Wednesday, 3 May 2017

5 Easy Ways To A More Mindful Wardrobe

Fashion Revolution Week has just ended, with tens of thousands of people asking their favourite brands #whomademyclothes and demanding more transparency in the fashion industry. If Fashion Revolution was the first time you'd started to wonder where your clothes come from, and the concept of ethical/sustainable fashion seems like a black hole of endless information, don't worry! If you're just getting started, remember these five easy tips and you'll soon be on your way to a more mindful (and ultimately useable) wardrobe:

1. Get More Wear Out Of What You Have
The simplest (but perhaps hardest tip) is to actually wear the clothes you already own! Rather than feeling like you have to buy something new every week, which just leads to a mountain of items that don't go together and that you probably won't end up wearing again anyway, try "shopping your wardrobe" to rediscover old favourites and put together new outfits that you might not have tried before. If you need inspiration, check out capsule wardrobe bloggers such as Un-Fancy, Style Bee and INTO-MIND, which offer great tips for a more minimalist lifestyle, and check out the many repair tutorials online so you can keep wearing your favourites for longer, which could save up to 70% of clothes being thrown away.

2. Be Wary Of Too Much Washing and Drying
Research done by Levi's has shown that the biggest environmental impact of our clothing actually comes from "consumer care" - washing and drying in normal speak. Getting more wear out of your clothes before washing can drastically reduce this - try airing out your clothes for a day before chucking them in the laundry bin, wash on lower temperatures and line dry wherever possible. And if you only focus on one item, focus on jeans - according to Levi's, by wearing them ten times before washing, American consumers can reduce their water and climate change impact by 77%, U.K. and French consumers by 75% and Chinese consumers by 61%.

"By wearing jeans 10 times before washing, American consumers can reduce their water and climate change impact by 77%"
Levi Strauss Lifecycle Assessment, 2015

3. Upcycle, Swap, Rent
Just three ways of changing up your wardrobe without adding more items - get creative by upcycling pieces you already own (check out A Pair & A Spare for some quick and easy DIY ideas), throw a swap party with your friends and family like this one from last year's Fashion Revolution, or join a subscription site like Rent the Runway to try out pieces you would never be able to afford normally.  Renting is the perfect way to get your hands on that top designer dress or bag for a special night or two, and saves you buying a whole new outfit you might be less likely to wear again.

4. Buy Second Hand
If you do want to add to your wardrobe, the most sustainable way of doing this is by buying items that already have a story to tell. Check out your local thrift or charity shop, research kilo sales or vintage markets near to you or hop online to sites like thredUPVestiaire Collective and Oxfam Online, which according to Forbes are growing 17 times faster than traditional retail as the market becomes more and more saturated with stuff. As second hand becomes less of a well-kept secret, it might become more difficult to find amazing items for tiny prices, but nothing beats the treasure-hunt feeling and of finding that perfect piece that no-one else has.

"The combination of millennial customers' attitudes and the boom of online shopping are creating a threat to some retail models that isn't going away."
Forbes contributor Richard Kestenbaum, April 2017

5. Support Ethical And Sustainable Brands
Alongside the big players like Reformation, People Tree, Everlane and Zady, it seems like there are hundreds of independent ethical and sustainable fashion brands springing up every day, trying to change the industry in their own small way. Unlike a couple of decades ago, when the term "sustainable fashion" conjured up images of hemp-sack wearing hippies, modern brands are putting fashion first and showing that is it more than possible to produce beautiful, quality garments that are made with respect to both people and planet. Check out the list of my favourite brands here, or hop over to online boutiques like Ethica, A Boy Named Sue and The-Acey to shop their curated selections.

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