It’s been very easy to get into the habitat of unthinkingly buying new clothes when there’s low costs and prices are low. However due to the high cost to the environment, it’s time we reimagined our relationship with fashion, starting at home.
Here are some simple, quick ways to get more wear out of clothes, clean them responsibly and what to look for if buying something…
1. Re-consider old pieces before making new purchases
Before making a new pruchse, re-consider old pieces of clothing to see if you any get any more wear out of them. Think about the ‘cost per wear principle’ which reflects the rate that items are worm per their price. For instance, jeans have a cost per wear ratio of around 9p. If the number of times a garment is worn doubles, the greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime would be 44% lower. Older clothes also tend to be better quality and are less likely to release as many microfibres than newer clothes.
2. Choose well
If you do need to make a purchase, try buying clothes that are made from natural fibres such as organic cotton, wool, hemp, linen, bamboo, cork and silk as these will eventually break down into the environment, while clothes made from synthetic fabrics will release microfibres that with remain in the environment indefinitely. You can try our handy guide to sustainable fabrics to help you get to know the common natural and synthetic fabrics.
Note: although fabrics such as cotton are natural fibres – sometimes their production can use high levels of pesticide and chemical pollutants. In this case, have a look for certifications associated with sustainable and ethical textile production that tell us that the fibres were grown and process without chemicals and that ensure fair pay and safe conditions for workers. We recommend keeping an eye out for these certifications below:
3. Upcycle clothing and get creative!
You can always upcycle clothing you already have. Using a lint shaver can easily get rid of annoying bobbly bits on old jumpers and help make them look good as new!
Alternatively, you can use whatever you like to re-vamp old clothes. For intstance, you could try painting on the back of an old jacket, or sew in new patches of material to switch up your looks -whatever works for you!
4. Create your own swap shop social
If your clothes still aren’t doing it for you, why not organise a swap shop with your friends and/or community group. This involves everyone bringing a bag of old clothes, putting them all into a pile and then letting everyone lose.
This enables you to get new clothes, recirculate your old ones and gives you an oppotunity to meet up with friends -plus you never know what new treasures you might find!
5. Make your washing practice more sustainable
Oil-based fibres are used to produce synthetic fabrics such as nylon or polyester. However, manufacturing, washing and drying these manmade materials makes them shed pieces called microfibres. Microfibres are fragments of fibres smaller than 5 mm that can break down into even smaller nano-sized particles. Too small to be caught by our current wastewater management systems, they end up entering our ecosystems, creating negative impacts for wildlife, and eventually even making their way back to our plates
Around 1 load of washing containing synthetic materials releases around 700,000 of these microplastics. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as there are some novel ways we can try reduce the amount of microplastics produced from our washing. Click here to read our blog post on how to make your washing practice nore sustainable.