I want to discuss four areas which are considered to be the foundation of a sustainable wardrobe.
The first foundation of a sustainable wardrobe is ” Wear”
The first one and I think the most important is wear. This means buying clothes that you are actually going to wear. The reality is most people have clothes in their closet that never get worn. Studies have found people regularly wear only about 40 percent of their closet and a survey done by Marks and Spencer found that one out of 20 women had 50 items or more in their closet but still had the tags on impulse shopping is a huge problem. So, a really important part of a sustainable wardrobe is buying clothes that you are actually going to wear. I really like 30 where`s a campaign which was created by Eco-Age which basically just encourages people to only buy clothes that you can commit to wearing at least thirty times. No matter what the item is before buying something new ask yourself questions like where will I wear this? What will I wear? Is it something that I think is going to be out of style in a few months? And how long can I really see myself using this piece?
The second foundation is ” Quality”
Next is quality, most people think that quality equals price and while they can be related it`s not a guarantee something that`s very expensive could be very poor quality and something that`s pretty cheap could be very good quality. The important thing to do is inspect garments turn them inside out, look at the stitching is it lose? Are there loose threads does it look like it`s going to break or come apart? What`s the fabric like? Is it very thin? Does it look like it`s going to pill or wear easily?
Quality is really important because you want pieces that are going to last. If you have already decided that this is a piece that you`re going to wear a lot then it needs to last.
The third is ” Care”
The next thing is care and care is really important because properly caring for your clothes not only helps them last longer but how you care for your clothes is also a big part of their environmental impact. Things like using cold or low temperatures, air drying, using delicate bags for sensitive materials, and handwashing, all really increase the life of your clothes. Fabrics and especially materials with spandex are incitive to heat which causes them to break down, stretch out and just generally wear out a lot faster.
Also, the water and energy to clean clothes is a big part of its environmental impact, so doing things like using cold water or air drying is not only a lot better for your clothes but it`s also a lot more sustainable.
Finally, another part of caring for your clothes is mending. There are so many things that can be easily fixed, like reefs owing on buttons, fixing little holes, patching things over-dyeing clothes if they become discolored, these are easy fixes and don’t mean that those clothes have to be thrown away.
The fourth foundation is ” Garment`s next life”
The final foundation of a sustainable wardrobe is thinking about your garment`s next life. So, what happens to your clothes after you are done with them? You should never throw clothes away! A lot of textiles can be recycled and clothes that are in good shape should be donated that someone else can use them. And again, when you buy new clothes you should also be thinking about what`s going to happen to that item when you are done with it? Is it maybe recyclable? Is it biodegradable? Is it really good quality so that most likely somebody else can use it for a long time? Textile waste is a huge problem, a really important part of a sustainable wardrobe is considering the whole life cycle of that garment.
Those are the four areas that I consider to be the foundation of a sustainable wardrobe, and these are things that I think we can all think about and work on. It doesn’t matter what your budget is or if you have access to sustainable fashion brands, I think quite often when we think sustainable fashion, we think that means buying from sustainable brands, but that is such a small part of it, we can have a huge impact with our wardrobes by thinking about what we are buying, making sure stuff that we are actually going to wear, how we are using and caring for our clothes and what we are doing with them when we are done with them. This might be the less glamorous part of sustainable fashion but I would argue it`s the most important and you can’t have a sustainable wardrobe without these things because even you are buying from conscious brands, if you are consuming massive amounts of clothes, you are not caring for them, you are throwing them away, then that`s not a sustainable wardrobe.
I hope that maybe it made you see sustainable fashion bit differently and a different area that we can have an impact on our wardrobes. I`d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.