Sustainable fashion is a journey which many of us wish to take part in. The fashion industry is currently the second most pollutive industry in the world, and a conscious change in our wardrobe is needed more than ever. For making a transition to a greener mindset in the name fashion, some practical advice can be necessary. With a few simple tips for a sustainable wardrobe, creating a greener closet can be an effortless process. So if you are looking for a change but aren’t sure of how to start, you have come to the right place!
Why we need to re-think our fashion Culture
As fashion culture has grown, clothing is much more than just wearing certain suits for practical reasons. Most of us are using fashion to express personality and culture, and our clothing has become an important part of showing individual identity and belonging. But we can not ignore the fact that the way we are outfitting is destroying the planet. Today, the fashion industry is the second most pollutive industry in the world just after the oil-and-gas industry.
Not alone is fashion a threat to the ecology. A majority of clothes production has a significant social impact and get created under miserable conditions around the world. “Blood Cotton” conflicts, child labor, workers burning to death locked in factories, toxic dyes polluting waterways, and synthetic fabrics creating the biggest source of microplastic pollution in our oceans and drinking water and countless other dark aspects.
The rise of fast fashion has created a high demand for cheap clothes. Unfortunately, the cost of manufacturing these inexpensive clothes has led multiple factories to turn toward cheap labor and poor working conditions around the globe. So whether we are wearing clothes to differentiate ourselves, for covering up and keeping warm or blending in, what we wear has an enormous social and ecological impact. This is the reason why a necessity for rethinking our wardrobe in a more sustainable way.
Creating a Sustainable Wardrobe
Changing to a more sustainable wardrobe does not have to be complicated either expensive or mean that you have to get rid of your current collection. No. The most important aspect is that we learn to be conscious of what we are wearing and for what cost. And not just about clothing, but in our life as a whole. That we make conscious choices of what we consume in terms of food, clothing, and all other products.
By making a conscious choice rather than letting compulsions drive us, can be the way for living greener and healthier in all aspects of life. But making a transition and implementing a more eco-friendly mindset when it comes to fashion, a bit of practical advice can be needed to make a change to a more sustainable wardrobe.
Replacing old purchasing habits for more eco-conscious products is not enough. The whole process of consumption and discarding of apparel is unsustainable and needs a change.
Mindful Sustainable Shopping
First of all, we need to change our behavior, desires, and habits when it comes to shopping. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a new piece of clothing. But, before we do so, there are a few things we can remind ourselves and consider. Before buying an item, we can consider what our priorities and values are. Organic materials? Vegan and cruelty-free? Non-toxic materials? Who made our clothes and how have these clothes come to my hands?
For reducing unnecessary compulsory purchases, we can ask ourselves, is this a necessity or a compulsive must-have? Many of us are enjoying the process of shopping and finding a great new piece of clothing can be an obligated activity while browsing on the streets. But are we ever going to wear it more than a few times?
Support Ethical & Sustainable Brands
When we make a purchase we can choose to support ethical brands, and prefer to buy clothing made from natural materials. Several entrepreneurs and fashion brands today have based their whole branding on trying to create a sustainable option for people to reduce the hefty environmental impact of the fast-fashion culture. Today, there is an uncountable number of brands creating beautiful, trendy, and affordable clothing with ethics in mind and hands.
Natural materials are a significant aspect of a sustainable wardrobe. Certain fabrics take a more substantial price on the planet than others. Artificially, plasticy and cheap fabrics like nylon and polyester, are most often the sinners for the unbearable working conditions and highest pollution rates.
Therefore, buying clothes made from natural materials like organic cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, Tencel, Eri-silk, cashmere, and wool can help offset environmental impacts. But be conscious. Simply because an item is created from natural materials, the process is not necessarily ethical or sustainable, so be aware of the labels and the story behind it.
Minimalism and Timelessness
The only thing we need is less. While choosing our clothes, a way of reducing consumption is to choose timeless styles that suit all outfits. Before purchasing an item, we can consider if the item is usable for all seasons or only for a particular time a year, event, or occasion.
Quality vs. Quantity
For shifting to a more minimalistic approach to clothing, it is worth investing in higher quality, eco-friendly fabrics which will last longer. It is not needed to have a dress in each color for every occasion. Simply choosing one good sweater instead of 10 cheap poor ones, which will only last one season. Paying a bit more for a good quality once, which has been made under more favorable conditions is a good idea for a more sustainable closet.
Our Favorite Item – Time for Eco-fication
If we have a particular piece of clothing that we feel very comfortable wearing, an idea is to invest in several pieces of that same item. This way we avoid buying new styles which might be uncomfortable for us. By doing so, we will fill our wardrobe with clothes we actually will wear. If a desire arises for getting this particular item in a more sustainable edition, we can investigate some sustainable brands. Perhaps this favorite item is available in a greener material, in a more timeless color, and produced under more ethical conditions.
Care for our Clothes
Changing to a greener closet does not mean that we should go and throw all our clothes out which have been commercially produced or which are not made of natural fibers. No. These clothes we have already bought.
Now, it is important to handle it with care and be grateful for what we have. A good idea is to organize the closet, which allows us to celebrate the pieces which we truly like.
A way of reducing the environmental footprint is to use a lower water temperature when we are washing our clothes, which is also less damaging to the fabric. If we can hang-dry our clothes outside in the fresh air instead of using the dryer, our clothes will last longer, get naturally dried with no use of electricity, but simply by natural wind and solar power! Many of the detergents on the market are packed with chemicals, harmful to our clothes, health, and the environment. Consider shifting to an eco-friendly brand of detergent. This will reduce the environmental footprint.
One Man’s Trash can be Another Man’s Treasure!
When the life of our clothing comes to an end, and it is no longer appropriate for use, there are several things we can do to keep it alive or give it new life! Maybe our trash can be someone’s treasure. Instead of simply discarding an old piece of clothes, donating them to a local social initiative or second-hand shop can ensure that our old garments will be useful and meaningful for someone else.
Reuse, Repair, Recycle
If our clothes come to a state where we can not use it any longer, the clothes can possibly be useful for other purposes than wearing. For example, an old shirt can be reused as a cleaning cloth for our bicycle or car, our old pants can be a knee-protecting plaid for when we do gardening, and so on. We don’t have to be discouraged if our clothes get holes or ribs. If we are not good with neal and thread, it’s time to experiment and we can simply fix the item instead of discarding it!
Making a change does not take much, only a mindful approach to what we wear can lead us on the way to a more sustainable wardrobe. Good luck with your green closet! What are your tips on how to create a sustainable wardrobe?