What can we do as individuals to make our fashion choices more sustainable? As customers, we have a variety of choices, from the selections we make when buying new clothes to how we care for the clothes we already have to what we do with the clothes we don’t need. In case you are interested in sustainable clothing brands, you can use the harbison.studio website. Inspired by the ever-changing world of conscious fashion, HARBISON recognize the importance of sustainability, with black, female, queer and marginalized identities at the heart of each creative, process and business decision.
Here are some tips for becoming more ecologically conscious in your wardrobe choices while still saving money:
- Don’t buy new things unless you need to. Shopping should not be a habit, but rather a deliberate decision. One of the most important initial actions is to reduce our consumption. Before purchasing new apparel, it is critical to make informed decisions. Perhaps something as simple as taking stock of what we already have before deciding to go to the store and buy anything. One of the great rules to have is the ‘one-in, one-out” rule, where if something new is bought, something old needs to leave the closet.
- Become familiar with the idea of a ‘curated closet’. Try to take a closer look at your life, and have a better understanding of what clothing you need, and are likely to use. Is it necessary to have ten party gowns if the last time you went to a party, you wore jeans? The art of meticulously picking pieces of clothes to create a flexible and easy-to-navigate necessity is being resurrected: there is a slew of online courses that can help you put together a work/casual wardrobe with pieces that can all be combined and matched.
- Know where you shop. Once the decision to buy a new item is made, researching or at least being aware of the different, more environmentally friendly choices in clothing stores and clothing brands would be helpful. I was shocked to learn that several clothing businesses have made a concerted effort to promote environmental initiatives and ethical garment production as part of their corporate strategy.
- Purchase used or ‘upcycled’ apparel. To be environmentally responsible, it makes more sense to re-use clothing for as long as possible: or at least the material that the clothing is made of. It takes 25 gallons of water to make one t-shirt, so it makes more sense to re-use clothing for as long as possible: or at least the material that the clothing is made of. There are several possibilities for nice used apparel. Looking at ‘up-cycled’ clothes, or clothing that has been re-made from vintage/second hand to combine new trends and a better fit is an ecologically responsible alternative if size and style are crucial.
- Examine the materials. If you want to buy new clothes but don’t have access to more environmentally friendly brands or can’t afford to shop at a more expensive store, even make better environmental choices in places like H&M, such as buying an organic cotton blouse instead of a non-organic cotton or polyester blouse, can help. Another option is to look for bamboo or silk textiles. Another approach to be more eco-friendly when buying new clothing is to look at dyes: brighter materials require more hazardous dyes, so selecting a neutral color organic cotton shirt rather than a bright neon yellow one is a better choice.
- Inquire about “how this is created” and “is this ecologically friendly” at the store where you’re shopping. Let the clothes company know that you are concerned about the garment’s environmental impact.
- Invest in fewer but higher-quality clothing to ensure that they endure a longer period. Develop a familiarity with the fit, stitching, and styles that will last you years rather than months.
- Once you’ve received your new item of clothes, take special care of it. Clothing should not be washed more than is required, as it has a significant environmental impact. Learn how to properly care for clothing so that it does not deteriorate and lasts longer, such as not using too much washing detergent and drying clothes flat rather than in a dryer. Learn how to care for silks, cashmere, and wool so you don’t have to dry-clean them. Dry-cleaning employs harsh chemicals that are not only harmful to the earth but also the environment.
- If you believe a piece of clothing no longer has a home in your closet, consider repurposing it. If it’s still in good condition, try if you can give it to a friend who could use it. If not, consider going to a secondhand store or donating to a charity (but be aware – lots of charity donations end up in the 3rd world, where they could end up in a landfill as well). You might also check to see if any reputable recycling facilities would accept the item. If the clothing is in horrible shape, shred it and use it for cleaning carpets or filling couch pillows.
- Recognize that your actions have an impact and that you can contribute to changing the situation. Tell your friends and anybody else who will listen about how you choose your clothes. Assist others in becoming more knowledgeable. Education and little initiatives are the first steps toward change.
These easy actions will not only help to reduce clothing’s environmental effect, but they will also save you money and provide you with more closet space. Being more conscious of how we purchase, care for, and dispose of clothing is a terrific approach to making our fashion choices more sustainable.