It’s 2019. We can’t escape the huge buzz around plastic – reducing plastic waste, its pollution and reusing what we have. By now, we all know that we should be using less and reusing more. And for the most part, we’re making progress.
This said, we can easily forget the impact of our other lifestyle choices on the planet.
Finally, the cat is out of the (re-usable) bag. It’s time to become a FAS-HUN.
It’s time to think more about where our clothes come from. It’s time to think about which brands we buy. How much we buy and if we actually need to buy that item in the first place. It’s time to make fashion sustainable.
As tempting as the January sales may be (marketing strategies and advertising are having a field day here), we need to resist the urge to buy excessively ‘just because’ or ‘just in case’ and start looking at the items we already own.
Consumerist society: the need for more.
We’re living in a time of mass consumption. Our over-consumption has led to a ‘throw-away’ attitude. Sadly, this is in all aspects of life. As our culture gets ‘busier’, disposable everything has become the new norm. Coffee cups, water bottles, napkins, cutlery, food and of course clothing. What’s more, we’re constantly glued to our screens, consuming more content than our brains are equipped to deal with, and obsessed with following the latest trends and fads. Fashion is faster and cheaper than ever, and as a result we’re wasting more than ever.
Fast Fashion Brands
Don’t fall for the likes of Boohoo’s ‘mad ting hype’ [I can’t believe I just wrote that…] that wearing an outfit only once ‘for the gram’ is the new norm. That’s not just unsustainable, but crazy in every respect. Fast fashion brands only care about the bottom line and will do whatever they can to keep us buying. It’s a business. Don’t follow ‘trends’ if it means you feel that you need to buy ‘new’ fast fashion. Be proud to wear your pieces time and time again. Pieces that you love and bought for a reason, that suit your body and make you feel like great.
Apart from potentially spending huge amounts of unnecessary money, convinced by marketing ploys that you need an item – that one be-all-and-end-all item that changes weekly. The true cost of fast Fashion is paid by the environment.
From fashion’s manufacturing process to its packaging and distribution, the effect on the environment is horrifying. But on top of this, we are all too quick to throw clothing away, adding to the environmental damage.
- On average, we only wear an item of clothing 7 times before throwing it out, and only 10% of what we send to charity stores ends up being re-bought, the rest goes to landfill.
- This means 235 million items of clothing sent to landfill in the UK alone last year.
- Globally, 80 million pieces of clothing are consumed every year, causing nearly 100 million tons of waste. This waste requires enough water to fill 32 million swimming pools.
It is industry fuelled by consumerism. Consumerism that is sending the planet and its resources into overload. We know that something needs to drastically change if we’re to slow down this industry. Really, we just need to stop buying.
As ideal as this would be, it’s unrealistic and simply not going to happen. But what can we do?
The solution is sustainable fashion.
In addition to spreading awareness and education, we can all do our bit to reduce fast fashion’s impact.
Firstly, as shoppers, the best thing we can do to be more environmentally friendly with our wardrobe is to celebrate the pieces we already own. This means looking after your existing pieces – read the washing instructions don’t shrink them in tumble dryers…
But there is more…
It’s time (and fun) to get creative. Why not dig out that old pair of jeans and give them a vamp? It’s really rewarding. Start simple and try turning scuffed jeans into shorts and then go wild. One perk is you’ll be wearing one-off, unique pieces. No more worrying about ‘who wore it better’ at parties.
And yes, your parent’s hand-me-downs probably now count as vintage!
I would be kidding myself if I said I wasn’t going to ever go shopping again. But we can shop in a more environmentally conscious way.
This includes being mindful of packaging. Wherever possible go plastic and label free. You can carry your own non-plastic bag and where possible look for garments which aren’t unnecessarily drowning in cellophane or a pass-the-parcel of plastic wrapping.
Thrift and charity shops can be treasure troves. You can find some great pieces, especially when shopping at charity shops in affluent areas. But it’s best to go with lots of time and have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. It’s all too easy to get distracted by dazzling shoulder pads and jumpers with flashing lights on. Yes, I have fallen victim to them before…
If you’re new to eco-friendly shopping and not quite ready to take the leap on to second hand stores, my best advice is to only buy what you absolutely love. As silly as it may sound, taking photos can help you figure out if you’ll still be dreaming about it a week later or if it’s just to fill the ‘I need something new’ hole.
Saying no can be hard. Especially if you are faced with a ‘bargain’ or ‘great deal’. But when considering what you are actually being offered, you may more frequently find yourself saying no. Freebies usually have a catch.
Ok, in short. How are we going to save the world still wearing a killer outfit?
Simple. Be a FAS-HUN.
– Don’t underestimate the power of appreciating what you already have and really consider everything you buy.
– We need to value all our possessions, no matter how cheap, expensive, slow, fast, sustainable or not.
– Mindful shopping in all its forms: from 2nd hand to the package.
– Any positive change should be celebrated – big or small!
– Slow and steady wins the race after all.