With fashion being one of those industries that changes so rapidly, it is important for brands to get their clothes out as soon as possible. They are generally affordable and in style, but with this need to have the latest trends in stock, sustainability is not their priority. With Instagram and Facebook’s popularity growing constantly, many believe that “outfit repeating” is a major sin, with some people avoiding posting two photos with the same outfit.
There are so many things wrong with the fashion industry. Generally, their work and factory conditions are terrible, they are the second greatest polluter after oil, and the process of making clothes uses tons water. Generally, to make one cotton t-shirt uses 3 years worth of drinking water, thats 2700 litres! If you would like to know more about the ethical side of fashion, I would recommend watching the Netflix documentary, The True Cost. It explores the shocking behind the scenes of how the clothes we wear get made, and the impacts it has on so many people.
In terms of being sustainable, it is easy for someone to cut out straws, or plastic drink bottles, but being eco conscious when buying clothing is a lot more challenging. If you want to buy clothes that are sustainable, here is a list from Our Planet of 6 best sustainable fashion brands for women, and a list from Eco Warrior Princess for men. Also, online shops like ASOS have an Eco Brands section with a wide variety of recycled vintage and sustainable brands.
As amazing as it is to buy clothes that come from sustainable companies, I think that it’s more important to actually think about what we are buying, and whether we actually need it. A major part of being sustainable, is shopping for what we need, reducing post consumer waste is super important. It is not a bad thing to buy brands that are less sustainable than others, but make sure they will last you a long time. Many people buy clothes from large retailers like Kmart, because they’re affordable. But they are terrible quality and trust me, they wont last long at all. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 85% of textiles bought buy Australians in 2016 end up in landfill around the country. This can mainly be attributed to one fact; cheap things break.
We can avoid post consumer waste by buying things that will last. Instead of buying a lot of cheap clothes every two months, save that money and buy some good quality clothes that will last. When you pick up a piece of clothing at the shops, just ask yourself, will this last me at least 10 years? If you think it will, then it should be okay to buy.
Emma Watson is an amazing role model for many things, from woman equality to sustainable fashion. What I love about her, is that she uses her celebrity status to drive change. In 2015, she singed up for the Green Carpet Challenge, stating that every single piece of clothing she will wear on the red carpet will be sustainable. @the_press_tour was set up by Emma to showcase and credit all the brands and artists that she wears, from ‘outfits of the day’ to red carpet looks.
She teamed up with Calvin Klein to create this amazing gown for the Met Gala ball 2017. This dress was made with organic materials, and recycled plastic bottles. Even though Calvin Klein don’t have an amazing sustainability rating at the moment, they are taking baby steps to achieve a more eco friendly clothing line, by becoming a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. However, they are still lagging behind with labour conditions and animal care.
In some cases, giving your “out of season” clothes to Vinnies or Salvos is a great idea and they will likely get resold in the future. But so many times, these charity stores are sent clothes that are unsellable, and will likely be thrown out if they can’t be sold. One way you can stop this is to stop donating trash. This means anything that has holes, missing buttons or is just in terrible condition. It is just going to end up in land fill.
The best thing that you can do if you have old clothes in bad condition, keep them and upcycle them. This means making a old shirt into a stylish dress. It doesn’t take much to make something old, look new and fashionable again. If you do this, it also means you will have a new and unique piece of clothing that no one else will have! The whole vintage trend is really in right now, so if you can achieve this look from your old pieces of clothing, then not only have you reduced waste, but you’ll have saved money too!
I have learn’t so much by writing this post, and am definitely going to make some changes in the way I shop. I hope it has inspired you to do the same! I’ll also be doing some DIY posts in the future showing you ways that you can restyle old pieces of clothing, making them look new again!