Building a sustainable wardrobe is a daunting task. Wearing brands you’re not familiar with, being limited in your style in terms of trends, and spending more on ethical and sustainable materials are some factors that often intimidate fashion enthusiasts interested in joining the movement towards sustainability. This led to many thinking that the movement was directed towards those who could afford it, a.k.a the rich and wealthy, and years back, the scene very much looked like it was that way.
However, with more people seeing the truth behind fast fashion and how it affects our environment, the movement is changing. Now, sustainable fashion comes in various styles, sizes, and, most importantly, prices. Not only that, but more ethical and sustainable brands are also owned by people from all walks of life, allowing for different perspectives on a sustainable style that can fit any person’s needs.
So whether you’re looking to build your own sustainable wardrobe from scratch, or are looking for new ways to support sustainable fashion, here’s how you can do so without denting your bank account.
Forget Fast Fashion
The fashion industry, specifically fast fashion, plays a large role in climate change, making up 10% of global carbon emissions and 20% wastewater. And while a good sale promotion and shopping spree can help you feel better when you’re stressed out at home or work, it’s important to remember how the fashion industry impacts not only the environment but also its own workers. Many fast fashion brands exploit women and children to make clothing. They are not only severely underpaid but are also working in inhumane conditions.
In addition to this, consumers’ growing interest in fashion that helps save the environment has led some brands to hop on the sustainable and ethical train. They create “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” clothing lines that are nothing more than obvious greenwashing. Fast fashion brands design and put out clothes at fast rates, using FOMO to get you to buy them when the trend only lasts a couple of months before the brand moves on to new designs.
Use the 30 Wears Test Before Buying New Clothing
While a sustainable wardrobe often means making use of what you already have, there will come a time when you’ll feel the need to buy something new. However, before you buy new clothing or accessories, consider participating in the #30WearsChallenge to see whether you really need it and whether you’re going to wear your clothes more than one. Simply put, the #30WearsChallenge helps you practice slow fashion by making sure you buy clothing or accessories that you’ll wear at least 30 times.
If you don’t see yourself wearing a certain piece of clothing or jewelry often, you should put it back on the rack.
Avoid Synthetic Fabric
Many clothing pieces in fast fashion are made of synthetic fabrics, like nylon, acrylic, polypropylene, polyester, and elastane. Not only are these materials created using toxic chemicals. But clothes made from them are also the largest source of microplastics found in the ocean. In fact, when you wash clothes made of these materials, an estimated 1,900 individual fibers can shed off the clothing in the process, which later ends up in our oceans.
Get Creative with Your Current Wardrobe
A sustainable wardrobe doesn’t necessarily mean throwing out all your current clothes and replacing them with new ones from sustainable brands. If you’ve already got a closet full of clothes and love to do arts and crafts, you can customize your clothing to hide rips or stains that you can’t remove. This way, not only are you fixing your clothes to wear them for longer, but you’re also creating unique styles that you can’t find anywhere else.
Thrifting has always been known for being more cost-effective than buying brand new clothing. If you’re looking to add a new accessory or piece of clothing to your wardrobe, consider visiting the nearest novelty shop and taking a look at what they have in store. Not only will you get items cheaper than you would get if you were to buy them brand-new, but you’ll be helping out the environment by reducing waste, increasing the lifespan of the clothes you’re buying. You can be sure that each piece you buy has a history behind them.
Donate What You Don’t Need
We all have certain clothes that we keep for when we lose weight, and it never ends up fitting. Fortunately, there are better ways to put these clothes to use. Take out all the clothes you barely use or don’t use at all, and donate them to people who need them or at least put them to better use than you can. This way, you’re giving your clothes a new home and saving the environment without having to spend much, if any, money at all.
With a global health crisis continuing to make waves across the globe, it’s still important that we keep the environmental crisis in mind as well. And more independent brands are starting to understand the importance of sustainability. It’s a step in the right direction for sustainable clothing without compromise. The fight against climate change is difficult, but every action, no matter how small you think it is, counts.