To sum up this sustainability topic, which never really ends so long as we keep thinking about our planet and ethics, here are some key actions needed to make a difference.
But firstly, did you know that 30% of the carbon footprint associated with fashion actually lies with the consumer? One way specifically is through washing and even more so through tumble drying. Where cutting down on washes and using a drying rack will help our impact on the environment, here is what we can do to change the impact of the supply chain.
Sew your own
It’s useful to be able to sew your own clothes. By doing this you’ll know that your clothing is ethically made and you’ll be able to fix any minor holes or breakages in clothes rather then getting rid of them. Upcycling is becoming a new trend, where people are redesigning their clothes which enables them to choose and add their own designs.
Pom-poms are in-in this season. @iamkristabel shows us how to rock them, DIY-style. #MakeItNewhttps://t.co/ojA47CJvGa
— F&F (@FandFclothing) April 18, 2016
Think before you buy
Think about where you are buying your clothes, how much it costs and would this price cover the cost of the processes involved in addition to the mark up by the retailer?
Sustainability and ethics go hand in hand, for example not using dangerous pesticides on cotton fields also means less harmful chemicals affecting the workers. Taking a small amount of time to contact retailers and ask them about the ways their products are made will inject a sense of responsibility for companies to react to the concerns of their customers if not for the well-being of the people and the planet. Even joining the Fashion Revolution and using the hashtag #whomademyclothes will help grab attention.
Buy what you will really wear
How much clothing from your cupboard do you actually wear? It’s hard to know what you want when you’ve tried something on but suddenly a few weeks later it just doesn’t fit or look the same. But this is the whole point of what fast fashion is about. Instead, try to buy clothing that you know you will wear whether that means not impulse buying something you’re on the fence about, or not buying another skirt because it looks nice when you already have 6 others. This not only prevents clutter from building up in your wardrobes and drawers, but also helps to slow down the fast fashion industry by limiting the amount of garments which are being bought. This is probably one of the biggest ways in which we can help solve these problems- quality over quantity.
Throw away with thought
When you do want to declutter consider how you get rid of things. Whatever you do, do not just throw clothing away! There are much better things which can be done with fabric rather than having a polyester jacket that isn’t biodegradable sitting in landfill for years. The best way to get rid of clothing depends on the condition of the clothing. If it is in very good condition then it is worth giving it to a charity shop as they are likely to sell this on, or you can try selling it over eBay or other sites such as Vinted. If it is not in very good condition e.g. it has holes, or has come under much wear and abrasion, then charity is probably not the best choice unless they will recycle the clothing for you. In this case recycling is the best option, many retailers will recycle any clothing now, both H&M and M&S are well known for doing this. Also if you visit the website Recyclenow.com you can type in your postcode and what you are looking to recycle and it will come up with a list of the nearest locations which will do this.
Stick to the good companies
Try and buy clothing from companies who have initiatives for ethical and environmental practices in place. There are some examples in our previous sustainability post of companies with such thinking, but as pointed out there are many more emerging companies. Think about the price of the clothes sold by the company and how many ranges are introduced each season and how this is achieved. Cost effective, intensive labour is the cheapest way to make clothing compared with well paid workers and organic cotton.
Give clothing another home
It’s seen as a great idea to get some money from selling your once loved, good condition clothing online, so why not buy pre-owned clothing too! Sites such as Vinted, ASOS Marketplace (which is similar to eBay and Etsy, consisting of boutiques selling vintage pieces, items made by individual people and very small labels) and eBay, have some high quality, second-hand merchandise which you can get at significantly reduced prices from what they were originally. Some may be unworn or barely worn and you might find a designer item on there too. As mentioned before charity shops also sell clothing in very good condition and you’ll be able to see and feel the item yourself.