Sustainable Clothing: why it's your best fit
Think your Black Friday sales dump was a good move? Maybe it's time you turn to your old trusty pair of shoes
SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING ISN’T A NEW CONCEPT.
We’ve all heard about eco-friendly brands.
However, how many of these items of clothing do you have in your closet? I can imagine you’d be able to count how many on a single hand, while 90% of the other items are from conglomerates like H&M, Zara, and UrbanOutfitters.
To keep up with the bipolarity of emerging trends, where one day it can be something else entirely different to the last, fashion houses now have been forced to change their seasons from month to week-long cycles. The consequence? If you don’t want to know the sobering reality of one of the biggest trillion dollar industries, you might want to stop reading.
There’s so many things that I can talk your ear off about fast fashion. The horrendous human rights abuses, and the societal damage it has on consumers who are convinced they can’t wear the same outfit twice. But what I’m going focus on is the irreversible damage those millions of discarded materials have on our environment.
Now, I’m a vegetarian. I grow my own veggies, use eco-friendly face wash, and always remember to turn the lights off when I leave a room. I thought I was doing pretty well for my carbon footprint. Until I examined my wardrobe. More often than not I had clothes I bought for $10 that I either:
A) had never worn, or
B) had worn a few times and were already falling a part.
Most of these garments will be thrown out and turned into land waste. The land waste, and the production of these clothes making them so cheap is making fashion the world’s second biggest polluter, only being behind big oil. Every year more than 11 million tons of textile waste comes from the US alone.
We’re all guilty of this single-use consumerism: the world now consumes 80 billion new pieces of clothing every day, which will only meet the same fate as my H&M top I swore was perfect for me but never saw the light of day. I know you’re wondering how bad these clothes can be for the environment, and how can they turn into pollution if its just harmless fabric?
The “harmless fabric” is manufactured with cheap chemicals and synthetic materials, which make for a pretty toxic concoction for about anything that comes into contact with it. The carbon emissions created pollute our air, the byproducts and dyes poison water sources, and seep into the land because it’s non-degradable. Even the transportation process from ships, planes and trucks only pollute the clean air we need to survive moreso, just so we can wear the same jumper we saw on an Instagram model.
“But Maddie!” I hear you say, “How do we become more sustainable! Do we give up clothing?”
For the sake of your friends and family, I do recommend you continue wearing clothes please.
What we need to change is how we see fashion. The first step to stopping the vicious cycle of endless consumption can start with the tiniest revolutions of us wearing clothes to last, rather than buying for single occasions.
Spend more, and save more. Pay that little bit extra on high quality garments that will last longer than a season, and get out of the mindset that the massive hauls of cheap clothing is a great save.
Personally I’d take my 5 year old Doc Martens (which are in perfect condition mind you, despite rain, mud and hundreds of kilometres of walking) over 20 poorly made boots and heels that are a fraction of the price.
It’s great to see more and more companies becoming environmentally aware of their carbon footprint, and starting to use recycled or chemical free fabrics. Maybe even in the next few decades the big polluters in the fashion scene will be pushed out by other brands that prioritise the environment.
But until then, the power lies with the consumers. Make every piece of clothing you buy count, and it will save our home in the long run.