Sustainability has been in the news quite a lot recently but it mostly discusses sustainability in relation to food, transport, and lifestyle such as living a plastic free life. Although all very important as well, (fast) fashion is a major contributor to environmental and inequality issues we see in the world today.
Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to make your wardrobe more sustainable and still look fashionable! You may have heard of the three R’s of sustainability: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This also applies to fashion, but we want to add a fourth R to this: Re-wear.
You want to be more conscious about the clothing you wear and your wardrobe, but not sure where to start? We have gathered 5 simple tips to help you make your wardrobe more sustainable.
- Wash your clothes less often.
Having a sustainable wardrobe isn’t just about the kind of clothing you wear and what you buy, how you treat your clothes is a big part of a sustainable wardrobe too. How often do you wash your clothing and at what temperature?
"My top tips for becoming a more sustainable consumer are to wash your clothes less. Research by the Energy Saving Trust has shown that laundering accounts for 60% to 80% of a garment's total environmental impact, so you can significantly reduce your impact even by washing your clothes after every few wears. To further save energy, wash your clothes at 30º (this is reported to reduce energy usage by up to 40% compared to the standard 40-degree wash) and dry them naturally. Saving energy means reducing the burning of oil and gas and, ultimately, a reduction in the contribution to the rise in global temperatures causing climate change," says Roberts-Islam.
Tying in with this, be aware of the fabrics of the clothing that you buy. When you wash your clothing the chemicals and materials from it will end up in rivers and oceans. Always buy eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, tencel or recycled materials and ensure they do not contain toxic chemicals.
- Change your mindset. Buy pieces of clothing with longevity in mind.
Instead of buying new clothes every season, every year, buy high quality pieces of clothing with longevity in mind. In other words, change from fast fashion to slow fashion.
It can be very tempting seeing all the latest fashion trends on social media and wanting to jump on the fashion bandwagon. We know, they often look very good but really ask yourself if you need it. If it’s too hard to resist you could consider unfollowing fashion accounts on social media.
Vivienne Westwood said: “Buy less, choose well, make it last”. We couldn’t agree more! Rewear your outfits, become an outfit repeater. You don’t really need a new outfit for every party you go to. Mix and match the items you have and it will feel like a new outfit. If Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge can do it, I’m sure we can too.
- Marie Kondo or Home Edit your wardrobe.
Streamline and re-organize your wardrobe. Make sure you can see all the items in your wardrobe, you might find an item you haven’t worn in a long time which will now feel like new. There is always one piece that has been hiding in the back for a long time. Being able to see all your clothes in your wardrobe and knowing what is in there can really help prevent you from buying unnecessary clothing. A simple hack to make your wardrobe more sustainable.
- Repair and donate.
There will come a time when one of your clothing items might have a small tear in it or is missing a button. Instead of throwing it away, try repairing it. If you’re not handy yourself, become friends with your neighbourhood cobbler and seamstress. With a few small repairs good quality shoes for example can last years.
However, you might have clothing that you simply no longer wear. That’s normal, we all have this. But don’t just throw it in the bin. It will then end up in landfill and will not be used for anything. If it’s still in good condition, consider donating or selling it. If it’s no longer in good condition still don’t just throw it in the bin but bring it to a recycling centre. It can then be reused for something else.
- Buy clothing from sustainable and conscious brands.
At some point that you may need to buy a new piece of clothing, and that’s fine. When this time comes, buy your clothing from a sustainable and conscious fashion brand to help you make your wardrobe more sustainable.
There are a few things you can watch out for. The first one is the accreditations/standards the brand have/work with, for example the Fair Wear Foundation ensures products are made ethically. Secondly, make sure the materials used in the clothing are sustainable such as 100% organic ring- spun combed cotton. Thirdly, be aware of the packaging that is used to ship the clothing. Plastic free and no excess packaging is the best for the planet. Lastly, if you can shop at brands who use a ‘print-to-order’ approach we would highly recommend this as it keeps waste to an absolute minimum.
These are just 5 tips to get you started on making your wardrobe more sustainable.
Let us know on Instagram (@sustywear), Twitter (@SustyWear) or Facebook (insert link here) which steps you’re taking on making your wardrobe more sustainable.