Buy from secondhand stores
Don’t get me wrong, the low prices of H&M or Forever 21 are tempting if you want to keep up with trends without it costing your paycheck. However, fast fashion is one of the worst industries for the environment. In the United States alone, more than 10.5 million tons of clothing end up in landfills every year. In fact, according to Newsweek our clothing consumption is “creating an environmental crisis”. Instead of continually buying new items that aren’t made to last, buy secondhand. There are plenty of great pieces you can find for a fraction of the price. When shopping, aim for quality, durable pieces. If you like what you find but it doesn’t quite fit the way you want, remember you can always get something altered or hemmed.
Opt for natural fibers
When shopping, check the tag for which materials are used to make the piece. Avoid synthetic materials made of plastic, such as polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex, and nylon. Such fabrics are made from fossil fuels and shed plastic microfibers when they’re washed. These microfibers from our laundry end up in the ocean and wreak havoc on marine life. When possible, opt for items made from natural fibers such as cotton, linen, hemp, or bamboo, which are biodegradable.
Wash synthetic fabrics in a Guppyfriend
To reduce plastic microfiber pollution, wash your synthetic fabrics less often, and when you do, use a Guppyfriend Washing Bag. The Guppyfriend blocks plastic microfibers from escaping into our water systems. You can buy one from Patagonia online or in stores.
Go through your closet with a fashion consultant
To make the most of what you already have, and gain clarity for your purchasing decisions, consider making an appointment with a fashion consultant. Not only can this help you minimize your closet by only keeping what you really need, but also can help you rediscover and restyle pieces you had forgotten about. Coming soon: an article about Summer’s experience with Erin Keam, Seattle’s “wardrobe therapist” and creator of The Happy Wardrobe.
Throw a clothing swap party with friends
For a fun weekend activity and a way to freshen up your closet, gather up a bag of clothes you don’t want any more, invite your friends to do the same and swap! It’s an easy, fun and free way to a new wardrobe! Coming soon: an article about Summer and my experience hosting our own!
Repair rather than replace
Nothing lasts forever, when your favorite pieces get holes or tears, see what you can do to repair the item first. Keeping a small sewing kit handy can go a long way to get the most out of your favorite pieces. For certain pieces you can also convert it into another item. Take an old pair of jeans for example, if the legs are stained or torn, cut them into shorts.
Repurpose old clothing
If your favorite jeans are damaged or stained, cut off the legs and turn them into shorts. Have old, worn out tights? Try one of these 20 uses for them. Old shirt that has seen better days? Cut it into rags. There are so many uses for old clothes that you can consider before just throwing them out.
Fashion Revolution is a great resource for information on ethical and sustainable fashion. To read their latest two publications, find the free e-versions at:
- Fashion Revolution fanzine #002 LOVED CLOTHES LAST
- Fashion Revolution fanzine #003 FASHION ENVIRONMENT CHANGE
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