Thursday, 10 September 2015

5 Ways to be more Sustainable with Fashion - The Closet Conundrum

Sustainability is a big buzz word these days. In a nutshell, it asks us to slow down consuming the ressources of the Earth the way we are at the moment in order to not destroy the planet. Be mindful of how and what you are using, whether it is food, clothing, transportation, etc. This doesn't equate to deprive yourself, but to making good & thoughtful choices about what to spend your money, time and energy on.

I'm in the process of reading "Wear no Evil - How to Change the World With Your Wardrobe" because this topic has long since interested me and if you've been following along for a while, you know it's been mentioned before here and there. For example, one of my reasons for "Why I Love Thrifting" was exactly that. Sustainability.

Often people will say "Eh but it's only me. My decisions can't change the world.". Maybe. Or maybe not. If you change some habits, you contribute to the change, together with others who do their part. And who knows, doing your thing you might just inspire others directly around you to re-think their habits, thus creating a ripple effect. You also don't need to overhaul your whole life in one swoop fell. Little steps are wonderful. One habit after the other. Do what works for you & your life. There's no one rule or mold to fit 'em all. Just start somewhere.

1. Buy Less

There. Of course. No brainer, right? Buy less, buy better quality, buy smarter. Don't haul everytime you go into a store or buy online. Try to find out if you can narrow down your personal style, so maybe you don't actually feel like running after every shiny thing. Know what you already possess and be realistic about how many of item X you are actually wearing any given month. Not theoretically able to wear, but actually wearing. Never thought about it? Try paying attention as an experiment.

2. Buy Second-Hand

Or Pre-Loved if you prefer. It sounds nicer, more sophisticated maybe. Try to be a smart shopper here too and invest your money into pieces that can work for a long time, that you will want to wear for a long time. At the beginning of my thrifting, I made the mistake of raking up just about anything that was slightly fancy but a lot of these things went either unworn/unused or saw very little action. Whilst that didn't hurt me too much money wise, I still had useless for me stuff in my house/closet.

Or organize clothing swaps with other people like me and my sisters do regularly.

3. Re-Use

Re-use what you already have. Be creative about it, it doesn't have to remain the same. Here is a list of inspiration on how to repurpose & refashion your boring clothes that I posted some time ago.

4. Buy from X

Buy from brands that are producing ecological, with sustainability and fairness in mind, words and deeds. Whilst some years ago there wasn't a lot of fashionable choices on the market, as it was very niche, nowadays you can be stylish and do good. Case in point, remember Ikwetta. Additionally, many bigger brands have or start to introduce bio/eco/fair clothing lines. Buying from these will tell them that yes, costumers care about where and how and with what their clothing was made.

"Every time you bring a piece of clothing up to the register, you are making a choice"
Greta Eagan

Here is the "Wear No Evil"-Pledge that gives a very simple list of what factors to look out for when making fashion choices. No need to take it just yet, but please take a quick look to learn at a glance about some key points.

5. Washing

Wash smart, wash less. No I'm not saying go stinky or dirty, but if stuff is neither after wearing it once, hang it up orderly, let it take a bit of air and wear it again. I concede that during hot months, this isn't doable for tops for me, but bottoms always get at least a second or third round.

Don't let the machine run when it's still half empty, don't wash stuff on max allowed temperature just because the label says so. Especially if there are no difficult stains or extensive sweating involved. Use less detergent (and better yet, use bio or homemade one). My father used to work in a plant of a known detergent & hygiene products brand and he told us the label is on purpose going for higher quantities. Now this is just anecdotal evidence for sure, but I've tried it at home and it works for me, so it might work for you too. Personally, I use detergents of a bio brand and funny enough they are actually cheaper than the big brand normal ehr fancy products.

Edit: Sabine remarks that it's also possible to use a lower spin number and I would like to add that if you have the possibility, air dry your laundry.

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