Are you sick of buying new clothes and only wearing them once? Maybe you watched the ABC’s War on Waste and discovered that a whopping 6000 kgs of clothes are thrown out every 10 minutes in Australia, and that figure doesn’t sit well with you.
Whatever the case may be, I’m here to help. Keep reading for a few simple ways you can help the environment and your own wallet by embracing the sustainable fashion movement.
- Do your research: Find out whether or not the brands you love have an ethical production line – i.e. fair wages, working conditions that surpass the minimum standard, etc. If not, ditch them for brands who are transparent and honest (you can find those here).
- Don’t over-purchase: Match existing pieces of your wardrobe with different accessories for new looks rather than splurging on a new outfit every time you have an event to go to.
- Give away, don’t throw away: Donate your old threads to charity when you’ve grown out of them, rather than binning them. (Note: always check with the store before dumping a massive bag on their doorstep, and only donate items that can be revived – some op shops receive huge amounts of donations and while they’re appreciative, sifting through unclean or unsalvageable items is not fun for anybody).
- DIY sustainably: If you enjoy making your own clothes, opt for sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton, bamboo and recycled polyester.
- Dry your clothes in a salad spinner: Save on electricity by giving your hand washed items a spin in a salad spinner. Sounds funny but it works!
- Make use of your steamy showers: Hang your clothes on the shower rod when taking a hot shower and let the steam iron out any wrinkles.
- Re-whiten your old sneakers: Dip a toothbrush in a small bowl of baking soda and detergent and scrub your old sneakers white again, instead of buying another new pair.
- Cut the legs off your long pants for summer: why buy a pair of super cool jeans in winter only to stop wearing them two or three months later? Turn them into a cute pair of shorts by chopping the bottoms off and hemming to avoid fraying.
- Keep your old t-shirts: If you own a pair of scissors and a needle & thread, you can turn a t-shirt into just about anything. Singlets, Scarves, Headbands, Undies – the list is endless.
- Save the scraps: If you’re making new clothes or cutting bits of old clothes, keep the scrap pieces of material and use them as belts, headbands or if you’re feeling fancy, create a bow or flower to be sewn onto your plain items.
- Think outside the box: Not only can clothes be upcycled into new clothing items, they can also be cut up or sewn together to make things like blankets, bags, or cushion covers. Let your imagination run wild.