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Sustainable Fashion: iv. What Can We Do?

  • There is much the ethically-minded consumer can do to minimise the potential environmental damage of participating in fashion. Although it may seem daunting, especially on a smaller budget, there are small, practical changes we can make.


Shopper browsing Pre-Worn Clothing Rail

  • Renting clothes is now growing in popularity with rental services charging a monthly subscription for choosing a certain number of pieces. This can be a fun and creative way to try new clothes and take style risks with minimum waste.

  • Second-hand shopping sites such as eBay or Vestiare Collective keep clothes circulating in the economy for longer before they reach the 'discard' phase and can be good value-for-money. Vintage clothes found on these sites can be well constructed using old-fashioned sewing techniques and can make unique style statements.

  • Developing a curated personal style is a great way to build a lasting wardrobe. The emphasis is on looking like 'you' rather than being either overly trendy or out-of-date. Adding vintage or unique pieces could lend a sense of timelessness to your outfits.

  • Checking clothes labels to see where our clothes are made enables us to look up the current garment manufacturing regulations in that country to understand what industry we are participating in. Over time, and in response to humanitarian disasters, countries change their laws on garment production and working conditions.

  • Staying aware of brands that use re-cycled or organic cotton, re-cycled synthetics or are 'made locally', for example, is a good place to start building a wardrobe that is less harmful to the environment.

  • Learning to make small adjustments and accomplish small mending jobs can prolong the life of your clothes. (https://www.stylemap.com/article/looking-after-your-clothes-i-learn-to-sew). Alternatively, you could find a local tailor to make large and small adjustments to nearly perfect items, rather than discarding.

  • To integrate sustainable fashion into our daily lives and wardrobes, perhaps change one or two habits and build from there. A mindset shift can take years to accomplish, but can fulfill a higher purpose as custodians and co-creators of our beautiful world.

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