5 Tips for Dressing Sustainably

The rise of fast fashion in the 1990s has caused a major shift in the fashion industry, with big brands like Zara introducing about 20 collections a year. True enough, the Pretty Planeteer shows how fast fashion harms the environment because it perpetuates the idea that consumers must buy all the latest clothes. This causes the industry to produce 20% of the world’s water waste and 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mention, the most popular clothing material is polyester, which is made of plastic and is extremely polluting to the environment.

Fortunately, you can help lessen the impact of the fashion industry in your own ways as a consumer. If you're looking for some tips to dress more sustainably, keep reading.

1. Build a timeless wardrobe

A timeless wardrobe transcends trends, and thus reduces the need for producing new garments. Our previous article How to Create a Timeless Wardrobe explains how you can invest in items that fit your style and can be easily dressed up or down — no matter what season it is. To do this, it’s important to keep in mind the notion of quality over quantity. Invest in durable pieces that will last you for a long time. Not only will you spend less money on replacements, but you also avoid throwing away more clothes. The BENITO Natural Cognac from CANO, for instance, is a classic piece that is handcrafted in a timeless style, so it fits customers of any age.

2. Support sustainable and ethical brands

It may seem harmless when you spend on fast fashion, but where you direct your money shows where your support lies. As such, continuing to buy from harmful corporations keeps the demand high. In this regard, you should instead consider supporting sustainable and ethical brands. Make an effort to get to know their business practices and the materials they use. Just be sure that these brands actually uphold honest practices and aren't just greenwashing. Medium lists some tips that can help you spot greenwashing — such as not being transparent about their processes and using vague language.

3. Stick to the ‘30 Wears’ rule

Before buying an item, Giving Fashion recommends asking yourself if you see yourself wearing it at least 30 times. This is a good benchmark that ensures you maximize the investment of your piece and prevent it from going to a landfill. While there are no rules to fashion (as long as you like a piece!), there are still a few questions you need to ask yourself before buying. Is it made well? Does it fit you comfortably? Can you incorporate it into your existing wardrobe? If you're finding it hard to say 'yes,' perhaps reconsider if the piece is actually worth it.

4. Educate yourself on harmful fast fashion practices

Because of the internet, it’s easier than ever to educate yourself about the fashion industry — so there's no reason not to take advantage of this accessibility. For instance, The University of Alabama at Birmingham shows the true cost of fast fashion — from its negative impact on the environment, to the exploitation of garment workers. Again, it's your responsibility as a consumer to be aware of these facts, so you can make more informed decisions and direct your support to brands who make an effort to right these wrongs.

5. Shop secondhand or borrow from friends

As the saying goes: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure — and this definitely applies to clothes. For one thing, buying secondhand or borrowing clothes saves you money and widens your wardrobe choices. Aside from that, Mindful of the Home says it also reduces the fast fashion demand. Secondhand clothing is unique as well, and you never know, you might find some designer pieces for the fraction of the price.

Don't stop at your wardrobe

Looking good isn’t just about clothes. It also includes other aspects like makeup and skincare, and you can definitely extend your sustainability efforts to these aspects too. Nowadays, there are so many vegan and sustainable beauty labels out there — from beauty brand The Lip Bar to children's skincare line Toddle. Indeed, it's nice to see more industries striving to make sustainability more accessible for consumers. Don't forget, you can incorporate small, eco-friendly habits too. It can be as simple as riding a bike to work instead of taking your car, or lessening your meat intake.

It may be difficult to incorporate sustainability at first. But as we've noted on The Cano Shoe, sustainable living doesn't always have to be hard or expensive — you just need to start where you can, and work your way from there.

 

Story by Riz Julian

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