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 Getting Started with your Sustainable Wardrobe


With the dreaded winter weather slowly creeping up on us it’s becoming the time that most of us decide to completely clear out our wardrobes, swapping out our summer clothes for the endless sweaters, boots and coats.


With fast fashion being such a global issue, it's important to make changes where we can from purchasing clothing, to the moment it enters your home, to the moment it leaves. Small changes to your fashion habits doesn’t only help the environment but helps create the mindset of practicing sustainability every day, letting it become a second nature when it comes to day to day tasks.


Where all sustainable wardrobes begin for consumers….the point of purchase. Did you know that more than 50% of fast fashion clothes will be discarded within one year of purchase. Making slight changes to where you shop is the key to shopping more consciously. Avoid fast fashion brands at all costs. Instead of compulsive shopping sprees, try to plan your wardrobe in advance and really ask yourself if you really need that item, maybe wear something you already have? It’s similar to the phrase “never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry,” this should apply to your shopping for clothing!


Do your Research


When finding your winter clothes whether it’s shopping online or in a store it’s important to do your research. The amazing thing about most sustainable and conscious brands is that they are 100% transparent in the steps taken to make their item, compared to large fast fashion brands who suspiciously refuse to advise consumers of how their clothes are made. From a single google search you can find out a lot about the brand you are purchasing from. For example the fashion brand ‘Shein’ is rumoured to make around 35,000 items a day, with a shocking 70% of its products only being in stock for less than three months. At other fast-fashion retailers, like Zara and H&M, this number is between 40-53%.


Similarly look into the tags of the products you like to better understand the fabric make-up and care instruction of the garment. Try and find fabrics that you know will be comfortable, breathable and long lasting, while also keeping an eye out for sustainable and organic materials such as bamboo and organic cotton. You can also look out for logos such as GOTS and Fairtrade which mean your clothes have been made ethically with fair production processes carried out throughout.


Get the most out of your clothing


Now we’ve gone through steps before purchase and you’ve now taken your new clothes home, it’s time to discuss what next. Apart from the care instructions telling you how to look after your clothes, try making them last longer, washing them less and with cold water. It’s also important to make sure you get the most use out of what you’ve purchased and try wearing them as much as you can. Make it fun by trying to complete the 30 Wear Challenge and if your clothes do get damaged, you don’t necessarily have to throw it away. Learn how to repair your clothes and accessories, or even find someone to help (preferably a small local business - every little helps!) It’s always good to think twice before letting a little bit of damage be an excuse to throw it out and buy something new! Even try hosting a clothes swap with your friends and family to get everyone involved in your new sustainable choices!


Disposing of your clothes


Finally when the time eventually comes to dispose of your loved clothing to make room for more, it needs to be done properly. A great way to remind and encourage yourself to donate your old clothes is to have a one-in, one-out policy - live by the mantra that every time you buy something, you’ll donate something else in your wardrobe. On average More than 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year and around 13 million tonnes in the US. If your item is still in good enough condition, there are plenty of clothing donation programs available to send them off to. Otherwise familiarise yourself with ways to recycle the actual textile. Initiatives such as Relooping Fashion are taking great steps to finding a solution to turn old textiles into brand new ones.


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