We’ve all seen the “reduce, reuse, recycle” message time and time again, but how can we feasibly incorporate these into our daily lives? Of course, committing to everyday practices that embrace reducing, reusing, and recycling is ideal but fighting the fast fashion industry is far more complex than just ‘not buying’. Quite frankly, it’s unsustainable to think that we can stop all forms of purchasing in an instant.
So, what can we do?
As a fashion enthusiast, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of wanting to follow the latest trends and buying the latest “it-girl” outfits. But who really needs every single new release? The inconvenient truth is that the cycle of waste production must be broken by us, the consumers! Overconsumption is often seen as the norm for fashion-forward individuals, so here are a few ways to reduce your fashion waste.
Repair and repurpose
A rip in the seam of your jeans or a broken zipper doesn’t have to mean that the life of your beloved clothes have come to an end. The internet is your friend; you can teach yourself some new techniques for repairing rips and holes online and most solutions only require a needle and thread.
Repairing your clothes doesn’t have to mean restoring them to their original condition either. Accidental paint splatter or bleach damage on your favourite jeans? Why not turn them into a customised pair of acid washed jeans? Holes that look too big to just stitch back up… maybe you can add your own twist with fabric scraps or some crocheted details. Let your inner seamstress free!
Watch your wash cycle
The way you wash and care for your clothes is just as important when it comes to sustainable choice-making. You might be inclined to think that investing in organic materials and garments with less plastic fabrics is the best solution but what about those pieces you already have and love? Well, it’s all in the washing or lack of (more on that later)!
Research shows that the energy used to heat the water and run the dry cycle contributes massively to our individual carbon footprint. Delicates (lace, chiffon, rayon, etc.) and sportswear (sweat-wicking materials) hold up better and last longer when washed inside out, in mesh laundry bags, at lower temperatures. Opting out of using your dryer entirely not only reduces your energy usage but also saves you money.
Now, stay with us for a minute if you’re confused by our suggestion of washing your clothes less. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everything (underwear and socks, for example!) but an easy way to maintain your clothes is by washing them less frequently. Simply doing less laundry reduces your environmental impact too.
In our previous blog post we mentioned that buying second-hand isn’t always second best. WRAP found that 350,000 tonnes of clothing end up in UK landfills annually, with up to 89% of this waste being in reusable condition! Parting ways with your rarely worn clothes by donating them to the local charity shop can give your clothes a second life with someone else. When looking to add to your wardrobe collection, aim to purchase second-hand clothes. Not only can you can rescue clothes that might have otherwise ended up in landfill, it’ll likely be kinder to your bank account, and help you achieve a more unique look.
Do the best you can
Living sustainably isn’t – and shouldn’t – be a competition. The policing and gatekeeping of eco-perfectionism can be quite overwhelming but we want to let you know that what you are doing is enough!
Making the switch to living sustainably is all about evaluating your life and doing your best to control what you can. Doing your part by reducing your individual environmental impact by being conscious consumers is good for the environment, your wallet, and you! Let’s take that first step in creating the socially responsible world we want to live in, together.
One small change you can make is to sign up here to be the first to hear about our next collection of secondhand activewear here - we only use recycled packaging and 5% of profits go to Women’s Aid.