On this journey to live more sustainably we all get to a point where we need to rethink our wardrobe. The fashion industry is one of the top polluters in the world and that’s not to mention that this market faces serious problems when it comes to sustainability at a community level too.
The Fashion Revolution Week starts tomorrow (from the 22nd to the 28th of April) and I’d like to give my 2 cents of advice on how you can reduce your impact, buy more sustainably and be a better consumer.
What’s the Fashion Revolution & Why You Should Join
The Fashion Revolution started in 2013 when a building in Bangladesh collapsed taking hundreds of lives of the workers who were making our clothes. Since then, the topic became more and more in vogue and consumers and the fashion industry itself started questioning: ‘Who made my clothes?’.
The fact that the fashion industry is highly pollutant (2nd to only OIL) is in itself very scary. But also worth noting is the fact that workers usually suffer the impact of such a dirty business. Low pay, unhealthy work environment and usually child labour and slavery are part of the problem.
But instead of focusing on the problems of this industry, today I want to give you a few options and solutions to make better decisions when it comes to your wardrobe.
What’s the Solution?
First off, here’s the truth: we need to STOP buying clothes at the staggering pace we currently are. It’s not sustainable for the environment and for the people. Nor to our pockets, actually.
Fast fashion started a few decades ago and while we would buy a few new pieces every year, now most of us are doing that every week. Not only that, but fast-fashion brands are creating new lines at basically every 2 weeks (gulp). What once was 2 seasons per year, now we have almost a new line coming out every week!
And worst of all, more and more clothes are going straight to landfill at a never-seen-before pace.
We need to stop and rethink fashion.
So here are the 4 things I do to fashion sustainably:
- Care for what you have. It might seem crazy to some of you but I still have (and use) clothes that I bought over 10 years ago. They are not many unfortunately, as I moved countries and homes several times in the last 9 years. But some pieces I bought when I was just entering the workforce still fit me and suit me well for what I need them for. So the key takeaway here is: care for your clothes, follow the instructions on the labels and wash as little as possible (if possible) as to not damage the fabric too quickly.
- Buy second hand. The second hand industry is growing and there’s not a better time to start buying second hand. Gone are the days where you’d only find vintage style clothing but now you can find great styles at a cheaper price and give those garments a second chance in life. This means you are not adding to the burden of wasting new resources to buy a piece of clothing. I think now my wardrobe consists of about 40-50% second hand pieces. And some of them are my favourites!
- Do a clothes swap. Get your girlfriends together (or get the guys to join in too) and swap clothes that you might not love or use that much and give your friends the opportunity to get a brand new (for them) piece. If you don’t know that many people that into cloth swapping search in your local community, on Facebook or Meetup groups, for a clothes swapping event. There are new ones popping up everywhere nowadays.
- Buy from sustainable labels. If buying new is your last resort, look for brands that are actually sustainably producing your clothes. Research what are the fibres used, if they are sustainable and organic and if they pay a fair price to their workers. Sure, it will come with a price tag ~but~ if you buy less, you can buy better. And like the queen, Vivienne Westwood, herself said:
Buy less, choose well, make it last.
So what you can do now? Share this post, talk about it with your friends and start searching for inspiration in op-shops (second hand shops in Australia) and start your own fashion revolution!
Happy Fashion Revolution week!
Peace and love,