The movement and demand for what has been labeled as ‘sustainable fashion’ has sprung into action as the UN threatened that we only have 12 years left to combat the world’s current climate crisis (The Guardian, 2018). The fashion industry is amongst the biggest causes of our current crisis, as it is reported that by 2050 the fashion industry will use up 25% of the world’s carbon budget, making it one of the most polluting industries, second only to oil (The Independent, 2019). The industry is also the biggest offender to global landfill – with £140 million worth of the clothes we throw away still being perfectly wearable (Clothes Aid).
But big stats can send us into panic mode. How can buying a top we want be a threat to our planet? Can we never buy another outfit again? At Islamic Fashion and Design Council (IFDC) we are expanding how we can help combat the current climate crisis, and would like to share our findings with you to help us all become more conscious, but still stylish, consumers.
Invest in the right type of clothes:
To help combat the amount of wasted clothes clogging landfills, Livia Firth, founder of Eco Age (a company which certifies brands for their sustainability) began the #30Wears campaign. Firth encourages us to consider if our purchases have longevity by pausing every time you are about to buy a new item of clothing and think to yourself, ‘will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?’. “If the answer is yes, then buy it. But you’d be surprised how many times you say no” (Firth, 2016). To help you with this, consider buying clothes which are a classic cut and fit, and have a built-in adjustability so it is modest, versatile and comfortable. Of course, we love a statement piece, but how many times have you worn that dress which you claimed would redefine your wardrobe, only for you to never wear it?
Get maximum wear:
We all have a favourite jumper which we wish we could wear everyday – but why don’t we? If you love it and feel great in it, why not wear it again?
If you are worried that people will recognise that you wore your favourite jumper last Wednesday as well as today – own it and be unapologetic for it. It’s time to change the mentality that you can not repeat your clothes. Trailblaze a new trend by encouraging others to partake in sustainable fashion by re-wearing their clothes – not letting them go to waste in landfills. Be resourceful and imaginative with your outfits by pairing your favourite jumper with a maxi-dress rather than your usual go-to jeans. Inspire the art of repeats. The possibilities are endless, and so are the compliments you will receive when you show them how fabulous the concept of repeating is!
Consider where you buy:
Sometimes, you just need to buy a new outfit. Whether that is for an occasion, or you have worn that favourite jumper so much that it now has a hole in it. In this instance, to be truly on track to become a sustainable fashion leader, upcycling should be your go-to, which we will discuss more in our next article. But, for the first step, consider where you invest your money when buying new clothes.
For an occasion outfit that you know you are unlikely to wear again, check out rental sites such as HUUR and HireStreet which give the opportunity of renting your next special occasion outfit instead of buying it. Often rental sites offer clothes from luxury brands such as French Connection and Whistles at a huge discounted price compared to their purchasing label. Meaning it is friendly to your credit card as well as the planet! In addition, you could visit charity or vintage shops to help an old outfit gain a new home, or find a clothes swapping events near you. This way you can completely refresh your wardrobe without the guilt of knowing that more clothes are being product to accommodate you.
When you do have to step into a store for new clothes, a great step is to look at the ethical manifestos of brands you are currently buying from, and search for new ones whose ethics are in line with yours. Fashion houses from various price ranges are answering consumer’s demands for the fashion industry to become more sustainable. Stella McCartney is known for consistently enterprising in sustainable and ethical fashion by never using animal derived fabric, and instead invests in eco-friendly materials including recycled polyester, organic cotton, and regenerated cashmere. For a lower price tag, H&M has launched a Conscious Exclusive collection which uses recycled fabrics, as well as innovative new ones which are made from orange peels, pineapple leaves and algae to put together your new favourite outfit.
Overall, being more conscious with your purchases is not about never being able to acquire another outfit again. Instead be aware of your options and the effects your purchases have. Leave us your tips on our social media and tag us with your best reworn outfits to show us what else can be done to make better purchasing habits.