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Image from Reformation
The term ‘sustainable fashion’ may seem overwhelming at times, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. Sustainability is defined as ‘the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.’ So, when we talk sustainable fashion, we’re saying we want to create fashion in a way that impacts the environment as little as possible, without disrupting any natural resources. But sustainable fashion is never 100% sustainable. It’s impossible to produce one piece of clothing without leaving some sort of footprint behind, but it is possible to choose fashion that takes lighter steps.
Sustainable fashion doesn’t have to be scary, it’s actually quite simple when you think about it.
Here are a few steps you can take if you’re looking to introduce sustainability into your wardrobe.
1. Look at what you already own
Ask yourself these questions while you look. Do you like everything in your closet? Do you wear everything in your closet? Do you have pieces that you haven’t worn in more than 6 months? Can you live without them? Can you upcycle an item into something different? If it’s not clothing, can you use this textile for other purposes like dusting around your home?
2. Make 3 piles
3. Donate/Give Away
Go through your closet and find what fits into each category. The ‘keep’ pile is pretty self-explanatory, and it could also include items that you love but need some repairing. Try to fix it yourself or bring it to someone who can!
Sell your clothing to your friends, on Instagram or sites like Depop or Poshmark. For the things that end up in the ‘donate/give away’ pile, check if your friends or family want any of them and give the rest away to a notable charity.
3. Clothing Swaps
Clothing swaps are great for the giveaway pile. Plan a swap with a group of friends. You can swap your clothing for something ‘new to you’ and vice versa.
4. Swap fast fashion for second hand
Not only is thrift shopping cheap, it’s sustainable. You’re literally taking clothing right out of the waste stream when you buy second hand. If you don’t feel like digging through racks of clothing, hit up a vintage store instead. They curate the cute pieces for you, so you don’t have to search for ages.
Salvation Army Thrift Store
5. When shopping…
Ask yourself a few questions before purchasing something. How does this fit into my closet? Do I need it? Will I wear it more than once? Having just a handful of statement pieces in your closet and more staple yet versatile ones make it easier to pick out an outfit in the morning. (Less stress on what to wear, more time to grab coffee before starting the day)
6. Shop sustainable brands
Shopping for new sustainable clothing can be expensive, but when you think about why it’s expensive, it’s because these brands use materials that aren’t harmful for the environment, and they don’t exploit their workers in the process.
Well known brands like Reformation and Everlane are just a few of the brands fighting for a more sustainable fashion industry. A simple internet search can bring up brands that are right for you.
So, start off the new year with these 6 steps for a sustainable wardrobe of your own. And remember, small steps are better than none.
Written by Cara Presta