Building a sustainable wardrobe seems like a terrifying job to do. Everybody thinks it takes a lot of money & a lot of time.
Now it’s time to unravel the myths. Building a sustainable wardrobe is not something you do over night. I listed some tips that can help you create a wonderfull wardrobe, without putting too much work in it. You don(t have to put too much time into it. It takes just a moment of reflection before you buy something.
Than we arrive at the second assumption: it costs a lot of money. If you buy an item it’s environmentally acceptable if you wear it at least 30 times. If you calculate the cost per wear, you truly know what a piece of clothing costs. Fast fashion clothing often doesn’t even last 30 wears or washes without falling apart. If you do buy a fast fashion piece, just try to wear it for a long time.
If you think about it, truly think about it, you know that a 20 euro dress is a bit shady. Someone needs to grow the materials, make yarn, weave it into fabcric, make a design & create a piece of clothing. Off course mass production keeps the costs lower, but everybody still needs to get paid. It would make sense that very expensive brands take better care of the production cycle, but sadly that is not always true. The upside of expensive labels is that their quality is often way better, so you’ll be able to enjoy your new garnment much longer. It's not a fun think to think about, I know. I used to shop a lot of cheap clothes produced by the fast fashion industry, ignoring the little voice in the back of my head telling me there is something wrong.
You’ll probably go like, come on Sarah, why all that fuzz! Well, because if everybody does takes a little step, we can make a big change!
I don’t want to turn everybody in ‘perfect’ eco warriors. No! It’s just the little changes. If you implement just one of these steps below, it will make a difference! Yaay!
1. Shop local
We all love the little shops if we walk through town, but we often don’t buy there anymore. These shops already selected the best items for you! Always fun to take a peak. If you buy local, you support the local economy & you don’t attribute to all the gasses created by online shopping deliveries, you’ll probably send back. Win-win!
Well, hello thriftshopping! If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes, this is the best option. There is already so much clothing on this planet! The fun part is that a lot of pieces are unique or rare, so you won’t find anyone else shining in your outfit. Last important note: not all thriftstores are alike. You have very nice vintage boutiques, but also a lot of online apps where you can find recent pieces that have only been worn a few times. These days there are a dozen of different varieties of thrift shopping. You’ll find something that suits you!
3. Take care of what you have
Maybe not the most sexy tip but taking care of your clothes can make a difference! Here are some tips to make that cute top you love last longer.
- Hang them in a dark room to avoid color change caused by sunlight
- Try to avoid the dryer, the heat breaks the fibers of your clothes. It’s better to hang them to dry.
- If something isn’t really dirty you can always hang it outside to air it out.
If you are handy (unlike me) you can transform your clothes. Uplift a jacket by sewing on new buttons or turn an old t-shirt into a shopping bag. The options are endless. You’ll find a lot of cool DIY ideas on Pintrest.
Last resort: Clothes are made out of fabric. If they are beyond repairing, you can always use them as old rugs to clean. They have a new purpose & you save some bugs!
5. Sell, Swap or give away
Do you have fine pieces of clothing but you’re never going to wear them again? Give them a second life! There a lot of options. If the pieces are very nice you can sell them online or in a thriftstore. You can do a clothing swap with friends & family or you can give away!
6. Look where it is made
This is a tricky one, because the place of production says nothing about the workers condition. The only thing I can say is that shoes made in Spain are far more likely to be made in better conditions than shoes manufactured in Bangladesh.
7. Buy consciounsly/ educate yourself
Shopping consciously has a lot of advantages. You are more likely to buy something you love, made out of good quality & spend no excessive money. Try to look for brands & styles you really like and only buy an item you are really fond of. If the retailer has to convince you, you’re probably not going to wear it, am I right?
It’s not always easy to find out if a brand is sustainable or not, I ‘ll give you that. There is also a difference between ethical clothing (fair working conditions) & ecological clothing (minimal impact on the environment). Often brands focus on one of the two, but of course here are brands who value both. If a brand focusses only on one, they already make a change. We can only support that. There will always be room for improvement, but first little steps!
Hopefully you got inspired to try out one or more of these tips. Think about it, it’s not about perfection, it’s about one little change at the time!