Sustainable Fashion 101 | A Beginners Guide to Sustainable Fashion

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

It's time to change the way we shop!


source: unsplash

Something I saw a lot of people talking about last year was sustainable fashion. One of my resolutions this year is to be more intentional with my spending and aware of how my purchases are affecting the environment. Over the last few weeks, I have been researching sustainable fashion, which has lead me to write this blog post.

We live in a time where the world is at our fingertips, we have so many retailers that we can access from our phones which makes it all too easy to online shop. This coupled with next day delivery means our consumption has lead to the fashion industry producing over 100 billion new garments per year. We’ve all been there when you’ve got a night out coming up and need a new outfit, it’s so easy to just go on a clothing app the evening before and place an order. Often your new outfit is delivered the next morning barely 12 hours from when you placed the order.

But has amazing as all of this is it’s not sustainable. The garment industry has become the second biggest polluter in the world, which is crazy to think about. I would never have realised this before doing my research.


source: unplash


How is the garment industry polluting the environment?


I’m going to try and keep this brief because there are so many ways the environments being affected! 
Here are a few facts I found: 

* Cotton production requires a large amount of water and pesticides, both of which are bad for the environment. 

* The world's 8th largest supplier of cotton is Kazakhstan and due to this, the Aral Sea is drying up. Which has made the local climate hotter, affected locals health and reduced the number of jobs in the area. The picture below shows the Aral sea in 1989 (left) and in 2014 (right).




Image result for aral sea
source: Wikipedia

* 300,000 tonnes of clothes are dumped in landfill each year.

* Microfibres being washed out of synthetic fabrics contributes to the build of plastic in rivers and oceans.

* In some parts of the world factories are dumping chemicals into rivers which has lead to a lack of clean drinking water for locals and if changes aren’t made could also eventually affect us in the UK.




All of these facts came from a documentary I watched has part of my research, which was Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashions Dirty Secrets, I definitely recommend you watch the documentary if you want to learn more (you can watch it here) it’s mind-blowing to see how much of an impact our purchases are actually having on the environment.

All of this means we need to change our spending habits and our approach to consuming clothes.





source: unsplash




So what can we do to make difference?


There are so many things we can all do to minimise the impact on the environment and they’re all really easy to start implementing in your life.
    * Shop less, buy better. - Reducing the number of clothes we buy, and when we do shop, buying higher quality clothes that will stand the test of time can make a big difference and can also help decrease the number of clothes that end up in landfill.
    * Be more selective with who we purchase from. - Being more mindful of the companies we buy from is so important. Which means buying from less fast fashion brands and more sustainable fashion brands. Unfortunately, many of the popular clothing websites fall into the fast fashion category. To find out how sustainable your favourite clothing sites are and to discover more sustainable clothing sites, you can use the Good On You app (it also tells you how ethical a brand is). I’ve been using the app myself and it’s definitely come in handy. You can get the app here.
    * Buy less fast fashion and more timeless pieces that won’t go out of style. Similar to buying high-quality pieces this will reduce the number of clothes leaving your wardrobe.
    * Don’t worry about trends - I feel like this needs to be said, you don’t have to buy into every trend just because it’s in style if you don’t know if you’ll actually wear it then don’t buy it.  Also, just because something's gone out of style doesn’t mean you need to get rid of it immediately if you still like it keep wearing it. Be your own trendsetter!
    * Don’t treat your clothes as disposable as this will lessen their life span.
* Never throw clothes away - instead, you can:
    * Donate them to charity 
    * Sell them on an app like Depop (download here)
    * Do a clothes swap with your friends
    * Look into reworking them - I’ll talk more about this in a future post.

    * Take care of your clothing to lengthen their life span - This is something I’m going to talk more about in my next post.

* Shop your own wardrobe and make the most of the clothes you’ve got. I’ll also be talking about this in my next post.

I wanted this post to be a simple guide to sustainable fashion so I hope you find it useful.

Let me know in the comments if you have any tips for buying more sustainably and if there are any sustainable fashion brands I need to try.




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