As a young fashion buyer at an exclusive retailer, I loved fashion. The glamour, the excitement, the fun. I also felt the pressure to always be on-trend. To constantly have new things that might elicit the “That’s gorgeous! Where did you get it?” reaction.
I was so absorbed in this world, I had literally no idea about the true impact of the fashion industry. Particularly fast fashion - clothes designed to be cheap, to be convenient and to always have you lusting after something new.
Did you know it takes about 2,720 litres of water to produce just one cotton shirt – what an average person drinks over three years?
Nearly three-fifths or 60% of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made. - McKinsey 2016
Shocking statistics like these are like a sucker punch to the gut. And once you know, they’re incredibly hard to ignore.
But the good news? There are inspiring global movements making great strides to change this. The Fashion Revolution movement is working to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed. The Ellen Macarthur Foundation is accelerating the transition towards a Circular Economy.
And as an individual, you have the power to make easy changes that can help fashion become a force for good. Here are 5 easy ways to dress more sustainably:
1. Rediscover what you already have
Chances are, there are items hidden in the back of your wardrobe that you can tailor, repair or reinvent into something new. One of the best things you can do to help solve our fashion industry problem is to rediscover and reinvigorate the clothes you already own.
2. Buy Your Clothes Preloved
Why buy preloved? You get your hands on amazing clothes, in a sustainable way, for a fraction of the cost. Looking to the trend in the US, secondhand is projected to grow to almost 1.5x the size of fast fashion by 2028. Check out op shops if you like the hunt, or online options like Vestiaire Collective, eBay and Revoir.
3. Eco Wash Your Clothes
Eco-friendly washing is better for the longevity of your clothing and better for the planet. A few easy switches? Wash full loads of clothing in eco-friendly detergent on a cold or warm cycle. Avoid the dryer and air dry your clothes instead.
4. Buy Sustainable Brands If Buying New
If you’re buying new, seek out sustainable and ethical brands. The Good On You app and these sustainable brand resources by Eco Warrior Princess are great starting points. A key thing here is to make sure you LOVE the item, so you’ll get at least #30wears.
5. Swap or Rent
Why not swap clothes at a local swap event? Or rent from one of the fabulous rental sites such as Hurr Collective, On Loan, or By Rotation. Swapping and renting is a great way to get your newness fix - and save money at the same time.
Which of these five simple fashion fixes are you going to start with today?