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Do you want to know something crazy? The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter on the earth after oil, producing almost one fifth (20%) of the world’s water waste. What’s more, it’s estimated that £140 million worth of clothing winds up in landfills every year and 95% of the textiles that end up there could have been recycled. Why am I telling you this? Because it’s now more important than ever that we’re doing our best to make responsible fashion choices and reduce our impact on the planet.
One of the ways you can do this is by shopping for high-quality clothing, from brands that promote sustainability. You can also take better care of your wardrobe to ensure your clothes last longer and can be recycled if you do decide you don’t want them anymore. What’s the best way to do this? Let me tell you. Below I’ll share my top advice for creating a responsible wardrobe full of clothes that are loved and cared for.
Choose quality over quantity
Buy cheap, buy twice. That’s what they say! And it’s so true, fast fashion might be able to produce on-trend clothing at an extremely low cost, but this comes at a much larger cost to our planet. Plus they’re usually tired or thrown out after a couple of wears (that’s if you even wear them more than once). But if you’re prepared to spend a bit extra you can buy great garments that are much higher-quality and are going to last you.
Minimalist wardrobes have become more popular of late, with a big focus on decluttering our lives – in no small part thanks to people like Marie Kondo. So why not build yourself a smaller wardrobe of high-quality staples that you can mix and match. Not only is this supposedly better for your wellbeing, but if more people do it, then it will certainly have a better impact on the earth. Plus you’ll likely feel better in quality clothes that don’t end up fraying, with loose threads or full of holes.
Learn how to launder
Many of us are guilty of just chucking everything in the washing machine to get the laundry done. But if you familiarise yourself with the tags on your favourite items of clothing, you’ll find you can keep them in top shape for longer. If you know you aren’t going to spend your time hand washing certain items, then it’s best not to buy anything that requires this treatment.
Other techniques you can use to care for your clothes on laundry day are:
- Washing dark clothes inside out
- Buying a drying rack instead of user the dryer
- Washing your clothes less – practising good hygiene can go a long way to preserving clothes and ensuring they don’t have to be washed weekly
- Getting to grips with the settings on your washing machine
- Delegating the task and taking your favourite items to a dry cleaner
Learn how to repair the basics
Understanding how to do basic repairs can save you unnecessarily disposing of an item. You could ask a friend or family member to show you (if you know they’re a whizz with a needle and thread) or you can find tutorials online to teach you the basics. Ideally, you want to learn how to replace a button or a loose thread, and how to stitch up a small hole along a seam. All of this can be done with a simple sewing kit and you can pick these up for cheap enough on your local high street.
Store your clothes for care
If you practise good storage habits you can avoid your clothes becoming misshapen and damaged within a matter of weeks. Make sure you’ve got plenty of space to store everything so it’s not being crammed into cupboards or falling down the back of drawers. Also, be sure that all your clothes are stored in a cool dry place to avoid them getting damp and musty.
Other good ideas for storing your clothes for care include:
- Buying better coat hangers
- Making sure your clothes have breathing space
- Folding heavier garments and placing them on a shelf
- Buttoning up your buttons and doing up your zips before putting clothes away
Dye faded clothes at home
Even high-quality garments can fade over time, but this doesn’t mean you should throw them out. If like most of us you’ve got a favourite pair of black skinny jeans that fade within a few months, don’t despair! There are some safe and simple dyes you can buy either online or in-store, so you can re-dye your faded clothes at home. It doesn’t take long and the dyes don’t cost a huge amount either, so it stops you buying more clothes and throwing out a perfectly good item of clothing.