Without sounding harsh, you have more responsibility as a consumer than you might think when it comes to sustainable fashion. The production process of fashion is no saint come environmental questions (however we are trying to change this!), but remember that even if you buy from an environmentally friendly brand, it doesn’t stop when you have received your garment. Believe it or not, but two thirds of the carbon footprint happens after you take your clothes home.
To get you some perspective - 350,000 tonnes of used clothing, worth £140 million, goes into landfill in the UK every year. Wowsa. This could easily be reduced by simple changes to our (including yours!) consumer habits.
One of the key practices of sustainable fashion, is extending the lifetime of a garment. To quote one of the most inspiring women in fashion; “Buy less, Choose well, Make it last”.
To extend the lifetime of a garment, it is not only about making sure they don’t break, and that the quality is top - it is also about making a conscious decision as a consumer when buying the garment - ensuring timeless design, good fit and being something that you will truly love for an extended time.
Once you have made this decision, and bought the garment, there are easy way to show love to your garments and make them last for a little bit longer.
Take better care of your clothes. Follow the care label. Separate your washing. Wash less.
Wash less! Truth is, there is really no need to wash your garments after each use. Depending on the garment, sometimes not even after the second or fourth use.
Washing does not only take away dirt, but it also tend to fade colour and remove structure from the garment over time. Instead of washing the garment after each wear, try airing it or spot cleaning if there is a stain.
Did you know the a good pair of denim jeans shouldn’t be washed more than once every 6 months to keep their quality? Instead, you should air them regularly, and pop them in the freezer now and then to kill bacteria.
Wash it on cold and skip the dryer!
Do yourself and your electricity bill a favour and avoid the dryer as much as possible as this tend to reduce the lifetime of a garment by pulling them out of shape and damage the surface. Each household that switches to cold water can save 1,600 pounds of CO2 per year. Usually 30 degrees is warm enough to keep your clothes clean (unless you’ve made a real mess).
Repair. Don’t discard a old pair of jean because of that hole in the crotch. Learn how to repair them, and you will be able to keep using them for much longer.
Donate. When you’ve fallen out of love, and you are no longer using the garment, let someone else take over and double the lifetime of it.
Recycle or upcycle. When your garment is beyond repair, make sure to recycle the garments properly. Or why not let your creativity lose and think of ways to upcycle the garment - what was once a dress could make a great bag! Make sure your garment never reaches the bin!