Published: 25th Mar 2020
Greenhouse gas emissions are rising and global warming is becoming more of a crisis. In the fashion industry, these two facts are not so much startling as they are combatable. We are not powerless to help the planet – we can give Mother Earth a helping hand by wearing sustainable clothes and using cosmetics that don’t have a negative impact on the environment. Fashion is forever changing, and models can influence brands and manufacturers by championing sustainable items. Gone are the days when wearing second-hand clothes meant looking like a 1960s has-been. As a society, we can make simple changes to assist in the healing process. Here, we look at some fashion modifications you can make to lessen the burden on our planet – you may even start a new trend without realising it.
Quite a lot of clothes won’t last more than a year. Think unwanted Christmas presents (jumper is too large, trousers are the wrong style etc). Whilst charity shops welcome cast-offs, it’s far better to turn superfluous clothes into a completely different article, ready for a new leash of life. With a little work, your wardrobe could soon be fully converted from unwanted burdens to cherished possessions.
Which moves us on to fashion in its truest definition – the fashionable style at the time. We all like to look good, and models can have some influence on the consumer. By wearing “all-time favourites” that rarely go out of fashion, the lifespan of clothes will increase, thus reducing the adverse effects on the environment. It’s estimated that if owners extend their clothes’ lifespan by just nine months, the environmental impact can be reduced by 30%. Easier said than done, but if just 10% of the world stuck to the nine month extension, the positive impact on the environment would be monumental. So remember to think of the classics before buying something that you can’t see yourself wearing for more than a season. It’ll be better for the planet, and for your bank balance.
Some manufactures have started producing polyester fleeces made from plastic bottles. Depending on your budget, support them. Recycle your clothes more often – recycle collection areas can be found in most large towns (look out for them in supermarket car parks), so you’re not restricted to 9-5 charity shops. Don’t be part of the 85% of people that don’t recycle their clothes.
Shop smartly, and consider hosting monthly “clothes swapping” functions at your house. This is a great way of acquiring new styles without paying for them – plus it should be fun, too.
Try to avoid buying too many clothes made from synthetic non-biodegradable materials – they don’t break down, much like plastics, and add to the general waste found in landfills and illegal fly-tipping areas.
Think about brands offering subscriptions from which you can rent clothes (as opposed to buying outright) – you’ll get a more varied style without adding to the burden of landfills.
There are plenty of facts and figures about sustainable products, and the fashion industry is just one of the major players that contribute to negative environmental issues. No industry is perfect, but with a little common sense and a few tweaks in your lifestyle, you can start to help our planet.
In conclusion, shop smartly, organise swapping social parties, and support brands that market sustainable clothes. There’s no reason why you can’t look good and help out the environment at the same time.