Fast fashion is damaging our planet – these 4 suggestions can enable you construct a more sustainable wardrobe

With sunny summer days beckoning again within the Northern Hemisphere, you might need to refresh your wardrobe. The allure of a complete recent “you” is ever-present and the idea of many successful marketing campaigns.

As the weather changes and we spend more time outdoors, you might need lighter summer clothes. But before you run to H&M, take into consideration how you possibly can expand your wardrobe sustainably while reducing your carbon footprint.

To expand your wardrobe sustainably, it is advisable to query your needs and take the time to learn how and where each bit was made when purchasing it – the alternative of the fast fashion that now dominates global shopping trends.

These 4 suggestions can enable you create a more sustainable wardrobe.

Quarter Life, a series from The Conversation

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Quickly becomes untenable

Fast fashion is the rapid production and distribution of clothing that corresponds to the most recent trends. Since the early Nineties, technological improvements, lower production costs and streamlined supply chains have significantly shortened fashion cycles. Clothes can now be produced inside a couple of weeks of being created and sold to consumers at a low price.

Two seasons – autumn/winter and spring/summer – were common within the Western fashion industry just a couple of many years ago. Nowadays Some retailers offer dozens of small seasons per 12 monthsThis constant change in trends forces consumers to update their wardrobe ceaselessly by Promoting disposableness.

Although the fast fashion industry is simple on the wallet, the implications are manifold. According to the United Nations Environmental ProgrammeThe global clothing and textile sector, dominated by fast fashion, is accountable for two to eight percent of all global carbon dioxide emissions and nine percent of annual microfiber pollution within the oceans.

In addition, fast fashion consumes around 215 trillion liters of water annually, which is akin to 86 million Olympic swimming pools. In addition, staff are sometimes exploited in inhumane conditions for low wages while shareholders reap exploding profits.

A report on the impact of fast fashion from DW Planet A.

In response to this criticism, increasingly more fast-fashion retailers, equivalent to HM And Zaraclaim to be taking steps to cut back their environmental footprint. For example, these outlets claim to have replaced synthetic fibers and polyesters created from oil and petroleum with natural and recycled ones.

However Omnipresence of greenwashing in the style industry makes it difficult to say whether these allegations have any weight.

Shop sustainably?

Given these serious concerns, how can one hope to buy sustainably?

The first and in some ways most significant step is to easily commit to slowing down your approach to fashion itself by sustainable fashion and ethical shopping to take the brakes Overproduction and overconsumption.

1 – Buy less, buy higher: Although it is best for sustainability reasons to avoid shopping or to purchase used items somewhat than recent ones, such options will not be at all times possible. Therefore, try Buy fewer items from higher quality, sustainability-conscious brandsBy being attentive to where and what you purchase, you possibly can limit the negative environmental and social impacts of our clothing purchases.

However, most fashion retailers don’t control your complete supply chain and cannot guarantee the sustainability of their clothingThis means that buyers must be careful when shopping and make informed decisions for themselves.

Recycling and clothing rental are good options, but it is best to take note that Textile recycling will be expensive and has an impact on the environment each by way of materials and carbon footprint.

If you select to rent clothes, avoid online services that depend on delivery. If you might have to purchase your clothes online, then Avoid fast fashion sites like Temu for direct purchase from manufacturers you trust.

A person holds a mobile phone to a computer screen.
Pages of the Shein website (left) and the Temu site (right) are shown in 2023.
(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

2 – Repair, reuse and recycle: extending the lifetime of clothing by wearing it for several years and repairing it when obligatory, as an alternative of throwing it away may also be a fantastic approach to reduce the ecological footprint of your wardrobeEven having a pair of jeans professionally repaired is prone to be significantly cheaper than buying a brand new pair – and can prevent money in the long term.

Patagonia, a California-based outdoor equipment retailer, encourages consumers to “Repair, reuse and recycle” Articles. They practice what they preach and use materials, amongst others, created from recycled bottles since 1993.

The French government recently introduced a nationwide program to Subsidizing clothing and shoe repairs with the goal of reducing the quantity of clothing thrown away. Check to see if there are similar programs in your area and, if not, advocate for his or her establishment.

3 – Prefer natural fibers: Choose Natural fibers equivalent to organic cotton, linen, silk, hemp and bamboo. Ideally, clothing should durable, locally manufactured and created from fairly traded, sustainably sourced natural materials.

While natural fibers are perfect for on a regular basis wear, synthetic high-performance materials are essential for sportswear or water-repellent outdoor clothing that may withstand the weather. Recycled materials and other “circular” manufacturing processes If possible, a contact person needs to be searched for these needs.

4 – Choose easy, timeless pieces: Clothing, equivalent to jeans, needs to be worn for so long as possible and created from protected, recycled or renewable materials. The design of the garment also needs to be minimalistic. For example, distressed jeans require the usage of several toxic chemicals to provide them their worn look.

Avoid always changing trends – equivalent to the short-lived Regencycore or Barbiecore – and expand your wardrobe slowly. Make sure that each item you purchase matches well and suits your current lifestyle.

In today's world of fast-paced, fast fashion, it's easy to feel overwhelmed or discouraged by the relative lack of sustainable options. However, it's possible so as to add sustainable items to your wardrobe by questioning your needs and taking time when purchasing for each bit to learn how and where it was made.

Over time, you might even learn to understand a smaller, well-curated wardrobe of timeless pieces that you would be able to wear for years, not only a couple of weeks.

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