, looking stylish is coming at a cost to our environment. Clothes are increasingly being made from cheaper materials that contain plastics such as nylon and polyester. Even the creation of these materials harms the planet. For instance, manufacturing nylon creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
With so many different types of materials, it can be hard to even know where to start or how to look for sustainable clothing items.
That’s why we thought we’d share a few easy steps on how you can cleanse your closet, and start making some more sustainable choices when it comes to your wardrobe.
- Donate your unwanted clothes!
When you’ve outgrown or out-loved your old clothes, don’t throw them away, but give them a new life by donating them to charity.
- Buy secondhand clothes
Purchasing secondhand clothes is not only a great way to save money, but it gives clothes a second life. Visiting charity shops, such as Vinnies or the Red Cross, additionally provides funds that go to members of the community who are in need.
- Buy a trans-seasonal wardrobe
Fall out of the cycle of refreshing your wardrobe every time the season changes, and start buying clothes that can work all year round. Buying clothes with a reduced colour palette makes it easier to pair with different items and use time and time again.
- Opt for quality over quantity
The short term pain of paying a bit more for higher quality goods pays off in the long run when you get more wears out of your favourite clothes, and don’t need to go shopping for a new pair of jeans every year.
- Buy clothes made from sustainable materials
Buying clothes made from organic hemp, recycled cotton or organic linen is better for the environment because they contain natural fibres, as opposed to synthetic fibres which are man-made from chemicals.
It’s also important to look for ‘organic’ materials, as a lot of farming uses a lot of pesticides that also have a negative impact on the planet.
- Recycle your old clothes
Where you can’t donate, repair or reuse old clothes, you can also look into ways to recycle them. For instance, you can recycle almost any fabric in TerraCycle Fabrics and Clothing Zero Waste Box.
- Encourage brands to use more eco-friendly materials
As a consumer, you have the power to influence brands to make change. Choosing to buy brands that are more environmentally friendly, or encouraging brands to use more sustainable materials can have a huge impact on them.
- Helpful tech to check brands!
There are some great apps and technology out there that can help you look up if a brand or material is a sustainable choice. Apps like Good On You help consumers make responsible fashion choices by giving brands an easy-to-understand score, to help people easily decipher how ethical or sustainable a fashion brand is.