Guest post by Hanna from Flor & Cesta
The Rana Plaza tragedy drew our attention to the human cost of fast fashion more than any other incident before or since and made many of us start thinking about ethical fashion. But increasingly attention is also being drawn to the environmental impact of the fashion industry - one that has been branded on of the largest polluter, alongside mining and agriculture.
At London Fashion Week SS2018 we saw the usual brands in in the show line up. I can’t help but wonder how sustainable fashion has become such a hot topic yet no sustainable brand has made it, yet again, into the Fashion Week schedule?
Is it time that we stop expecting the fashion industry to make the changes for us and start making them for ourselves? The power of the consumer is undeniable, isn’t it time we exercised it?
With that in mind I have put together five simple steps to help you build a sustainable wardrobe that will benefit you, your bank account and the planet.
Buy less, buy better
This is something I wish I could go back and tell the 20 year old me. Throughout my teens and early twenties, I bought, and bought, and bought. Cheap highstreet items that never quite did the job and I was never in love with. At one point, I owned over 5 pairs of identical Topshop black skinny jeans. Always needing to buy another pair as one had lost its colour 4 washes in or another had gone baggy at the knees.
It sounds an obvious tip, but it is one that many ignore. The fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions, and fast fashion garments which are worn less than 5 times and kept for 35 days produce over 400% more carbon emissions per item per year than garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year.
Buy classic styles that are timeless and suit your shape. This is will ensure you stay in love them on want to wear them for years to come.
Make informed choices
Do you ever look at the care label to find out what’s in your clothes? When buying from the highstreet you’ll see a lot of fabrics with ‘poly’ in, from inexpensive all the way to premium brands. These aren’t going to be eco-friendly. Choose organic or sustainably produced eco materials like Tencel and Modal to limit the effect and send a message to retailers to clean up their act.
The benefits of choosing safer, more eco-friendly materials are clear. A study commissioned by PUMA (the sports clothing manufacturer) found that choosing organic cotton for example yields a 40% reduction in global warming potential, 72% lower primary energy demand, and lower water consumption. Not only that, the farmers and workers involved in production are not exposed to the harmful chemicals that regular cotton growing demands.
Support small scale producers
Get to know the story behind a brand, learn its history and appreciate its ethos. In supporting small scale brands who work with skilled craftsmen, artisans or exciting new technology you are helping to keep traditional techniques alive and cement new ones.
Seek out one off pieces and handmade pieces. To wear something that is one of a kind is really special. Small fashion labels are usually able to have a very close relationship with their suppliers, and sometimes even run their own production facilities. That way they can maintain tighter control over their supply chains and ensure their principles and values are held strong throughout. These brands give us the choice to be different and to demand better.
Build a capsule wardrobe
I don’t subscribe to the four seasons in fashion, perhaps that’s in part because I live in a country where the seasons change four times a day (fellow Brits you know what I’m talking about) so it’s impossible to dress correctly for the weather. But I also think they promote fast fashion. They promote the need to be continuously purchasing the latest must have item and throwing out last season’s.
Building a capsule wardrobe will provide you with a closet that you love, that you can dress up, dress down for any occasion, or add a jumper, go sleeveless with, whatever the season. You don't have to have a number, but aim for 50 or fewer pieces in your capsule. Keep a playful, open attitude, and treat it like a game.
Begin with a simple clear-out so that you’re left with just the items you wear most and genuinely feel good in. Instead of buying new clothes right away, give yourself some breathing room and live with your wardrobe as it is for a little while. Then hop over to Sheer Apparel to start building that conscious closet of multifunctional capsule pieces!
Get a new hobby
And lastly, get a new hobby! Shopping has become a national pastime. We shop when we’re sad, we shop when we’re hungry, we shop just because we’re bored. This leads to mindless, unintentional purchases that we often regret and leave sitting at the back of our wardrobes. Did you know that over 90% of us own multiple pieces of clothing still with the tags on, unworn?
So, try out these tips and start your journey to a conscious closet, intentional purchases, less mindless shopping, and more joy.
Want to hear more from Hanna and learn how you can, easily, build sustainability into every aspect of your life? Visit www.florandcesta.com. You can also follow her daily lifestyle tips on Instagram. Join the conversation @florandcesta.