Fashion is a big part of everyone’s daily life. Waking up in the morning wondering what you are going to wear, and when you look at your closet, the last thing you think about is how unsustainable it can be. Do you even know where your clothes are made? Where do they come from, and how they create tons of carbon dioxide before they even touch your skin? On a Sunday evening, you are resting on your cozy couch, drinking some wine and clicking on the “add to cart” button on your favorite website. It is too late, you have made a purchase. You don’t really know what is hidden behind your today‘s outfit that you are going to share on social media. The positive note is that you can make a big change and help the environment that is drastically changing, by doing simple things with your clothes.
Step 1 – Reduce your fast fashion consumption
The first thing you can do is to reduce your consumption of fast fashion and even reduce your shopping. If you are a shopaholic, it can be hard for you to give up on brand new (and never worn) clothes. It is a fact: if less clothes are bought, less clothes are produced. Nowadays, new trends are emerging every week and the fast fashion is the result of those trends. In order to satisfy the consumer, brands need to produce faster, cheaper and in a greater quantity. The famous fast fashion brand Zara releases 16 collections a year, which is more than one per month. We all want new clothes, new colors, new designs in our wardrobe, but sometimes, we have to take our foot off the gas and slow down our consumption, in order to live in a better environment. And if an urgent envy of shopping is calling you, you can always buy second-hand!
Step 2 – Don’t wash your clothes if they are not dirty
This step can seem too obvious, but a pair of jeans doesn’t need to be washed after every single use. Unless you sat on something dirty or it smells like french fries, you don’t have to throw your clothes directly into the washing machine. As you know, water is precious and washers use 15 to 30 gallons of water in order to clean the same amount of clothes compared to older washers which used 29 to 45 gallons per load. Water is part of the conception of a garment, a simple white t-shirt uses 800 gallons of water to be produced. In 2015, 79 billion cubic meters of water has been used for the fashion industry, it represents 32 million Olympic-size swimming pools. Moreover, the more you wash a garment, the more it is going to be worn out, so might slow down your washing cycles.
Step 3 – Never throw your clothes in the trash
It takes a lot of electricity, water, people, time and fabrics to create a piece of clothing. If you have decided to sort your wardrobe, do not throw any clothes away. You can give them to an association, put them into a recycle bin, and if you are good at sewing, you can transform them into another beautiful piece of clothing. You can also sell them, online, on different apps just like Vinted, in a yard sale and more… Invite your family and friends over, and make them take what they want in your wardrobe, they will probably be very happy to share your style. If you give or sell a piece of clothing, it is another one that will not be bought in a store. Nowadays, second-hand clothes are the option of the moment, that is why a lot of stores like Zalando for example, created their own second-hand category on their website.
Step 4 – Organize your closet
It can seem too easy, but it is a simple step to make your closet more sustainable. Why? Because if your clothes are organized and tidy, you will be able to see them all. No more “I have nothing to wear,” you have it, and you can see it. You will not have to buy those black suit pants because they are right there if front of you, you just have to create an outfit out of them. When you buy new clothes, make sure you will be able to create outfits out of them.
Step 5 – When buying, check the quality
Selecting the best sustainable piece of clothing start by looking at the label. If you want a piece of clothing that lasts, comes from biological cotton or even was recycled, you will need to check the label. If the fabric is of low quality, regardless of how good the clothing design is or how good it fits, it simply will not last very long. Buy things with longevity to transform your wardrobe into a more sustainable closet. If the label does not indicate anything particular, it means that the cotton is not bio and the fabrication is not ecological. Garments that are cheap are polyester, acrylic and nylon. You might want to switch for garments with traditional fabrics such as cotton, denim, linen, bamboo, corduroy, and it is better if it is eco-friendly. The artisan brand Mikoleon said that “nine to 11 stitches per inch is a good standard depending on the fabric.” A summer dress will be more sustainable in linen, or organic cotton, than made out of wool because they are simply lighter.
Those five simple steps will help your wallet,your style, and most importantly the environment. Steps by steps, we can all have a sustainable way of living, we just need the right tools and information!