The last few years have seen a growth in the number of retailers creating sustainability strategies and publishing their supplier lists – a direct correlation to the rise of conscious consumerism.
More and more people are now asking: where did my clothes come from? They want to know the location in which the items were manufactured in, the processes that took place, the materials that were used and the conditions experienced by the garment workers.
The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world. It consumes the equivalent of 32 million Olympic swimming pools of water each year. In Cambodia, worker’s wages equate to approximately 50 cents per day. It’s not that fashion’s all bad - the fashion industry contributed £28 billion to the UK economy last year and supported 880,000 jobs. But consumers are becoming increasingly concerned over the effect that the fashion industry is having on people and the planet.
We’ve taken a look at how we can all help the fashion industry to become more sustainable – without too much effort!
Resist the urge to buy
Looking after your clothes is the easiest way to prevent the need to buy new ones. Whether it’s checking the care label or rotating your wardrobe, making your clothes last longer helps the environment as well as saving you a few extra pounds. When you do buy, buy items that can go with any outfit – plain colours and simple patterns – and then jazz them up with the occasional clothing or accessory treats.
Re-use and recycle
We know that it’s not always easy to resist the urge to buy new clothes. Recycling or re-selling clothes is one way of being more sustainable. That formal outfit that you’ve only worn once could be given to a charity shop or sold online through a second-hand retailer. This way, your unloved item isn’t sitting in the back of your wardrobe or being dumped in a landfill!
This works the other way too – don’t forget that when you’re looking for clothes, you could find the perfect item in your local charity shop.
Why not buy clothes that are sustainable? Long gone are the days when “sustainable fashion” could be translated to “plain and drab”. Not only are there plenty of retailers who are solely dedicated to creating sustainable fashion but most high street stores and luxury fashion brands also produce sustainable clothing lines. Think H&M’s Conscious Collection or ASOS’s Eco Edit.
Making a few small changes could make a big difference.