You’ve started to make a few eco-friendly upgrades to your home, your food and your purchasing habits, but have you thought about the clothes that are sat in your wardrobe?
It’s estimated that 57% of these clothes will end up in landfill, and that statistic is only getting worse. The time is now to make your wardrobe more sustainable. However, we know this can be a daunting thought and a huge issue to tackle as an individual.
Creating a more sustainable wardrobe doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of all of your favourite pieces or limit your shopping options. It’s about learning the facts so you can make informed choices that link up what matters to you on your conscious journey, as well as some slight changes in your day-to-day life and your mindset.
We’ve put together some of our favourite tips and mindset shifts below that you can quickly adapt to make your wardrobe a little more sustainable.
Buy organic cotton
Most people don’t realise that man-made fibres like polyester are plastic. This means that each time you wash your clothes, the plastic is melting and slowly releasing tiny particles into our water. These plastic particles can’t be filtered out, so eventually ends up in our oceans.
Switch to buying organic cotton clothing instead. Organic cotton is carbon neutral and can be grown without pesticides and toxic chemicals, meaning that it’s good for the planet and good for your overall health.
Wash your clothes on a cold and line dry
Washing your clothes with cold water at 30 degrees Celsius or lower is not only better for your clothes but better for the environment and better for your utility bills. Washing them less will also dramatically reduce your environmental impact so start doing this after a couple of wears or when they show visible signs of dirt.
Drying your clothes outside in the sun will save your energy bills but also helps to kill any nasty bugs and reduce your impact on the environment.
Get to know your clothes journey
Get to know the clothes you are thinking of buying and the brands you are shopping with by investigating the supply chain they use and their ethics. Getting informed is one of the best ways to ensure that you are looking out for the planet, and it also means that you will be able to make the best choices for yourself. Many brands out there are starting to adopt a more transparent shopping method by showing the factories and suppliers they use or producing locally. Most brands are also happy to answer your questions if you fancy getting in touch with them directly.
Organise your wardrobe
Organising your wardrobe so you can see what’s in it is one of the best ways to become a more conscious consumer. By getting organised, not only will you be able to select your outfits without the stress of rummaging through a mound of clothes, you will be able to identify better those staple pieces you are missing, which might mean you wear more of your clothes. You might even find some gems hidden at the back, which you had forgotten about. This means you are better equipped to make great style choices from your wardrobe and less likely to buy more.
Trash the trends, buy classic.
Get out of the habit of buying clothes that are ‘on-trend’ – designed to be worn for a season or two and then disposed of. Fast fashion brands are built on this with the sole intention of persuading us to buy more and more just to stay up with the latest fashions. Invest in quality pieces in classic colours and design thatch you will wear more, and for longer, to buy less overall.
Try out the #30Wears campaign designed by Livia Firth, the founder of Eco-Age (a company that certifies brands for their sustainability). This campaign encourages us to think, ‘Will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?’ and only buy an item if we know that we’ll wear it.
You should NEVER put your clothes in the bin. Instead, donate your clothes to second-hand or vintage shops. Not only will these pieces find a new home with someone that will love these, but you’ll also contribute to the charity. Humanitarian charities often send any unwanted clothes to third-world countries who desperately need them too, so you’ll be doing good. Use the one-in-one-out policy and donate an item when you buy a new one to avoid the clutter build up.
Mend and make alterations
If you love a piece but never find yourself wearing it, or it’s become slightly uncomfortable around the (ahem) mid-line, make some alterations yourself or find a good tailor who will help you to transform it into a piece that you do love. This is also a great mindset to have when buying vintage or secondhand pieces.
Find your clothes a loving home
300,000 tonnes of unwanted clothes are binned, not recycled, every year. Hence, it’s clear that sharing our wardrobes and contributing to the circular economy (an economic system aimed at minimising waste and making the most of resources) is a step toward a more sustainable future.
If you don’t want to keep a piece in your wardrobe anymore, trying to find a new home where friends or family will love it. Clothing swap parties are a great way to do this and bag yourself those pieces that you’d always loved in your friend’s wardrobes!