The Sustainable Wardrobe
During the festive season we are bombarded with even more pressure to buy, update our party looks and overload our wardrobes, encouraging rapidly increasing clothing waste. According to the report A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future published by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation in 2017, 53 million tonnes of fibres are produced annually for the clothing industry, and 73% of garments end up either landfilled or incinerated after consumer use.
At this time of year retailers slash their prices in the sales; bargains are alluring, and we are made to believe that we really need that cheap piece of clothing, but we want to explore how to love and enjoy fashion by building a Sustainable Wardrobe:
• If you buy, choose only items that can create new looks by complementing what is already in your wardrobe. Before purchasing, think about how many times you will likely wear the new item. The #30wears rule suggests that when shopping, ask yourself if you would wear an item at least 30 times – but aim higher, we would say at least #300!
• Buy smart. Products at low prices are of low value and made cheaply. Invest in quality items that last and which can be resold. Check out The RealReal, Vestiare Collective and similar new secondary market companies #invest
• Get creative: Create your own look and wardrobe that includes vintage and secondhand items, don’t buy a whole look, get #creative
• Buy from brands who integrate sustainability at the core of their business – this means brands who not only produce responsibly with sustainable materials but who also ensure fair labour practices. Check their websites #investigate
• Repair– use your needle and thread to mend your loved clothes. Find a local tailor to help if needed. You can even get creative here by customizing and adding elements of your personality or by updating the silhouettes of your garments. #mend #fix #reinvent
• Choose only items that are of good quality and can be loved for a long time or eventually passed down to family and friends- those pieces have emotional resonance and amazing stories attached to them! #handmedown #secondhand
• Look at care labels, check out a brand’s website and search for information about sustainability – ask store staff for more information about the products that you’re buying
• Prolong the life of your clothes by following the washing instructions inside. The Carbon Trust reports that 1.5% of global production of CO2 emissions occur in the consumer washing/laundering process. Check garment labels to care for your clothes properly, skip the dryer and opt for line drying, use cold water settings and wash less often so we can protect our world’s drinking water.
• Invest in filtration gadgets such as this gadget to help fight the microfibres problem that comes from washing our clothes. Synthetic fabrics shed tiny plastic microfibres when washed – 250,000 plastic microfibres can be released after just one washing of a synthetic fleece jacket (EMPOWER @filterfibers) and up to 700,000 microfibres can shed from a typical 6kg (13lb) household load (BBC News). It is not perfect but improves the situation.
• Clothes swapping and rental systems: Hold clothes swaps with your friends, or join designer rental companies such as Rent the Runway, DrexCode, or Armarium. London-based Higher Studio offers more avant-garde choices for the artistically inclined.
• Consider local brands and materials as it also helps reduce your garment’s carbon footprint in the shipping and delivery process. #local
For a quick 5-minute snapshot to building a sustainable wardrobe, see Anuschka Rees‘s beautiful visualisation below:
Discover sustainable materials, fibres and the innovations that will influence the future of a more sustainable fashion system at our upcoming 8th Future Fabrics Expo on 24-25 Jan, 2018.