What can we do?

Can fashion be sustainable?

 “‘Fashion’ [is the] production and marketing of new styles of goods, especially clothing and cosmetics and ‘sustainable’ [is to] maintain at a certain rate or level…On the one hand we have the pressure to be new; on the other, the imperative to maintain. ‘Sustainable fashion’ is an oxymoron.”

-Vanessa Friedman

How to choose sustainability:

Voluntary Simplicity
  • Be minimalist, only buying essential items that are easy to mix and match to create new outfits.
  • Capsule wardrobes: “a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces”
  • These will help us expand our creativity to create new outfits. Also, instead of having an overflowing cupboard with nothing to wear, we will know exactly what we have in our wardrobe and how to style it.
  • It makes us think hard about what we really need and don’t need.
Think before you buy
  • Do not be deceived by trends
  • Consider if you really need the item you are holding.
    • “Do I really need this? Will I wear it more than once?”
    • “Do I have something similar at home?”
    •  “Can I get it second hand or borrow it?”
    • “What can I do with this item after its worn out?” Can it be upcycled?
  • Check for quality.
    • Will this item last more than a year?
  • Be awareAs consumers, we have to use our money vote wisely and avoid supporting unethical and unsustainable practices in the industry. Start questioning retailers about their practices.

“In the same way we have become aware of what we eat and want to know more about cooking and growing food, we are becoming more conscious about what we wear,”

Taking better care of our clothes
  • We can learn to treasure the items that we have and to keep them in good condition
  • sew or mend clothes on our own, throw out less
  • Air dry our clothes instead of using a dryer
  • Don’t wash our garments too frequently (e.g. wear your jeans a few times before washing)
  • Using detergents that work well at lower temperatures
Slow fashion
  • the opposite of fast fashion— the art of buying less and buying less often
  • We buy only what we really need and garments that will last instead of following trends
  • E.g. Patagonia- the first outdoor clothing manufacturer to make fleece out of recycled plastic bottles, one of the first companies to use hemp, recycled nylon, recycled polyester, tencel. They urge their customers to only buy whats necessary.

Image credit: patagonia.com

Secondhand shopping
  • Secondhand clothes that are in perfect condition can often be found in thrift stores or purchased at donation drives (for a good cause too!)(e.g. salvation army, Refash). We would spend way less on our purchases and might even find vintage items there!
  • Now we can even use technology to buy clothes directly from others (e.g. Ebay, Carousell)
Upcycling and Buying clothes made from recycled materials
  • We can turn our old clothes into something new and unique
  • We can shop at brands that are made form upcycled materials. E.g. Preloved (U.S. brand)
  • Recycled polyester is increasingly common- takes less than half the energy to produce, decreases the plastic sent to landfills
    • e.g. Bottles turned into shoes
    • e.g. Patagonia sells fleece clothing made from plastic soda bottles
      • estimated saving 86 million soda bottles from ending up in the landfill between 1993 and 2006
      • They also recycle cotton t-shirt- saving up to 20,000 litres of water per kg of cotton
  • clothes made from discarded textiles- “every ton of discarded textiles reused saves 20 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and every 1000 tonnes of used textiles collected is said to create about seven full time jobs and 15 indirect jobs”
Vegan fashion and Clothes that are organically produced
  • instead of materials that are made from animals made from animals, there are now more upcoming alternatives that we can buy instead, such as..
  • Brands using raw, natural materials like flax, monocel (a form of bamboo material that uses less water and toxic chemicals) or linen
    • E.g. The brand Cargill created Ingeo- a material made of corn by-products that are fermented and spun into fibres and woven into fabrics that could be composted
    • Versace is one designer brand that has used Ingeo in their collections.
  • Seek out brands that use waterless dyeing and low-impact dyes that are less pollutive