To mark the end of sustainable fashion week 2019, we have laid out 6 simple steps you can make towards increasing your wardrobes sustainability. This week marks the sixth anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh. From this, the social media revolution #whomademyclothes has taken off. This transparency is something sand & palm pride ourselves on and we want you to understand why.
So here are 6 easy tips on how to make your wardrobe more environmentally friendly:
1. Buy sustainable
Focusing on buying from sustainable fashion companies is a solid first step towards making yourself a greener wardrobe. This means buying from brands that pride themselves on using sustainable and recycled materials for their products and packaging as well as all the production processes in-between. This usually suggests they're more of an independent brand with clear and transparent sources. These companies should be open about each step of their products’ creation because they are proud of the investment they’ve made into these, previously hidden, corners of the industry. This can include socially responsible and charitable backgrounds as well as smaller more local shops. Knowing where your new clothing has come from is a massive part of identifying its sustainability and with these types of outlets this should be made easy.
2. Shop charity, second hand and vintage
This is a pretty simple one. Instead of walking into the big fashion retailers on your high-street try choosing the charity or vintage shops. The idea of thrifting and wearing retro clothes has majorly come back into fashion in the last few years. So, instead of trying to recreate that vintage “I’m wearing my Granddad’s jumper” with a new fast fashion look-a-like try and find an authentic and original piece. Having clothes with history and character, that isn't readily available online is back in. Not only is this look now trendy but its also saving the planet. Buying second hand cuts the whole production process out meaning no new CO2 emissions (apart from potential transport), no dye polluting the water ways and no intensive, cheap labour. Plus you are way less likely to see someone wearing the exact same thing.
3. Slow fashion over fast fashion
The majority of retailers we see online now are fast fashion houses. This means they are likely to have a business model that focuses on cheap price with low product costs and enormous supply, all to generate high profits. Slow fashion brands are similar to sustainable fashion brands in a sense. They tend to bring out collections, wait for them to sell out and then start again. This cuts down on the material and stock waste that comes with the majority of big fashion companies. You may also come across brands that work on a pre-order basis and therefore only create items when they are demanded; again leading to no dead stock. Clothing waste has become a big issue in the past year, with even some big designers found burning they're leftover stock at the end of the season. Slow fashion will usually focus on natural fibres like cotton or wool and may even be using organic materials. In composting circumstances these natural materials tend to break down in 6 to 12 months. This is compared to the cheap, synthetic materials, used in most of our clothes nowadays, which can take hundreds of years to break up. However most of our old clothes don't go to compost, the end up in landfill. The lack of respiration in landfill sites prevents anything from being broken up or down quickly. This is the aim of slow fashion, to minimise the waste.
This brings us onto our 4th tip…
4. Donate to clothes banks not in the bin
Landfill contain’s toxic chemicals, produces greenhouse gasses and allows leachate to seep into the environment. Textile recycling points or becoming more and more common but even better than that - donate your unwanted clothes. Clothes banks and charity shops are also looking for more stock and this way you are helping those in need, as well as our planet.
5. Clothes Swap
Something we are all guilty of; borrowing your friends’ favourite top for a night out and returning it a mere 5 months later. But why do we love borrowing clothes? Because it makes us feel like we have a new item in our wardrobe! So instead of borrowing lets start swapping. This way you are literally refreshing your wardrobe without spending any money and you are both benefiting. If one of your best friends has that top you really wanted then whats the point in buying it new, swap it. As the sustainable fashion revolution takes off this is becoming possible on a larger scale. Not only can you do this with your friends but take your clothes to big, organised events and swap them out for someone else’s loved clothing as well.
6. Re-wear or customise
Finally we have the most obvious tip. Re-wear your clothes. It seems simple but we have all been there - deciding not to wear one of your favourite items of clothing because you “wear it too much”. This social ideal has to go. If you feel good in something then show it, wear it as much as possible and be confident. You love it for a reason so benefit from that.
This also ties in the revamping of old clothes. This could entail cutting an old baggy t-shirt into a cropped one, making your worn jeans into shorts or dying your faded trousers back to their original colour. Creating an old item of clothing into a new one is one of the quickest ways to get a new look.
I hope you can take some inspiration from the steps that I've found the easiest to create a more green wardrobe. If you have any more tips you want to share than tell us; we are all in this process together !!