Fashion can be a fantastic way to express yourself. By using fun accessories, bold colours, or unique cuts, you can tell the world about yourself without saying a word. Unfortunately, the fashion industry is incredibly wasteful and exploitative. It pollutes the planet with harmful dyes, fills landfills with plastic-based fabrics, and uses cheap labour to satisfy our hunger for the latest styles.
While it is easy and tempting to purchase cheap fast-fashion, the lasting negative impact it leaves on the environment is not worth the money you save. So how can you balance being fashionable with being sustainable? Luckily, it doesn't have to be complicated.
Here are our top 5 picks for building a low-waste, eco-friendly wardrobe.
- Buy used -
Thrifting has become popular in recent years. Not only is it a great way to find unique clothing items, it is also the best thing you can do to minimize waste. Instead of purchasing something new, which means using up more resources, thrifting allows you to give old clothing a new life. A bonus is that most thrift stores carry more than just clothes. You can also find jewelry, handbags, shoes, and more, all at affordable prices.
- Look for natural fibres-
Instead of polyester, look for clothing made out of cotton, linen, silk, hemp, and wool. These natural fibres look lovely, are comfortable on the skin, and last longer than their synthetic counterparts. Not only that, but they are also biodegradable, meaning they will eventually break down and return to the earth.
- Embrace hand-me-downs-
If you have a stylish friend or relative, consider asking them for any clothing they no longer want. If asking a specific person for their clothing seems like too much, consider hosting a clothing swap with friends. You can spread out the clothing in your living room, put on some fun music, and everyone can browse to their heart's content.
- Learn how to mend-
Rather than throwing your shirt out because a button came off, try learning how to sew it back on. It takes surprisingly little skill and effort to mend most clothing mishaps, and it will give you peace of mind to know that you can keep wearing your favourite skirt even if the hem has come undone. Check out YouTube for tutorials, or ask a talented friend for help. If the problem is particularly complicated, check to see if there is a seamstress in your neighbourhood who can help you out.
- Buy things to last-
If you must buy new, learn how to purchase items of quality. Stick to timeless colours and silhouettes, ensure the seams are sturdy and pick natural fabrics. If you can, buy things from local stores for eco-friendly bonus points. These sturdy, classic pieces will work with any fun accessories you want to add, and won't need to be pushed to the back of the closet due to falling out of style. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.
Hopefully, these suggestions have inspired you to change how you think about fashion. Dress in a way that inspires you, but don't forget to love the planet as much as you love looking good.