This post was last updated on October 18th, 2022 at 03:32 am
Sustainable living is gaining importance these days. It’s a lifestyle that attempts to reduce the use of Earth’s natural resources for future generations. Manchester University researchers published a report in the Nature Reviews Earth & Environment journal analyzing the environmental footprint of the fashion industry and how it needs to adopt drastic measures to reduce the impact.
Aside from the fashion sector’s carbon dioxide emissions produced globally every year, rising pollution from chemical waste to microplastics is poisoning our oceans and food supply. The fashion industry must change and embrace alternative technologies like recycling and reducing polyester use to reduce environmental costs. Slow fashion is the sustainable future for the fashion industry and the planet. Here are some relevant tips to adopt to minimize the health risks for those involved in the fashion industry and retail consumers.
Be Thoughtful In Fabric Selection
Fabric/material comes foremost in the typical fashion industry. Look into your fabric selection to ensure you are not contributing to environmental harm. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, and acrylic that use harmful chemicals and oils in production, are not biodegradable, and pollute our water resources. Avoid conventional cotton as it takes several gallons of water. Choose linen, a sustainable fabric, from planting to production. You may also choose recycled fabrics that use fewer resources to manufacture and result in less waste.
Shop For Eco-Friendly Accessories
An eco-friendly fashion mindset not only applies to fabric selection but also to using zero-waste options in fashion accessories. Going for a plastic-free lifestyle means you don’t have to feel guilty about using fashion items that may harm the planet. Whether you want to hang tank tops, shirts, or winter coats, adopt modern, high-quality, eco-friendly Luxury Wooden Hangers made from responsibly managed forests and FSC-certified wood for your wardrobe. You may consider metal hangars for their durability. Avoid plastic hangars as they can clog the environment with landfill.
Buy Ethical Wardrobe
Sustainable shopping needs you to adopt a similar mindset when buying online or offline. Know the environmental impact of your wardrobe items before finalizing the product. In shopping ethically, consider the following three pillars.
- Environmental: What chemicals and resources find use in production? Also, does the fabric break down easily?
- Economic: Does your piece of clothing signify value for money? What is the garment or accessory reusability?
- Social: What were the working conditions of the place of manufacturing? Who made your clothes–socially deprived adults or kids?
Research Your Fashion Brands
Almost everyone promotes sustainability and living an eco-friendly lifestyle. It’s easy for brands to jump on the eco-movement, but for sales figures. Find out your couture brand(s) initiatives in implementing sustainable ways to look after the environment.
Check the fashion label’s impact report. It will define the standards they abide by in environmental care and the people they work with.
Look for Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification to confirm the organic status of the textiles through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing.
Choose smaller fashion companies that will take the pains to be involved in every stage of the manufacturing and production process, rather than farming out to a disputed factory in a country with questionable workers’ rights.
Check your brands’ sustainability initiatives through social media.
Purchase Second-Hand Clothing
Every new garment you buy from retail shelves might impact the environment. Purchasing second-hand fashion apparel reduces the impact on the environment, decreases production costs and processes, and helps to reduce textile waste. Monitor these steps when buying second-hand garments:
Check fabric care labels. Hand-wash or dry clean only?
Look for holes or any other damage. Second-hand clothing is cheaper, but you cannot ignore worn and damaged marks.
Check the price. Some stores can hike up prices for pieces that aren’t worth it.
Look Into Clothing Care
How we care about our clothing can make a big difference to the planet. Here are some easy do’s and don’ts for washing and drying clothes.
- Reduce washing: According to the Energy Saving Trust, washing accounts for 60-80 percent of a garment’s environmental impact. Skip washing your clothes after every wear. Consider wearing your wardrobe-fresh garment again, unless soiled or smelly.
- Use cold water: Washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees helps reduce energy consumption by 40 percent. Clothes rubbing against each other during a wash cycle do much of the cleaning, so use water judiciously.
- Restrict dry cleaning: Did you know dry cleaning can be harsh on the clothes and terrible for the environment? Dry-clean limited wear to reduce its impact on the environment.
- Avoid tumble dry: Tumble drying uses more energy than conventional air drying. It also quickly breaks down your clothes’ fibers and fastens wear and tear.
The Bottom Line
Learning to sew is a thoughtful way to complete your sustainable wardrobe. Get into the habit of sewing your clothes and upcycling used clothing. It will help you choose every element used in clothing, from fabric to tailoring. You can choose organic cotton thread, flax linen, and wood buttons to make a beautiful wardrobe piece that is unique and sustainable. Donate garments if they no longer fit you.