If nothing else, this year has given us all a chance to slow down and take life at an easier pace. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for most things to go back to normal! But some things might be better left in 2020; for example—fast fashion! Fast fashion is a huge contributor to climate change and pollution and is often the cause of some unethical labour practices in offshore production. Fortunately, there are easy steps we can all take on a personal level to help combat fast fashion and its effects. We’ve outlined our top 6 tips for creating a more eco-friendly wardrobe so you can look good while helping to save the planet!
Thrift & wardrobe swap
The main idea of creating a more eco-friendly wardrobe is to extend the life cycle of an item of clothing for as long as possible. Buying second hand clothes from op shops and consignment stores is a really easy way to make sure clothes are loved for longer. Plus, it’s way cheaper than buying brand new clothes! Digging through the racks at your favourite vintage and thrift stores can often result in finding some gems from amazing labels that people have donated and are being sold for super low prices. And on the flip side of this, donate or sell your clothes once you’re finished with them—don’t just throw them out! If you don't want to spend any money but you're in the market for some new pieces, have a wardrobe swap with some friends!
Be mindful when you’re shopping
When you’re shopping for new clothes, don’t just buy whatever looks good on the rack. Take the time to try things on, get a feel for how they work on your body, and think about what you already own that you could wear with the new piece. We’re all for branching out with your style and trying new things, but be certain that you’ll actually wear what you’re buying before you purchase! This will reduce the chance of you having to return or get rid of an item that didn’t even make it out of your closet.
Support your local tailor
Tailors exist for a reason! If you have an item you really love but that doesn’t fit properly anymore or has torn or broken in some way, take it to the tailor instead of getting rid of it. This is a money saver as well as an eco-friendly tip—it costs far less to fix something small than it does to replace an item entirely. Plus, you’ll be supporting a small business! Alternatively, invest in a small sewing kit to make easy fixes on your own.
Sometimes our clothes are so loved that they get to a point beyond repair, where not even our local tailor can work their magic. Donating items in disarray isn’t exactly an option, so what now? Enter upcycling: turning old, used pieces of clothing into entirely new items!Some are easy transformations (e.g. tearing up an old t-shirt or flannel to use as dishrags or cutting jeans into shorts), but we’ll never say no to a good challenge. Transforming a sweatshirt into a matching set? Yes, please! Taking a silky blouse and turning it into a bomber jacket? Bring it on!
Save, save, save
We know that it’s not realistic to expect everyone to be able to afford expensive pieces. But where you can, it’s a good idea to save up for a better quality piece! Higher quality pieces tend to last significantly longer than cheaper items, so you’ll have to replace the item far less often—this saves you money in the long run and extends the life cycle of the item!
Buy from sustainable, Aussie-owned brands
Buying local reduces your carbon footprint because there’s less travel involved in getting your item to you. Try to buy clothes made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials where you can. It’s sometimes a little pricier to do this, but if you can afford to (or if you have the patience to save up!) it’s so worth the price.
Don't know where to start? Here are some of our favourite sustainable Australian brands...
- NAGNATA produces beautiful wool items that are made from sustainable fibres and recycled materials
- Salt Gypsy is a surfwear brand made from a more sustainable form of Lycra called ECONYL. They also celebrate all shapes and sizes of bodies, which we love!
- Kitx makes stunning pieces made of materials that are sourced ethically and use only certified organic, renewable, and recycled fibres.
- Vege Threads is a Melbourne-based brand that produces cute pieces in limited numbers using 100% Australian organic and eco-friendly materials and dyes. They work with local knitting mills and have earned accreditation from Ethical Clothing Australia!
Creating a more eco-friendly wardrobe takes time and commitment, but is so worth it—it saves you money and makes a positive impact on the environment. Want to learn more about fashion? Check out our fashion courses here.