There are all sorts of strategies we can implement in creating a sustainable wardrobe. We can embrace and adopt a more environmentally friendly way of choosing and using our clothes. With a little time-investment the benefits are well worth the effort.
My journey into sustainability began at home – growing up with a Mother and two Grandmothers’ who had experienced life through the War years. A time where resources were scarce and clothes had to last. I was therefore taught how to choose and buy clothes well so the garment lasted longer.
This was my first taste of sustainable fashion so it’s easy to see how those earlier experiences have shaped how I choose and treat my clothes now.
According to The Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP) – the average lifespan of a garment is a mere shocking 2.2 Years and an estimated £140 M worth of clothing ends up in landfill. Wouldn’t it be great to play a part in increasing that lifespan?
By choosing well in the first place we are doing our bit to protect the World’s resources, reducing clothes going to landfill and to reducing human exploitation in this industry.
I do believe that we all share a responsibility to slow fashion right down! There is also a feel-good element at play here – a feeling that you are doing good for those around us and for our environment.
So what can we do…..
Here are my 5 Top Tips on creating a sustainable wardrobe
The most sustainable thing we can do is wear what we already own
I would hazard a guess that most of us have items lurking at the back of our wardrobes waiting to be re-worn and re-loved. Create some time to go through your wardrobe and get creative with those items you have. We can re-use and re-purpose wherever possible – pair your clothes differently to maximise their wear. Is there anything here you can try? The same blouse but with different trousers, a different skirt or as a layering piece perhaps?
If there are items that you will definitely no longer wear, gift them to a friend, fill a charity bag or donate to a fabric bank for someone else to benefit.
Respect our clothes and treat them kindly
If we buy better quality clothes it is more likely they will last longer and we are more likely to care for them. Hanging clothes after each wearing and storing them well will elongate their life. Be mindful of over washing (particularly those synthetic clothes, which release plastic particles which may find their way into the sea) and also consider your choice of detergent and washing temperatures – cooler temperatures can be kinder.
Find a good Tailor or Seamstress
A good tailor or seamstress is worth their weight in gold. They have the knack of breathing new life into a garment meaning you are able to enjoy the garment for longer and perhaps in a totally new guise. If like me, the sewing gene passed you by, at least consider changing up buttons yourself to create a whole new look on a blouse, a jumper sleeve or jacket. If you are local to York I recommend Sew Versatile who will do an excellent job for you.
Choose our clothes more selectively
This may take some time but researching some new brands that operate with green credentials – look out for organic or Eco-friendly certifications. We can also choose fabrics that are natural or organic such as linens, silks, wool or synthetically derived fabrics from plant materials such as Viscose, Lyocell, Tencel or Rayon. All of which will biodegrade. You will be more informed to make better future choices.
Image Credit: The Global Organic Textile Standard
Change our attitudes to shopping
I have often spoken of the effect of fast fashion production upon our environment. I do believe that we CAN all play a part in reducing the environmental impact by shopping smarter.
We can help to change the culture of consumerism by choosing more sensibly and buying less. Buy only what we need to replace and try pre-loved clothing. There are some great vintage shops offering some quality treasures that have all been saved from landfill. That has to be worth learning more about.
There is a feel-good factor to behaving in a sustainable way whatever the element…be it using natural products above harsh chemicals, buying from companies with ethical credentials or re-purposing the garments we already own.
I’d love to know what elements you already embrace?
If you would like to work with me and learn more about creating a sustainable wardrobe, you may contact me here.