Yes, you guys are probably aware by now the harm the fashion industry does to the environment. But if you haven’t read my previous blog posts, just a quick reminder the fashion industry is the second largest industrial polluter in the world!
So what can you do to help?
There are several solutions to this problem and I’ll list out a few here:
Buy from more sustainable brands.
Multiple fashion brands have begun implementing more sustainable practices. For example ASOS has been recognised for its initiatives to reduce and offset its total CO2 emissions and is the first fashion retailer to achieve a carbon-neutral certificate from The CarbonNeutral Protocol (Mcfarlane 2015).
Zady is also another sustainable fashion brand, however, they have taken a further step by being one of the leading voices of the slow fashion movement which creates an emphasises on respecting the environment, the longevity of a product and the end consumer. They educate their consumers on how their clothing decisions can ultimately harm the environment while promoting ‘The New Standard’, where they produce sustainable clothing that fits, feels great and inspires (Zady 2016).
Buy fewer and better quality.
Several online blogs, campaigns and fashion labels promote buying better quality for a higher price. Cuyana is a fashion label promoting sustainable clothing, where ‘fewer, better’ is the foundation to their business, as they encourage consumers to collect fewer, better things, and to donate unwanted pieces in their wardrobes to those in need (Cuyana 2016).
So why have I chosen to promote buying (and selling) second-hand clothes? Not saying that the other solutions aren’t viable, but I think buying second-hand offers the most benefits to both us as consumers and the environment.
Of course, this is a cycle and ultimately where the shirt came from the beginning is also a crucial factor. It would require the piece of clothing to be decent quality so that it’s life cycle would actually last more than a couple of wears, in order for it to be sold second-hand.
However, sometimes some people just can’t resist the ‘newness’ that adds value to a product like nothing else. Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with second-hand clothes (and if you do, please look at my previous blog post about the second-hand stigma!), but if you really just can’t stand it and desperately need to buy something new, opt for something that is better quality and even better, from a more sustainable fashion brand. Yes, this means the price of a new shirt may be a bit or relatively higher than a shirt you would get from any large fast-fashion retailers. BUT, if you get sick of the shirt you could always sell it, and MAKE MONEY out of the sale! Which means, you get money back, and therefore technically your better quality and sustainable T-shirt may not be that expensive anymore!
In order to remain competitive in the market, fast fashion retailers must keep prices low and thus they often use low-quality materials in producing the garments. This means that clothes are made to wear out or even tear within just a few months. Furthermore, buying clothes that are low quality may limit the chances of you being able to resell that piece of clothing. Yes, cheap clothes are always great, but what happens to them once you’ve worn them a couple of times, may have a little rip here or a tiny tear there, or you’re just sick of it but the quality has deteriorated after a few washes and therefore it’s not fit to be resold? They get thrown out. Dumped into landfills. You’d be surprised by the amount of clothes that get donated to charities but cannot be sold because of their quality. But on another note, don’t forget second-hand clothes are relatively cheap too!
Also, as I’ve mentioned before, the vintage trend has also become increasingly popular, and what better option than second-hand clothes!
So in the end, what’s not to love about second-hand clothes? Second-hand clothes are the greenest you can find 🙂