Did you know that…
- 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry?
- Every year, the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles or half a million tons of plastic microfibers are dumped into the ocean? This comprises about 31% of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
- The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution and is the second-largest consumer of water worldwide?
These are only a few of the staggering facts that concern the state of the global fashion industry. Without conscious effort from both manufacturers and consumers, the threads of what we know to be fashion could start to unravel and reveal its unsustainable side.
It’s not too late, however.
For example, you can do your part by choosing to buy the latest women’s wear collection or other fashion items from a brand that espouses ethical and sustainable fashion.
Indeed, there are ways to become more environmentally conscious about what you wear. Read on and find out how you can build a sustainable wardrobe.
Fast Fashion Is Out of Fashion
The rise of fast fashion has also given way to people just buying clothes with reckless abandon. Fashion houses and giant clothing companies are launching collection after collection, feeding the hunger of those who religiously follow trends. The fast fashion trend offers new styles at a dizzying pace and low prices, but a cost that negatively affects the environment.
This seemingly insatiable thirst for disposable fashion is, unfortunately, drowning our planet in mounds and mounds of clothes.
Clothing production has doubled since 2000, and 85% of these textiles end up in landfills. Just imagine a garbage truck full of clothing being dumped into landfills every second.
That is why there is an urgent call for people to switch to more sustainable clothing practices. The United Nations and some apparel companies and other concerned groups launched the Alliance for Sustainable Fashion in March 2019. This initiative was formed to coordinate efforts in halting environmentally and socially destructive fashion systems.
If you want to heed the call for positive change, you can start by building a sustainable wardrobe.
Just as you buy single-origin coffee from a traditionally owned farm somewhere in Brazil or Ethiopia, you can also support local artisans and clothing brands that champion ethical labor practices and the use of naturally sourced materials.
Here are other tips on how you can slowly but surely build a sustainable and eco-friendly wardrobe:
1. Be Aware of What You Buy
The first step towards a more sustainable wardrobe is to be well informed. Research on sustainable fashion and learn about eco-friendly textiles. Know about manufacturing and fair working conditions. The more you know, the more you will be compelled to stick to a more sustainable lifestyle.
These days, it’s also much easier to find information on sustainable clothing, brands, and shops. You can simply go online and search for the companies that follow an ecologically conscious ethos when creating and producing stylish yet sustainable fashion.
You can also do a quick search or have a brief chat with sales staff on whether the company that produces the garment you’re interested in has an earth-friendly philosophy.
2. Take an Inventory of Your Wardrobe
The next thing you should do is to conduct a closet check. Look at all your clothes and see if there is a recurring theme. Are there cuts, colors, or styles that you favor the most? Take note of this discovery and remember it for future use. It can serve as a guide when purchasing clothes.
Next, conduct an inventory of your wardrobe.
Organize your closet and segregate it according to three bins – those you want to keep, mend or upcycle, and donate. If you find yourself having a hard time letting go of a particular piece, ask yourself if you see yourself wearing it for about thirty more times. If the answer is no, then it’s time to move on.
The sustainable use of clothing can also be done by mixing and matching what you already own. Another way is to alter your old clothes to make them more updated.
Upcycling or creatively reusing your current garments and turning them into something useful can also be another option. Lastly, donating your clothes would not only give you extra space in your closet; it can also help clothe those who need it. Anything you do that won’t lead to these clothes being merely dumped into a landfill can already help.
3. Opt for Quality Over Quantity
When shopping for new clothes, always opt for quality over quantity. Buying a dozen dresses from fast fashion shops could mean cheaper prices, but the use of substandard materials might also mean that you won’t be able to wear them for a long time.
It’s best if you choose high-quality clothes that are ethically made and sustainably sourced. The use of natural fibers over synthetic ones translates to more durable and earth-friendly pieces.
Go for timeless designs that feature excellent craftsmanship. Handmade embroidery or the use of raw materials obtained from renewable sources will be better for you and Mother Earth as well.
Moreover, choose clothing that transcends seasons. There are clothing items that can be worn in the summer but can still be styled as autumn pieces. It all boils down to having some creativity and the drive to support fashion with a purpose.
4. Care for your Clothes
When you buy high-quality clothes, they are more likely to last longer. It also means you are more inclined to take better care of them.
The price tag of what hangs in your closet shouldn’t matter.
Treat all your clothing pieces with care so you will be able to enjoy them for years. When you look after your clothes, shoes, bags, and other fashion items with tender, loving care, the risk of damage is also reduced. Keeping them in good shape will also mean that you don’t need to replace them often.
5. Adjust Your Perspective
Lastly, you need to have a fresh perspective on sustainable fashion. Some people still think that just because it’s organic, it could look ugly.
However, this is no longer the case. With more fashion companies joining the sustainability initiative, eco-friendly fashion is no longer a compromise. You can get classic yet edgy designs with clothes made from eco-textiles like organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp.
Another adjustment would also be on how you think about costs.
Sustainable clothing may come with a premium, but this is because they are made in smaller batches and take longer to produce. Every dollar is equivalent to hours of intricate handiwork from local artisans.
Supporting eco-friendly fashion is about appreciating the inspiration derived by designers from different cultures, the time spent scouring for the best natural fibers, and the meticulous care and attention to detail in producing one article of clothing.
Style, Substance, and Sustainability
The next time you’re eyeing that fabulous dress, ask yourself, “Is this something that can help protect and care for the Earth?”
If it’s not, then it’s probably better to opt for something that makes you look and feel beautiful while also making our planet a healthier place to live in.
Andrea Bertinetti is the Marketing Manager at Scarlett Poppies, a vivacious Dubai-based resort and beachwear brand that offers edgy, easy-breezy, and effortlessly cool pieces designed by a cultural melting pot of designers. Influenced by tribal trends with a touch of Scandinavian flair, the brand’s beachwear styles are always ethereal and minimalistic.