The number one biggest tip to be more sustainable when it comes to fashion? Shop your own wardrobe, and fall back in love with that you already own. Find new ways of styling, upcycling, and repairing your existing pieces to extend their life and keep them out of the landfill.
1. Only buy pieces you see yourself wearing in the years to come
It might be tempting to buy that one statement piece you would love to wear for a special occasion. However, if you are committed to only sustainable fashion pieces, then you might want to consider what you’re planning to buy. Whether it’s a top, skirt, dress, shoes, or an accessory, imagine yourself a few years from now. Would you still want to wear this after that one special occasion? Would you be able to wear it multiple times a year, maybe even a couple of times a month? Truly sustainable pieces should be worn for years, not kept in the wardrobe indefinitely.
2. Support slow fashion
Slow fashion is all about slow production schedules, small-batch collections, and zero waste designs. This term was coined after a 2017 research by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) discovered that thousands of micro synthetic fibers are released into the ocean each time a garment is washed. The same research estimates that almost 35 percent of the microplastics released in marine habitats are from synthetic fibers like polyester, polyethylene, acrylic, and elastane. In this context, supporting slow production of fashion designs would mean fewer microfibers finding their way into oceans and fewer garments in landfills.
3. Go for organic materials
Looking into the materials used to manufacture our clothing is also a sustainable initiative. One of the most eco-friendly materials is ‘organic cotton,’ grown using natural, untreated, GMO-free seeds and is harvested through natural defoliation. Moreover, natural fabrics like organic cotton or organic silk do not shed microplastics into the ocean. In comparison, regular or conventional cotton is typically treated with fungicides or insecticides and is often harvested using toxic chemicals. Many fabrics produced by mass-production facilities may contain microplastics, especially if they are a cotton-polyester blend.
Choosing clothes that are made from organic cotton and other organic materials means you’re saying no to the use of toxic pesticides and chemicals, GMOs, and synthetic fertilizers for the sake of mass production. Sustainability, after all, also considers the impact of resources being used on the rest of the environment.
4. Alter pieces you already own
We want to avoid contributing to overflowing landfills as much as possible. One way to do this is to use a product that we already own for as long as possible. If you own clothes that are too small for you or that you no longer see yourself wearing, you can either donate them or alter them. Channel your creativity, look up ideas on Pinterest, or consult a sewist on how to transform an old fashion piece into a new one you can still wear for years.
5. Discover about brands before buying
Many brands claim to have sustainable products. As eco-conscious consumers, it’s also our responsibility to fact-check these claims. We can visit any brand’s website and look into its sustainability efforts. Brands that promote sustainability in their products and supply chains often make it a point to showcase their manufacturing or production processes in case consumers want to know more.