When trendy clothes can be so cheap, it can be easy to fill virtual shopping carts just from the rush to buy. But this attitude of excess has led to massive overproduction and a clothing waste crisis.
Less than 1% of all clothing material is recycled into new clothing. And of the clothing we donate to charities, only a fraction is resold in stores. Much of what is not sold is shipped in bulk and sold internationally.
The costs of ‘fast fashion’ are huge for the environment and for the people who make clothes. Every year the fashion industry consumes approximately 79 billion liters of water and then dumps 92 million tons of waste. To make clothes so quickly and affordably, factory workers are often underpaid and operate in unsafe working conditions.
But here are helpful tips to minimize your impact:
Don’t think of your clothes as disposable.
Many feel the pressure to dress fashionably and stylish. Some even feel like they can’t publish a photo wearing the same outfit twice. “That’s the lifespan of your clothes. Once you take a picture, it’s done,” they say.
To abandon that attitude of excess, change the way you think! Buy thinking that what you buy must stay with you. When you go shopping, ask yourself if you would wear that item 30 or more times.
Update or ‘thrift flip’ your clothing and accessories.
Take something old and change it. Give your old clothes a fresh feeling by cutting or adding a few new details.
Walk into your closet and say: Hey, how can I change this old t-shirt or this old hoodie I had? Maybe I can cut it and turn it into a completely different item.
Get rid of your clothes responsibly.
The popular Marie Kondo approach was to get rid of anything that no longer brought us joy. But be intentional about the way you donate.
For example, you can organize a clothing exchange with friends or sell your unnecessary items at second hand stores. To attract buyers, you should model your clothes instead of taking a picture on the floor so buyers can see what it looks like. Good lighting and ironed clothes can also drive your sales.
Second-hand purchases when you are craving something “new.”
Given how the pandemic has made many people avoid additional in-person shopping, online savings are proliferating.
Learn to search the ‘green washing’ and campaigns for a fairer and more sustainable fashion industry.
“Greenwashing occurs when companies intentionally deceive consumers or simply exaggerate and embellish the efforts they’re putting into being more sustainable,” as explained by the experts.
To get more information, we recommend a site called Good On You and a non-profit called Remake. Remake’s transparency reports grant sustainability points for the brands. Once you’re educated, consider getting more involved.