Are you already recycling more, driving less and shopping locally? Or perhaps adopting the simple habit of switching the lights off when you leave a room? Whatever it is you may do, good on you! But there is always – of course – a possibility to do more.
The EU textile industry creates around 16 million tonnes of waste per year. Sure, many give away their clothes to charities and second-hand stores, but only 15% of it actually gets sold. The rest end up in a landfill or sent overseas to developing nations.
With fast fashion and a culture of disposable, low-quality clothes, how can we make better choices? From talking to a lot of people, we feel that most of them do indeed care about the environment and they want to do their part to help, but most of them don’t really know where to start or what to do in order to behave in a more environmentally friendly way, especially when it comes to fashion. Some might be stumped on the notion of being successfully fashionable and responsible. And to that, we say: Look at Ms Emma Watson! During the press tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, she donned extravagant, gorgeous and elegant gowns and outfits all made from materials with the environment in mind. She managed to look fashionable and be environmentally conscious at the same time.
We’re not saying that this post will turn you into Emma Watson. Not all of us have Chanel and other (probably pricey) resources to design mega fancy evening ball gowns for our next movie premiere, but it will show you a handful of small ways to be more environmentally friendly and responsible when it comes to fashion and the shopping habits you may have.
1. Quality over quantity
You’ve all heard this saying and it is very applicable in this context too. Invest in higher quality clothing that will stand the test of time, thus encouraging manufacturers to continue to produce high-quality items. Also, when you buy better things, they last longer; meaning you won’t need to buy things more often.
2. Repair instead of replacing
If there’s a small fault in a piece of clothing like a loosened hem, lost button or tear, don’t just bin it. Fix it! This will prolong its lifespan and delay its inevitable fate of ending up in a landfill somewhere.
3. Embrace secondhand shopping
If you need new clothes, buying clothes that are preowned from a secondhand store increases its lifespan and decreases the demand of new clothes to be produced; thus, lessening waste. It furthermore gives you an opportunity to have a special item, where people can’t just run into their local flagship store to buy the same top or skirt.
4. Consume less
Probably easier said than done, but it is also a no-brainer. The less we consume, then the less waste will be created, right? But if shopping less is a challenging option for you, then shop smarter. Learn where to shop, what to shop and how to prolong the life of the things you do shop.
5. Support revolutionary brands
There are companies out there who are embracing the growing sustainable fashion trend and offering more ethical and eco-friendly items. If you have to shop, then shop with the brands that are eco-friendly and responsible. We have some suggestions here.
6. Know your materials
Conduct research about the fibres and materials used to make the clothes before you buy. Look for natural fibres such as silk, linen, hemp or bamboo, whilst avoiding the synthetic ones like polyester, acrylic and spandex.
7. Host a swap
A more fun option to be responsible is to get you and your friends to swap clothes for free. This way you get to refresh your wardrobe, sleep easy, knowing some of your cherished items are being adopted by someone you know and lengthening its lifespan. If you were going to donate your clothes anyway, why not host a swap first and what’s left over can go to donation/recycling.
8. Adopt proper care habits
Taking good care of your garments can help extend the lifespan of your clothes and delay them from ending up in the trash. Wash less and only when necessary, and when you do wash, wash according to the instructions and avoid dryers and hot water.
So there you have it; eight ways where you can adopt more sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices without compromising your style! Do you have any other tips and tricks to stay fashionable whilst being a greener consumer? Let us know!