5 Steps For a More Sustainable Wardrobe01-12-2020
Read Beatrice Turner’s tips on how to make the transition to an ethical and sustainable wardrobe.
Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe isn’t difficult but making the transition can sound like a daunting task. I speak from experience and I know it can make you feel the need to get rid of everything you own but that’s the exact opposite of what you should do to be sustainable – the most ethical wardrobe is one that is used and loved. Ultimately, it involves a shift in your mindset and a willingness to change habits, but to help you along the way here are some of our tips to slowly make the shift and create a truly sustainable wardrobe.
Shop Your Own Wardrobe
Wear what you already own and bring back to life previously ignored pieces into new outfits. Most of us wear just 20% of our wardrobe on a regular basis so instead of buying new clothes why not shop your existing wardrobe.
A great outcome of shopping your own wardrobe is that you might rediscover your sense of personal style as you come to realise what you truly love to wear and what makes you feel (and look) great. This also means that when it comes to shopping for new pieces, you know what to buy and you’re less susceptible to fading trends or attractive marketing.
Unfortunately, every new item of clothing made has a substantial environmental impact attached to its production, regardless of how sustainable and eco-friendly it is. Pre-owned clothes require no new materials, no extra energy, water, or toxic chemicals. Also, by buying secondhand you spend less and keep used clothing out of landfills.
Look Out For Natural Fabrics
Whether you’re buying secondhand or new, always go for quality natural fabrics. Even though they tend to be more expensive than synthetics, natural fibres last longer, fit better, and are much better for the planet.
For example, acrylic is a cheap synthetic fibre that is lightweight and warm, so it is frequently used in cheap jumpers and imitation wool garments to reduce cost. However, it’s made from fossil fuel and when we wash these clothes they shed millions of tiny particles of plastic that are so small they drain out of the washing machine, through our water waste and ultimately into our oceans and into our food chain, sadly drastically harming the environment and the marine life that swallow this nonsensical waste. Wool or cashmere, on the other hand, are a much better investment – they do a better job at keeping you warm and will last much longer without the negative environmental impact.
Buy to Last and Choose Quality over Quantity
Here’s a big win when you shop consciously: once you slow down and stop buying fast fashion, you’ll have more money left over for ethical brands that you probably thought you couldn’t afford before.
It’s all about planning, buying better quality, more sustainable clothing items that might cost more, but you’re likely to have it longer and will be buying less overall. Investing in 20 high-quality items a year, rather than 60 cheaper, less eco-friendly pieces will dramatically reduce your environmental impact, so save up, invest and buy less!
Look after your clothes
Taking good care of your clothes and keeping them looking good for as long as possible to reduce the demand for more resources. You’ll see how easy this is to do when you absolutely LOVE every piece you own.
Always wash your clothes in gentle, warm or cold cycles and try to do it as little as possible. You obviously don’t want to be walking around in dirty clothes but don’t need to wash a piece of clothing after every time you wear it – especially jeans and outerwear! Also, give the tumble dryer a break, trust me your beautiful clothes will thank you, plus you’ll be saving a load of water and energy.