Sustainable fashion (and wallet)

Dee Dee Lee 3 May 2017

Do you feel the need to go shopping every season? How long do your clothes last? What factors affect your decision when you’re shopping? A “green wardrobe” will not only save the environment, it’ll save your wallet too. Here’s why you should care, and ways to make your wardrobe more green.

Fast fashion leaves a pollution footprint, with each step of the clothing life cycle generating potential environmental and occupational hazards. In the U.S., about 10.5 million tons of used clothing goes into landfills every year, giving textiles one of the poorest recycling rates of any reusable material.

The fashion industry loves to tell us what is on trend this season and magazines think they know what looks good on us better than we do. Instead of following the trend, being persuaded and giving into temptation, cut back on your consumerism, and buy timeless, durable pieces that’ll last years to come.

Taking care of your clothes is as important as shopping wisely. Washing requires lots of water and energy, so only do it when you have a full load of laundry. Washing your clothes on the cold cycle reduces the energy used; use biodegradable washing powder to prevent chemicals from polluting the earth; air dry instead of using the tumble dryer to save more energy, and more money.

The term “sustainable fashion” always reminds me of Emma Watson. In 2015, she signed up to the Green Carpet Challenge, agreeing to only wear sustainable pieces on the red carpet. She is awesome, and we can be too! Sustainable fashion can be free/cheap – swap with friends or go on a treasure hunt in a secondhand shop or at a vintage fair (The Cambridge’s Affordable Vintage Fair is on 13 May 2017). Never throw away old clothing. If the condition is good, you can always donate or swap with friends.

As Vivienne Westwood said, “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” – that is my shopping motto; pay a bit more for better quality that’ll last longer; invest in classic pieces that never go out of fashion. Think twice before you pay: Do I need this? Do I really like it? Is it worth the money that I’ll be paying? You’ll realise you need less than you thought, and spend less than before.