The fast fashion industry is one of the most damaging to the planet. While few organisations can agree on the exact impact it has, everyone agrees that it needs to adapt in order to mitigate its negative impact.
The fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year and it’s estimated that it uses around 1.5 trillion litres of water annually. On top of this, the industry expels chemicals as a byproduct of manufacturing. These chemicals are frequently found to be entering the fresh water supply, which means these clothes are directly impacting our health.
Until the industry starts to take accountability for the impact it has, we can make changes at home to reduce how much we add to the need for cheap and fast clothing.
Buy Second Hand Clothes
Shopping for second hand clothes used to have a stigma attached to it. Now, it’s the responsible and fashionable thing to do. With sites like Thrift+ and Vinted you can even shop second hand from the comfort of your home. There’s nothing quite like finding the dress of your dreams at a local charity shop either. You get a bargain and normalising buying second hand sends the message that we don’t need more cheap clothing in the market. By choosing second hand it’s estimated that with about 600 kilos of used clothes bought there will be a reduction of 2250 kilos of CO2 emissions, 3.6 billion litres of water saved and the equivalent of 144 trees planted.
Shop your own closet
How many times have you sorted through your wardrobe and picked something up that has the tags on? We’ve definitely done it, I’m willing to bet there’s something in our wardrobe that has the tags on. We buy things for special occasions, keep things we’ll fit into someday and hold on to sentimental items. This means that chances are whatever outfit you’re trying to make, you already have exactly what you need. Shopping your own wardrobe saves the planet and saves your bank balance, definitely make it a habit to shop your own wardrobe before you hit the shops.
Looking for the perfect dress to wear to that wedding or fancy do? Instead of buying an expensive dress or suit you’ll only wear once – rent it! There are plenty of services online where you can shop for the perfect outfit to borrow. You’ll only wear it once, so why spend all of your cash and contribute to the production of more clothing.
A quick look online and you’ll be able to find a service near you. You’ll be amazed at what you can borrow and how much you can save. What’s not to like!
What do you do with your old clothes or clothes you don’t really like anymore? Let them take up space in your wardrobe? Throw them away?
According to the charity WRAP the value of unused clothing in wardrobes has been estimated at around £30 billion.
Considering the amount of damage the clothing industry does to our environment, this cycle of buying excessively and throwing away is not sustainable. In order to prevent clothes going to landfill we have some things you can do to give your clothes a new lease of life.
This is quite literally the oldest trick in the book. Previously clothes would be altered to suit the new fashion, longer and fuller skirts could be taken up and taken in so they could be enjoyed again and again.
With modern clothing this often can’t be done due to the material used and the style of the original piece, modern details such as cut outs and sheer panels can make alterations tricky. However, it can be done! Shirts with damage can become crop tops, tank tops or even bandeau tops depending on the fabric. Turning jeans into shorts for summer is a classic upcycle that you only need scissors to do as denim doesn’t fray.
Instead of throwing clothes away, take this opportunity to practice your sewing skills. The more you do it, the easier it gets and if you’re unsure YouTube always has tutorials to help.
What to do with socks?
In a previous life socks would be darned and repaired again and again. Unfortunately this skill is fading from memory and most people wouldn’t know a darning mushroom if it tripped them up.
Instead of throwing away older socks, repurpose the material into a heating pad.
- Turn the sock inside out and sew closed any holes from damage.
- Fill the sock about halfway with rice and either tie the end of the sock or sew it closed if you don’t have the material.
- Insert this sock into the other one from the pair knot or seam first.
- Microwave for 1 – 2 minutes being sure to make sure that it doesn’t smoke or burn.
This little heat pad will work wonders for sore necks and back pain. Just don’t keep it on for more than 15 – 30 minutes at a time.
T-shirts are often bought very cheaply and this means they stop looking good fast. Think of the £3 ones from Primark where after a few washes the hem unravels and somehow you get holes in it. If you don’t want to wear it as a T-Shirt anymore, you’ve got yourself a few yards of material that you can transform.
Depending on where the damage is to the T-Shirt you could turn it into a baby grow, a tote bag or if the damage is far too extensive you can turn it into reusable rags for around the home. A quick trip to pinterest will show you the many ways you can turn your t-shirt into something useful.
The thing to remember when it comes to clothes is that it’s ultimately fabric. Fabric can be repurposed into so many different things that there is no reason to throw away any clothing. Turn old clothes into scrunchies, glasses cases and quilts if you’re having a big clear out.
If something cannot be donated, then it absolutely should not be going to landfill. Keep hold of those smaller pieces to turn into stuffing and make cat toys, absolutely everything can be reused down to the thread and spare buttons.
Don’t be intimidated by sewing there are a million tutorials online and the best way to get better is to practice, what better way to learn than by using old material in your wardrobe that would have previously gone in the bin.