5 Easy Ways You Can Be More Sustainable With Fashion
Try out this quiz to see how impactful your carbon footprint is in regards to your fashion consumption. Fashion Footprint Quiz
1. Get to know the brands you consume and how they deal with the carbon footprint they leave. It is our responsibility as consumers to make a change with our buying power.
2. Buy higher-quality pieces that will last years, and buy less frequently. For me, the easiest switch to start with was denim. I wear jeans almost every single day and throughout high school and even my first year of university, I was shopping denim based on the trends, rather than pieces that will last a long time and can be worn many times over with a multitude of outfits. My favourite denim is Levis, they have all of the cuts that I like and they last (I still have a pair of black skinnies from 7 years ago). Filling your closet with basics that can be styled with different accessories and last is much more sustainable than buying major trendy pieces that will not last longer than a year.
3. Follow washing instructions (or just buy things that are easy to wash). I spent some time working at a sustainable brand, a fast-fashion boutique, and a lingerie shop, a big concern from many of the customers was that their pieces were not lasting after going through the washing machine. This made me much more conscious about the clothes I was taking home in order to preserve them for as long as possible. If having all of these conditions seems as though it will be too much time and effort put into doing laundry (because who really wants to handwash all of their garments in the tub?) then make sure to check those washing labels before you buy. Follow the washing instructions on the tags and try to wash less frequently, unless completely necessary. If you only have small stains, try spot cleaning rather than running a full load of laundry. The average US household does around 5-6 loads of laundry per week, which creates 55 lbs of CO2 emissions. Not only does less washing help the environment, but it also makes your clothing last longer and stay brighter. As for damage, try to shop for sustainable brands like Patongia and Lululemon that will even repair your garments if there is wear and tear.
4. Thrift, shop second hand online, or exchange with your friends. Thrifting is a great way to get new pieces sustainably and for a great price. Usually, you'll find pieces that are extremely unique to what is generally seen in stores and gives you a great opportunity to experiment with different brands and styles. This applies also to the inverse, selling your items on a platform such as Poshmark or Depop are the best option, as you can be sure that the items will go directly to a consumer that wants them, rather than risking that they will be discarded (this often happens at many thrift stores).
5. Don't purchase animal products. Faux products have gotten so much better over the years that to the eye and to the touch, have no major differences. The production of wool, fur, and leather contribute to climate change, land devastation, pollution, and water contamination. Designers such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Stella McCartney don’t use fur in their collections, and stores such as J.Crew and Gap do not sell fur items.