As a society, we are more conscious than ever before of the damage that we humans are causing to our planet. From single-use plastic to the lasting effects of fast fashion, there are many ways in which our lifestyles are having a serious impact on the environment. It’s interesting, isn’t it, how the planet seems to be recovering during lockdown with reports of a dramatic reduction in city centre pollution, waters returning to their crystal clear state and the return of wildlife and fish.
Long may it continue and this is why more people are now interested in how they can make their lifestyle choices more sustainable and want to apply this to the clothes they wear. Many of us are guilty of buying the latest fashion trends as soon as they come out and at the cheapest price we can find. However, cheapest quite often does not mean the most environmentally friendly, nor ethical either when you consider the working conditions some clothing manufacturers inflict on their employees abroad.
So, here are 5 simple ways that you can make your wardrobe more sustainable.
Streamline Your Closet
Many people wrongly assume that when it comes to streamlining their closet, they should cast aside and throw away any clothes they no longer like or want. However, this is the opposite of a sustainable closet and instead encourages fast fashion habits. A better option is to go through the clothes that you have and take a few days to decide whether you are sure that you do not want to keep it.
Remember that just because you know that you will never wear an item of clothing again, does not mean that you should just throw it in the bin. Instead, you should donate them to charity or at the very least see if friends or family would like them.
Here in Dinas Powys, we have a local Facebook group where unwanted items are listed and donated free of charge to whoever wants them and can collect them (bearing in mind social distancing at the moment, of course).
And, once Lockdown is over, we are looking to the return of local jumble sales (always good for a bargain) which are a great way to recycle clothing and raise some much-needed funds for our local Scout Group.
One of the best ways to make your wardrobe more sustainable is by sourcing your clothing from brands that make their clothes locally. Even if a brand is based within the same country as you, you should always check to see where they manufacturer their clothes as I mentioned earlier. You may be surprised at how many travel miles your items of clothing have done before you hang them in your closet.
Mend the Clothes You Have
It’s so much easier, isn’t it to throw clothes out and buy new ones rather than, as our mothers would have done, ‘make do and mend’. These days you can pick up new clothes during your weekly supermarket shop and, of course, many retailers offer next day delivery when you order online. Instead, why not go through the clothes already hanging in your wardrobe and spend money on alterations instead of replacing them. This will help to reduce the items of clothing that end up in landfills decomposing for years and polluting the planet.
It may also help support a local business. We have a local ironing shop where it is also possible to have your clothes altered. And, if you’re handy with a needle, you might think of earning a few pounds by offering a similar service yourself!
Make Your Own Clothes
Not only can you take the time to mend your own clothes so that you can wear them for longer, but you can also make your wardrobe even more sustainable by making your own clothes! This is a great way to great creative, as well as save yourself money in the long term. By investing in a mannequin to help you fit and pin clothing, you can get a realistic idea of how a dress will fit during the making process.
Buy with Intention
While it can feel like there is nothing more exciting than a shopping spree and to treat ourselves to some new clothes, it can lead to unnecessary purchases. Buying with intention is a much better way to create a sustainable wardrobe, as once you know why you are buying a piece of clothing and the outfit that you are going to wear it with, then your shopping decisions become much smarter.
The concept of a ‘capsule wardrobe’ makes a great deal of sense and, in fact, allows you to invest in better quality and more sustainable garments if you buy on a ‘cost per wear’ basis rather than cheap, cheerful and poorer quality items.
Don’t forget to visit charity shops and larger charities such as Oxfam offer garments which have already been repurposed and redesigned to raise a little extra cash.
By making a few changes to your shopping decisions and lifestyle choices, you can make your wardrobe sustainable and environmentally friendly, while also saving yourself some money along the way!