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Sustainability is vital on all fronts with the current state of the environment. From the groceries we buy to the energy we consume, eco-friendly options are becoming necessary for the future of our planet. Sustainability in the fashion industry is crucial. The fashion industry contributes to plastic pollution, carbon emissions, waste and unsafe or unfair working environments and wages for garment workers.
What Is Sustainable Fashion?
Sustainability in the fashion industry aims to reduce the amount of waste created in the clothing process. Fast fashion, or cheap clothing produced on a rapid cycle, has become the norm. Companies try to keep up with the latest trends, so they mass-produce cheaply-made clothing that often ends up in a landfill when the trend ultimately goes out of style.
Sustainable companies focus on creating timeless pieces that consumers can wear for years to come. Unlink fast fashion brands, they don’t switch out their inventory on a constant basis. Instead, pieces remain in stock for multiple seasons to avoid throwing away garments that don’t get sold before the next design comes out.
How Can I Shift To Sustainable Shopping?
Finding ways to be sustainable benefits everything around us, from the air we breathe to the ground that provides nourishment. Without more sustainability in fashion, the industry could make up 26% of carbon emissions in the world by 2050. Here are some ways to be kinder to the environment while shopping for clothing.
Shop Slow Fashion
Slow fashion is a sustainable movement opposing fast fashion and all its adverse environmental effects. Slow fashion targets overconsumption and overproduction in the fashion industry. The more people on board to shop slow fashion, the more water we can save and the more chemicals we can eliminate.
Eliminating fast fashion can save above 3,000 water liters per shirt. Slow fashion involves fabrics and materials with smaller carbon footprints, like silk or linen. When choosing your clothing, you can support slow fashion by looking for these textiles. You can also shop mindfully at secondhand clothing stores and repair your clothes rather than replace them.
Shop Sustainable Brands
Ethical fashion companies use textiles like organic cotton and other quality fabrics to support sustainability. Some even make their clothing from recycled materials. Invest in brands that prioritize sustainability and contribute to a healthier environment. Sustainable clothing brands can be challenging and cost a pretty penny, but that is changing now.
Budget-friendly options are available with sustainable efforts trending as more people contribute and care about our atmosphere. ABLE, for example, uses eco-conscious materials like upcycled leather from discarded animal hides for their clothing and accessories. The Patagonia brand uses quality fabrics and recycled materials as well.
Shopping locally helps the environment in myriad ways. It cuts down on carbon emissions by eliminating shipping and other transportation. Airplanes contribute 12% of carbon emissions from transportation. Local businesses often purchase from other local retailers, which helps grow businesses and reduce their carbon footprint. Shopping locally also helps grow businesses and support your local community and economy. You can find local businesses on social media and visit their websites to see what they offer before visiting the store to reduce your carbon footprint.
Does Budget-Friendly Sustainable Fashion Exist?
Many sustainable companies sell clothing at a higher price point to make up for the slower production cycle. While this reality is hard to avoid, it can make eco-friendly options inaccessible for many people.
However, there are budget-friendly ways you can shop sustainably. One of the best ways you can reduce your environmental impact is to stop buying clothes. Here are a few ways you can avoid buying new clothes and make the most of what you already own.
Repair or Upcycle Clothing
Repairing or revamping can transform articles of clothing. When a zipper breaks or a button falls off, visit your local seamstress or look up how to fix it. Breathe new life into clothing by repairing broken things before disposing of them. If you don’t like their appearance anymore, consider changing things up. You can get so creative with upcycling and make the cutest pieces that are so much fun.
You can buy rhinestones and invest in paint or other decorative items to decorate a jean jacket to give it more of an edge. Paint a mural on the back of your jeans or jacket to create a new statement piece in your wardrobe. You can distress jeans and sweaters with a pair of scissors to give them a whole new vibe. You can paint on your clothing or invest in patches to iron onto chosen articles of clothing.
Do a Clothing Swap
Clothing swaps are an excellent way to minimize your carbon footprint and shop sustainably for fashion. You can do a clothing swap with your neighbors, family or friends. Have a group get together and bring clothes they want to get rid of—exchange articles of clothing from one another’s closets to create a new wardrobe.
Try to be as fair as possible regarding the swap. If swaps don’t even out, you can exchange cash for pieces you want. Clothing swaps are a fun and exciting way to get friends together and do some good for the environment rather than going to the mall. Take the leftover clothing pieces to donation stations and then go grab some dinner together—make it a date!
If you want to swap back, you can set up a date for the following month to do it all again and make it a tradition. Hold each other accountable for finding sustainability in the fashion industry. Secondhand clothing stores are also excellent ways to reduce your carbon footprint and find great deals on gently used clothes.
How Can I Care for My Clothing?
Finding sustainability in fashion goes further than shopping tactics. Caring for your clothing makes it last longer and can minimize the need to search for new pieces of clothing. Wash clothing only when necessary to save water. High energy consumption can be harmful to the environment. Your washer and dryer use energy to heat water and dry clothing. You can reduce your carbon footprint by using cold water, hanging your clothes out to dry and using an efficient washing machine.
You can also use eco-friendly detergent to wash your clothing and wear your clothes more than once before you wash them. Overwashing your clothes can limit their life cycle. Waiting to wash your clothing until necessary can make them last much longer. Organic cotton uses less water than traditional cotton, so finding clothing made from organic cotton will help you be more sustainable.
How Can I Make a Difference As a Consumer?
Supporting sustainability should be at the top of your to-do list. The future is in danger, and every step counts. Ethical clothing brands and other retailers that support sustainability are doing their part. Do your part by buying from them when you need new clothes. Support those who support a better, brighter environment and future for our planet.
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