words Alexa Wang
Despite its beautiful facade, the fashion industry is actually one of the top five drivers of pollution and climate change. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the influence of their clothing choices on their ecological footprint. The resulting demand for eco-conscious clothing has resulted in a plethora of organic options – from ethically sourced jewelry to sustainable bras.
Resist the urge to ditch your wardrobe and replace it with only durable pieces. The real purpose of a sustainable wardrobe is to reduce overall consumption by purchasing fewer pieces. In addition to slowly replacing worn-out clothes with more durable items of a higher quality, you can also increase the durability of the clothes you already have.
Change your shopping habits
The average American shopper wears a new item of clothing less than a dozen times before throwing it away. This puts together more than 14 million additional tons of waste in the world’s landfills.
Fast fashion and the high turnover rate of trendy items are largely responsible for this phenomenon. By increasing fashion seasons from four to more than 50 a year, retailers are encouraging consumers to consider their clothing purchases to be disposable.
The slow fashion movement, with concepts like the capsule wardrobe, arose in response to this frenzied consumption. Followers manage their pieces and make sure each item fits together seamlessly.
There are many practical ways to incorporate slow fashion principles into your own wardrobe. For example, instead of buying clothes that can only be worn a quarter of the year, consider switching to seasonal items. Learning how to dress for your body type can also help you build a unique and flattering wardrobe with just a few pieces.
Stretch the life of each piece!
Properly washing clothes is the best way to keep the garment vibrant and wearable for the foreseeable future.
When it’s washing time, go one step further than sorting your clothes by color. Divide the piles further by fabric composition.
If a piece contains a combination of fibers, follow the washing instructions for the material that makes up the highest percentage or is the least durable. So that skirt with a touch of cashmere should go right into the delicate cycle.
Even with the mildest of care, clothes lose some of their shine after every wash. Reduce the amount of laundry by hanging clothes immediately after wearing. This allows the fabric to breathe. Treat minor stains on the spot rather than throwing the entire garment in the washing machine.
Stick to classic styles
Fast fashion thrives on producing the latest micro trends and constantly looking out for what’s next. Buying clothes this way results in a closet of virtually unwearable pieces, as the “in” items run out in a few weeks.
Move away from this disposable approach to style and focus on timeless pieces. Another principle of the capsule wardrobe is to select cuts and patterns that always look good – whatever appears on the catwalk.
Having a wardrobe centered around classic basics also ensures that every item passes the ’30 wears’ test. Most likely, you’ll be using a lot more tailored neutral pants than sequined culottes.
This does not mean that your clothing should also lack character. If you like bright colours, add them to your wardrobe with versatile pieces such as a flattering blouse or peacoat. Buying a pair of neutral bottoms and tops will add coherence to your pieces.
Buy natural fibers
If you must add a piece to your wardrobe, pay close attention to the labels. Fibers made from synthetic materials such as polyester add toxic chemicals to the environment.
They’re also not biodegradable, meaning a sweater you wear only three times can last for the next 1,000 years. Not really worth it, huh?
While natural fibers are not without drawbacks, prioritizing organic materials such as wool, organic cotton and bamboo significantly reduces the overall environmental impact of a garment.
There are also many semi-synthetic and fully synthetic materials that are produced in much more sustainable ways. Some examples are recycled polyester and lyocell.
learn to sew
Clothing repair and customization is by far the most sustainable way to change your wardrobe. Poor fit is one of the most common reasons why clothes end up in the trash or go unworn. Customization is cheap and easy, even if you have to take your item to a professional. And as a bonus, you get a garment that fits your shape perfectly!
Buying quality pieces made from natural fibers also makes them easier to repair. With a little patience, you can learn to mend a split seam or replace a lost knot. If you are really motivated, you can also repair small holes by patching up the weakened fabric.