We all try to do our bit. Now that the climate crisis is more apparent than ever, and the younger generations are becoming more passionate about looking after the planet we live on.
Whether that’s eating less meat to reduce toxic emissions, wearing clothes made from organic cotton to eliminate water waste, or even making that extra trip to the recycling bin for an old milk carton.
While studying my fashion degree, it dawned on me that there was much more that we could do to contribute towards saving the planet than just the small everyday things (that are now hopefully becoming second nature to the majority!)
Upcycling for example. When you’ve got that dress in your wardrobe that you’ve only worn once but there’s pictures on your mates Instagram and your mums Facebook of you wearing it, you don’t fancy wearing it again, its taking up unnecessary space. Don’t fall into the throw away culture trap. Add a belt, cut the straps off, layer it with other items. You don’t have to have a degree in textiles to do this or failing that pass it on to a friend or relative, take it to a charity shop or better yet, make yourself some money and get it on Depop!
Think twice before you buy. The best way to curb wasteful shopping habits is to question your decision at the time, ask yourself Do I Need To Buy This? Is this a product or item you need or is it something you already own or something similar? Being mindful in your purchases can have a huge impact on the planet. Think before buying new too, Can I Buy This Used? Vintage Shops are beginning to take over the high street, take a look!
Support the right brands. More and more fashion brands now take into account environmental and social impact in their processes for example high end brands like Stella McCartney are paving the way for luxury fashion in the Circular Economy by using ethical practices involving recycled materials with no compromise of quality.
Yet, its often assumed that shopping sustainably comes at a greater cost, however that doesn’t always mean a garment with a hefty price tag is going to be more ethical or sustainable either.
High Street brands such as Monki take a cool, conscious approach using recycled and organic cotton as well as being signed up to the Better Cotton Initiative meaning that they are on their way to a more ethical future as a company (at a very good price too!)
Buy better quality. 3 lounge suits for £15 on Pretty Little Thing might sound good at the time but these items are so cheap because they are often single use garments, meaning that after one or two washes they lose their shape, colour and appeal and won’t be fit for purpose anymore. That being said, this can also happen with expensive clothing too but if we shop a little smarter and push brands a little further to improve their quality this means we can buy clothes that we can have for longer which is good for the environment and our finances!
Green clean. How we wash our clothes contributes to both the longevity of our clothing and also masses of water waste, as the average household does around 400 loads of laundry a year using over 13,000 gallons of water (EnergySta.Gov)
Wearing an item more than once can be impactful, this doesn’t go for everything of course (socks and underwear for sure!) Try washing your clothes on a colder wash, skip the dryer and use green detergent.
Green detergents use ingredients that are good for your clothes and the ecosystem, phosphates in conventional laundry soaps can cause negative effects on the aquatic ecosystem and marine life too. This may sound like a laborious task when shopping but if you can look out for terms such as ‘eco-friendly’ ‘phosphate-free’ and or ‘biodegradable’.
Lastly, if you can, hang your clothes to dry and eliminate tumble dryer usage. Overusing tumble dryers for your clothes uses so much energy and emits tonnes of carbon dioxide as well as shortening your clothes’ lifecycle, so overall this can have a huge impact.
Understandably, these are all pretty big changes to introduce to your lifestyle if they’re not already in place unless you’re superhuman and or have a lot of time on your hands! But small steps make big differences and if we all do our bit, we can make the world cleaner and greener.
Contribution from Jess Davidson of The Very Group