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Creating an entirely sustainable wardrobe may sound daunting, especially when you want to be smart about how much you’re spending on fashion. However, the negative impact of the fast fashion industry on the planet and the supply chain has become too alarming to ignore.
There are several ways to create a truly sustainable and ethical wardrobe, but if you’re just taking your first step into the realm of fashion sustainability, here are just a few easy and accessible tips on how to build a sustainable wardrobe.
The fast fashion industry has influenced how we view the value of the clothing we wear, so the cost of sustainable pieces may be off-putting to some, especially when compared to the constant sales and extremely low price tags seen in fast fashion.
However, these pieces are often made with higher quality materials like organic cotton, made by people paid good money in safe working conditions, and generally are much more focused on eco-friendliness and taking care of the planet. These garments will last so much longer than anything you’d buy from high street brands.
Fast fashion brands come out with new products featured in their stores so quickly that it can be difficult to keep up. And while it may be tempting to hop onto trends we find cute at the moment, it’s important to consider how an article of clothing fits into our existing wardrobe.
Does that dress match your accessories and shoes? Do you think those jeans are flattering on your body? It’s important to keep questions such as these in mind when shopping so that you can create a cohesive sustainable wardrobe, no matter what brand you’re buying from.
With sustainable fashion rising as a trend, fast fashion brands are jumping on the bandwagon by releasing their own “sustainable” labels. However, these labels aren’t as sustainable as they claim to be and are just a form of greenwashing.
Discovering sustainable clothing brands that you like makes shopping sustainably that much easier, and even just shopping from one sustainable label can lead to finding out about even more sustainable fashion brands that suit your personal style.
Shopping from local shops that champion fair wages and safe work settings are one such way you can support sustainability in fashion as well as your local fashion economy.
A common problem people have with their wardrobes is how cluttered they can become because of how much clothing we buy impulsively.
A capsule wardrobe is the best solution to fight against clothing waste in our own homes as it decreases the number of choices we have down to our favourite pieces. Capsule wardrobes are very easy to start and help us understand our personal styles more, shop purposefully and, of course, dress sustainably.
Buying secondhand is a well-known way to give unwanted clothes and old clothes like shoes, jeans, dresses, and others another chance and elongate their life while also allowing us to spend less on clothing.
Additionally, as they’ve already been made and no new materials or energy is required to make them, buying secondhand means more eco-friendly pieces and is a very sustainable alternative to buying new clothes.
Building an eco-friendly wardrobe can always start with the fabrics you wear. Many sustainable fashion brands that focus on environmental awareness prioritise recycled fabrics and eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester, deadstock, and other such materials. Choosing to use and wear garment materials like these utilises what already exists and prevents new waste from being created.
By buying clothes that you can be worn year-round, you will be making use of your clothes’ life more effectively and preventing items from sitting at the back of your wardrobe unused.
Knowing you will make use of your clothes consistently can feel great, especially when spending a larger amount of money on a garment that will work whatever the weather. This kind of sustainable wardrobe prevents unnecessary clutter while giving you more chances to style your clothing differently and dress more creatively every season using existing pieces.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, washing accounts for 60-80% of the total impact a garment has on the planet. By washing clothes at 30 degrees rather than 40, you can reduce your energy use by up to 40%.
It is also better for the material and helps your clothes last longer. You are much less likely to see colours fade over time, and save money in the long run.
Building and shopping for a more sustainable wardrobe can be a challenging task, but it is certainly rewarding. Being confident in your decisions will take some time, but developing and sustaining a sustainable wardrobe is an endeavour that will last for life.
Doing research on various aspects of fashion like deconstructing popular trends, prioritising good quality materials and fabrics like organic cotton, discovering your own personal style, what brand you love to shop from, and more will help you build a collection of garments and your own sense of style over time that you’ll absolutely love.
Creating a more sustainable wardrobe over time will take patience, but the end result will undoubtedly be incredibly satisfying. So many different sustainable clothing brands offer different styles that we can shop and wear and can constantly give us the inspiration to shop in the name of sustainability and for a more sustainable future.
Choosing natural materials like organic cotton and linen for jeans, dresses, etc. and recycled materials from existing fabrics are your best choices when selecting clothing for your sustainable wardrobe, as these have fewer negative impacts on the environment compared to new manmade materials.