How to build A Sustainable Wardrobe: 5 Easy Steps To get Started
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When inspiration strikes to make changes in my lifestyle or routine, my first instinct is to got all in and commit 100% – can you relate? This is certainly the case with building a sustainable wardrobe.
I get so excited about benefits I know these changes will make in my life, that I just want to go full steam ahead and be there right now! Of course, from past experience I know that’s not the most effective way to form sustainable and low-waste habits that will stick.
Making the switch to sustainable fashion, and even building a capsule wardrobe, can seem like an overwhelming and expensive task, especially if you still have a closet full of fast fashion.
I spoke with eco-savvy blogger and sustainable living expert Youmna from Sustainably Yours who shares her top tips on how to slowly step away from fast fashion and embrace sustainable clothing.
If you’re wondering how to build a sustainable wardrobe but have no idea where to start, keep reading!
What is sustainable clothing vs fast fashion?
Before getting into the tips, you might be wondering “ok, but what exactly is sustainable fashion?” As Green Dreamer explains, it refers to clothing that is designed, manufactured, distributed, and used in ways that are environmentally friendly.
You may have also heard the related term, ethical fashion. It refers to clothing made in ways that value social welfare and worker rights. It can also refer to fashion that avoids using animal products such as leather and fur (because wearing someone’s skin is a bit icky, ya know).
Unfortunately, this is not true of today’s dominant ‘fast fashion,’ which refers to clothing that’s intentionally designed to be consumed quickly at cheap prices, leading shoppers to view clothes as being disposable—wearing them just a few times before throwing them out or moving on to newer and trendier cheap clothes.Green Dreamer
Why is sustainable fashion important?
Put simply, fast fashion is killing our planet.
While fast fashion makes shopping for clothes more affordable (in the short-term), it comes at an environmental cost. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, with fast fashion making up 35% of microplastic that flows into the ocean.
Not to mention, many fast fashion chains use chemicals in every part of the textile production for making fibers, bleaching and dyeing fabrics. This means that when they arrive in the shops, our clothes still contain a lot of chemicals which can be inhaled or absorbed by our skin.
Environment and health issues aside, fashion fashion industry workers are subject to unbearably long working hours, low pay and extremely hazardous working conditions.
So, what can we do to change this? One way is to start being more mindful of your shopping habits and the brands you chose to support.
How to build a sustainable wardrobe from scratch
Want to know how you can start building a more sustainable and ethical wardrobe for yourself? Youmna from Sustainably Yours shares her top tips for beginners!
unfollow fast fashion brands on social media
And follow sustainable brands instead.
We all follow a few fashion brands on Instagram to see what new styles they put out. This can increase our desire to shop at these stores and want things we don’t need.
Instead, follow sustainable brands so you are no longer seeing the fast fashion items and will be more inclined to support sustainable, ethical and local brands.
Start with the basics
Shopping sustainably can be expensive, so why not start with clothes that you’ll wear regularly?
Every time you wear the basic tee made from sustainable and quality materials, you’ll feel the difference and appreciate it more, which will encourage you to keep shopping sustainably.
Focus on building a collection of sustainable wardrobe essentials. This could include organic cotton underwear, a basic white tee, well-fitting jeans, a button down shirt, a black dress or a good-quality winter coat.
Care for your clothes so they last longer
With fashion so accessible these days, it’s become the norm to replace dirty or torn garments with a new version without thinking.
A sustainable wardrobe doesn’t only mean shopping sustainably. It means reducing your consumption of clothing overall. Caring for the clothes you already have will make them last longer so they don’t end up in the landfill before their time is up.
Some ways to care for clothes inlude:
- Mend it if it rips (YouTube for tips!)
- Wash only when needed
- Put clothes away properly instead of tossing them into a drawer
Shop second hand
Try thrift stores or shopping secondhand on reselling apps. This will prevent otherwise great clothing ending up in landfill. Plus, you’ll find one-of-a-kind pieces and save money at the same time,
Shop with cost per wear in mind
Cost per wear is equal to the cost of item divided by how often you wear it. For example, if you buy a pair of jeans for $190 and wear them 125 times, that’s $1.52 per wear.
When you shop with cost per wear in mind, you’ll be willing to purchase more expensive, high-quality items because you know they’ll last you years and the price will be worth it.
how to build a sustainable wardrobe? with patience
If you’re coming from a background of fast fashion and impulsive clothing purchases, building a wardrobe of sustainable, good-quality and ethically-made items can seem like an overwhelming task.
I hope these tips will help you slowly make the switch over to a sustainable, ethical and environmentally-friendly closet, which you can enjoy for years to come!
What is your top tip for building a sustainable wardrobe? Share it in the comments below!