Everyone should have learned about their ecological footprint in highschool, or so I hope! I remember doing the calculations and seeing how much of an impact my everyday routine had on the planet. Even to this stil I feel hyper aware of how my actions turn back on the earth. One of my passions, being fashion, does not always have the best reputation when it comes to the planet, however, I now know some practces that help! Like, for example, sustainability.
What does sustainable mean? It’s the act of avoiding the harm of natural resources to keep an ecological balance. There are many ways you can practice sustainability, but here our focus is on fashion and how you can stay fashion forward but still help the planet. Thus, this blog post is about how you can build a sustainable wardrobe with these 7 tips!
If you are new to the world of sustainability, I know that these tips will help you get on track and begin your path to creating a stylish yet guilt-free wardrobe.
1. You Don’t Have to Get Rid of Everything
Most likely, you will want to do a clean out of your closet, however, keep in mind that you don’t need to get rid of every piece that was not sustainably made. The effort should go into the next purchases you make. The best way to go around sorting out your closet is to create three piles
- A pile for the items you know you want to keep
- A pile for the items that don’t fit or haven’t been worn in a while
- The items that you know you don’t want anymore due to stains, broken pieces, or being overworn.
With the second and third pile, you can decide if you want to fix or repurpose any items. If not then you should get rid of those items as they will continue to sit in your wardrobe untouched. For items that are unwearable, you can either use them as a hair towel, rags, or donate them to the textile industry.
2. Mend or Repurpose Your Clothing
This is a great way to both save money and the planet. When you get tired of your pieces, try and create something new out of it! This could be as simple as cropping or adding features to a piece.
Often times, pieces stay in our wardrobe because they don’t fit well or we are bored of them. Give your pieces a new purpose by vamping them up!
Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration! Try out some new DIYs and if they don’t turn out you can either use it for something else or donate them to a textile company.
3. Don’t Throw Away, Always Donate
As mentioned before, it’s normal to want to get rid of pieces in your wardrobe. Especially when you find yourself not using them or that they are well overused. In these cases make sure to always donate your pieces to thrift stores, donation boxes, and textile companies. This way you can be assured that your old clothing is being used and not sitting in a waste fill.
When you are sorting through your clothing or getting rid of it, try and think about a piece’s next life. Can it be worn by someone else? Can the material be reused or repurposed? These fundamental questions will help you find where to give your old pieces.
4. Try a Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is a collection of the minimum essential clothing you need for a season. Typically, people will create a new one for every season using items they already own. This is a great practice for those who are content with not owning a lot of clothing. Also, you are not over buying and actually save money.
Having a capsule wardrobe is not for everyone and that is totally OK. If you want to have a bigger wardrobe keep reading for how you can do so without feeling guilty.
5. Take Note of What You Actually Need
If you have recently done or plan on doing a clean out of your closet – donating everything of course – then make a mental or written list of the pieces you are missing. This way, when you go shopping you aren’t buying whatever your eyes land on but what you actually need.
If you notice you are always wishing you had a certain type of jeans or colour of shoes, then you know you will definitely use them. When creating your list, always think timeless and not trendy. Thus, you will not buy items that will only be worn for one season and be tossed.
6. Buy With Intention to Build a Sustainable Wardrobe
If you want a sustainable wardrobe, creating it with intention is key. When you are shopping, if you feel that something will stay with you for years to come, that you really need it, and that it’s a smart purchase, then go for it. However, you never need to shop in bulk or buy something just because it’s on sale or trending.
When shopping, ask yourself:
- Will I wear this piece a lot?
- Is this piece made with quality? You will the same type of piece less often if the one you buy is actually made with quality. So, look at both stitching and fabric and how well it is made.
- Can I take care of this piece? Properly taking care of your purchases increases the lifespan. So, can you actually properly wash the material you are about to buy? Do you know how to keep it in good shape?
7. Shop With Ethical and Sustainable Brands
If you are buying from brands that are ethical, sustainable, and all, you definitely won’t feel guilty for having a midnight shopping spree. In other words, it’s a great way to satisfy your shopping sweet tooth.
Most of these brands put a lot of work into creating fashion-forward pieces that don’t hurt the planet or other people. I promise you will feel great after encouraging them!
The only downside to most ethical and sustainable brands is the price tag. For some, wanting to encourage sustainable clothing becomes hard when there is a budget to follow. You can also shop at thrift stores, this promotes the donation and second-hand use of clothing and textiles. It is also much easier on your wallet!
When shopping in-store or online at sustainable or non-sustainable clothing stores, look out for these amazing materials!
- Eco Drape: Viscose that is made with less water in production and wood pulp from renewable forests.
- Econyl: Fabric made from nylon waste. Brands like H&M and Mara Hoffman are known fans.
- Nike Flyleather: Recycled leather fibre that uses 90% less water and has an 80% lower carbon footprint than traditional leather manufacturers.
- Orange Fiber: Silk-like fabric made from citrus juice byproducts.
- Microsilk: Lab-Grown silk.
- Recycled Plastic: Plastic found in waterways are then used to make high performing sportswear.
- Tencel: A cotton line material made from the pulp of eucalyptus trees grown on certified sustainable farms. They use 80% less water than normal cotton and is made without pesticides. Both Zara and DSTLD are known fans of this material.
Canadian Brands to Check Out For a Sustainable Wardrobe
- Peggy Sue Collection for unique and cozy pieces.
- Stevie Crowne for runway level fashion.
- Spirit of Vera for cool jewelry.
- Preloved for an Urban style.
- Sudsatorium for skin care and products.
- Boro to rent or list clothing.
- Artisella for high-end accessories.
- Tamga Designs for unique patterns.
- OffBeat Society, yes I am plugging our website, but only because you can find quality second-hand clothing that is fashion forward and budget friendly. You can find vintage, name brands, and great style!
What to Take From all of This
If you leave with anything from this blog post, it’s that little steps towards a better planet are necessary and not scary! Living a sustainable life is much bigger than your wardrobe, however, it is an amazing start. It’s astonishing how much water is used, waste is created, and chemicals are put out from the fabrication of clothing and the practice of fast fashion.
If you want to play a part in helping the earth get healthy, think about your daily routine and how it may affect the environment. Maybe there is more you are comfortable with doing, either way it is safe to say that a sustainable wardrobe is not demanding or hard to accomplish.