The environmental facts surrounding fast fashion are staggering. There’s no denying that the textile industry and the culture of buying clothes only to wear them once for a fancy meal or photo opportunity on social media is causing havoc with the natural world.
If you’re unsure as to just how bad the problem is, here are some key stats:
- 5.2% of all landfill waste is clothes and textiles
- 10% of all carbon emissions worldwide and from the clothing industry
- 70 million trees are cut down every year and used to make clothes
- 23% of all the chemicals produced worldwide are for clothes
- 1.5 trillion tons of water are used every year to make clothes
The figures listed above are staggering and they’re scary to say the least. The sad news is, the global textile industry is growing with the rise of online shopping, meaning the stats mentioned will only get worse as time goes on.
The industry is showing no sign of slowing down, so the onus is on us as shoppers to be more eco-friendly and to take small steps as individuals to make a collectively positive impact. This doesn’t necessarily mean not buying any new clothes for a whole year; but rather shopping for clothes and building a wardrobe in an eco-friendlier way.
If you’re looking to be more green with your clothes but don’t know exactly where to start, here are some top tips you can use.
1. Alternate Stylish Options
A lot of the time, people buy new clothes because they want to re-create a look they’ve seen but don’t think they have the clothes to replicate it already in their wardrobe. You’d be surprised at how versatile clothing pieces are when you have the styling know-how. If you struggle to come up with original looks or can’t think of a new way to style to same old t-shirt, research look books. They’re full of hacks and ideas that you can mirror at home using what you already have, therefore reducing the need to buy new clothes and lessening your personal impact on the planet.
One of the easiest ways you can build an eco-friendly wardrobe is to thrift clothes instead of buying them brand new. The great thing about fashion is, everyone has a different style and old trends always circle back round, meaning nothing every truly goes out of style. What this means is that even if your style evolves over time, you don’t need to buy new clothes to suit your new style because odds are, what you’re looking for can already be found in a thrift shop.
As the saying goes, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure, so it’s well worth going to have a look in a thrift shop before committing to buying an item online. Not only this, but shopping in a thrift shop is cheaper, so whether you’re looking for affordable blouses, a leather jacket or a new pair of shoes, you can find it in a thrift shop.
3. Wear Test
We’ve all made completely garish and unnecessary purchase that we’ve never worn, but we refuse to throw it out regardless because it’s a ‘just in case’ garment. Of course, this is incredibly un-eco-friendly and does not bode well when trying to make a more sustainable wardrobe. If you impulsively buy far too often, try applying the wear test. This means looking at the item in the shop and seriously thinking about if you’re going to wear it more than a handful of times. If the answer is no, perhaps avoid buying it. If you think you’ll get a lot of wear of it, buy it!
Implementing these three tips will help you build an eco-friendlier wardrobe. Of course, if you wanted to go a step further, you could always look into making your own clothes, but if you’re not quite at that stage yet, these three options are a good place to start.