What can YOU do?

In this section, I will be introducing some tips on how we, as consumers, could reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion.

Making clothes last longer

Perhaps the most obvious solution would be to take better care of our clothes. By conscientiously caring for your clothes, shoppers can reduce the amount of waste that is generated from constantly throwing away clothes that fall apart. Even though fast fashion pieces were not built to last, anybody can follow these two simple tips to lengthen the lifespan of their clothes

  1. Repurpose clothes
    So you’ve gained some weight or lost some weight. Big deal! Your wardrobe doesn’t need a major overhaul just because your clothes no longer fit as well as before. Instead of winding up in a dumpster, clothes can be refashioned into different styles. With a pair of scissors, thread, and a needle, jeans can be refashioned into trendy denim shorts. A loose, baggy t-shirt could become a dress. Shorts could even be upcycled into new skirts! A few strategic cuts could turn a too-tight t-shirt could into your new favourite workout tank top! With Google, the options are endless.
  2. Don’t wash clothes too often
    We may live in sunny, scalding Singapore. However, majority of us spend our days indoors enjoying the cool comfort of air-conditioning. We can afford to re-wear our clothes, especially if they aren’t too smelly or sweaty. Garments that are washed more than necessary have a tendency to fall apart. Stitches could come loose, the fabric could lose its shape, or colours could fade into some unrecognizable and unflattering shade. By reducing the frequency you wash your clothes, you can save water while making sure your clothes stay the way you like them. P. S. This is not an invitation to see how long you can go without a change of clothes. You are not trying to create a Guinness World Record for wearing the same shirt five years in a row. If you do think it’s time to do laundry, please listen to your gut. Your friends and significant others will thank you for it!
  3. Please mend the gap!
    It is easy to throw away clothes that show minor signs of wear and tear. That stops now! Get out your sewing kit and it’s time to put your Home Economics knowledge to good use. YouTube is also a valuable teacher if you need step-by-step guidance on how to replace a zip, sew on a button, or patch up holes. In fact, maybe if you become good enough at it, you can start offering clothes-mending services to time-strapped people. Then you can save money while earning a bit more on the side. Score!!

For more tips, you can go to clevercare to learn how to take better care of your clothes.

Conscientious shopping

There are a good number of shoppers who do not think twice when buying new clothes. As a consequence, they sometimes find that there are too many pieces in their wardrobes with the tags still on. Otherwise, they come to the horrific realization that they own multiple pieces of the same shirt, skirt, or any other apparel. Do any of these sound familiar?

To prevent such unnecessary purchases, you could:

  1. Re-organise your wardrobe
    The number one reason why people forget they even have certain clothes is because these clothes have become buried under a huge pile of irrelevant nonsense in their closets. Taking time to re-organise your wardrobe could help you be more conscientious about what you actually have. The darkest corners of your closets could hold deep secrets… and possibly your new favourite pair of joggers that you forgot about.
  2. Is it or want or a need?
    Before you buy anything, ask yourself: do you need this? It’s a difficult practice to start since we could be used to just buying everything we fancy (maybe unless we are on a budget). Of course, we may not always need everything that we want. Sometimes, we just want something because it is aesthetically appealing to us. They key is deciding whether you want something for the sake of having it, or if you want it and will actually use it. With enough practice, you can learn how to discern whether you just compulsively want an item for the sake of it, or if you genuinely love it. One key tip that helped me to curb compulsive shopping is to sleep on the decision. I would wait a week to see if I wanted to buy an item. More often than not, the initial thrill I felt when I first saw the item would have disappeared. I would be left looking at a nondescript item, wondering why it was appealing in the first place. However, in the event that I really end up still coveting the item, then I would allow myself to get it. Perhaps this trick could work for you too!
  3. Quality, not quantity
    One of the reasons why fast fashion is so appealing is because clothes are just so cheap. However, many shoppers do know that what they save on cash, they suffer in terms of quality. Clothes and shoes bought from fast fashion brands fall apart pretty fast, and constantly replacing them does make the dollars add up. Eventually, the amount of money accumulating in purchasing similar things multiple times would surpass the amount you thought you save by choosing cheap things over more expensive, durable pieces. To change that, you can start focusing on finding quality, long-lasting, and classic pieces that do not go out of style. The initial overhead may not seem worth it at first. But picture this: you may eventually need to buy 10 pairs of replacement sandals when you could have just bought 1 good quality pair. In the end, the monetary cost evens out while the environmental cost of a long-lasting item is much, much lower.

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PSY Batch 2014 LIVE created on 15/06/2014

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