Living a more sustainable lifestyle might seem like you need to put in hours of research and effort to achieve, but it’s a lot more straightforward than you may expect. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world so what better place to start than with your own wardrobe?
1. Quality over quantity
Changing your mindset towards the fashion industry is the most important thing you can do to reduce your fashion consumption. Before buying an item of clothing, ask yourself: Do I absolutely adore this? Will I get good use out of this item? Will I still love this in a couple of years time?
If you answered no to any of the questions, then chances are it’s not worth buying. Investing in a good quality item of clothing that will last you years is a worthwhile expense.
2. Don’t despair, repair
There’s no better time than now to pick up a new skill. So why not pick up a needle and sew up any holes in your clothing or reattach any buttons that have fallen off? Being able to mend your own clothing will drastically extend the life of your existing wardrobe.
However, if you have an item of clothing that is damaged beyond repair, many companies such as Madewell have recycling policies and are able to repurpose these textiles.
3. Support sustainable brands
If you do choose to buy a new item of clothing, consider buying from a sustainable brand. Sustainable brands are committed to using recycled fabric such as ECONYL and crafting durable pieces designed to last. Here is a list of some sustainable brands you should check out:
Sustainable clothing: Reformation, Everlane
Sustainable swimwear: Emily May, Cossie + Co, Kymina, Arabella London, Jua June, Stay Wild Swim, Poolside Gossip, Five PM Swimwear, Odyssee, Broochini, Deakin and Blue
Sustainable activewear: League Collective, SOS Activewear
Sustainable lingerie: Blue Reign, Opaak
4. Out with the new, in with the old
Being sustainable doesn’t have to be expensive. Whenever possible, consider buying pre-loved clothing. You’d be surprised at how many hidden gems there are in charity shops and vintage clothing stores.
You can also use reselling apps such as Depop to browse vintage or gently used clothing from the comfort of your own home.
5. Less is more
The fashion industry has deceived us into thinking you can never have enough clothing but that is simply not the case. Instead, focus on curating versatile and high-quality pieces that will go with what you already have in your wardrobe.
Don’t be tempted to impulse buy something just because it’s on sale if it doesn’t go with anything you already own.
6. Buy Local
Before you buy an item of clothing either online or in person, do your research to find out exactly where the garment was made and where the fabrics have been sourced from. The fashion industry accounts for 10% of all global carbon dioxide emissions each year.
7. Think twice, buy once
When purchasing a new item, make sure you double-check the size guides listed on the company’s website to ensure the item will fit. If you’re unsure of anything, don’t be afraid to reach out to the company you’re buying from for any advice they might have.
Read any reviews that past customers have made for reassurance. Doing this extra research will prevent you from having to order extra sizes to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, delivery and returning the item.
8. Shop made to order
Overproduction of garments is a major crisis within the fashion industry. In the UK alone, around 350,000 tonnes of clothing go to landfills each year. Buying clothing that is made to order from companies such as Bodywear Lab’s own and influencer collections will reduce any fabric wastage from overproducing.
9. Know how to care for your clothing
The best thing you can do to extend the longevity of your clothing is knowing how to take care of them properly. Make sure you read the care labels on all of your pieces to see which temperature is most effective to wash them in.
Be sure to use a washing bag that will capture microfibers that will otherwise end up in the water. Air-dry clothing whenever possible to reduce the energy taken to run a drying cycle.
10. Choose eco-friendly fabrics
Try to stick to recycled materials such as cotton, nylon and wool as well as organic materials. The production of one polyester t-shirt creates around 3 times more carbon dioxide emissions than a cotton t-shirt.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to live a 100% perfectly sustainable lifestyle to make a difference in the world. It’s better for 1 million people to take important steps towards being more sustainable than for just 100 people to live a completely zero-waste lifestyle.