If you’re looking to adopt sustainable fashion, there are several ways to get started. These include avoiding synthetic fabrics, buying natural fabrics, and recycling your clothes.
The fashion industry is responsible for a huge carbon footprint. It produces 1.2 million metric tons of CO2 every year and consumes 70 million barrels of oil.
1. Avoid Synthetic Fabrics
While it may be tempting to purchase a new pair of jeans or dress in a cotton-rich jersey, these fabrics can have long-lasting environmental impacts. They are usually made of petroleum, a fossil fuel which contributes to global warming and is a non-renewable resource.
In addition, synthetic fabrics are often made from toxic chemicals, which can harm humans and animals, as well as the environment. Synthetic fibers also release a large amount of microfibers into the ocean when they are washed and worn, contributing to the problem of plastic pollution.
Thankfully, there are many alternatives to synthetic fabrics that can help us adopt sustainable fashion. Natural fabrics like cotton, silk, and linen do not produce toxins in the same way as synthetics.
Another benefit of using natural fabrics is that they are renewable and biodegradable. However, they do not always break down completely – in fact, some natural fibers (like wool) can take centuries to decompose.
The same goes for synthetic materials, which are not easily recycled and can sit in landfills for years before they begin to biodegrade. They are also a major cause of climate change and the pollution of our air, water, soil, and animals.
This is why most of the most sustainable brands and designers are choosing to avoid synthetics altogether. Patagonia, for example, has announced that it will only use “preferred materials” in its autumn collection next year. It is also launching a “no synthetics” program for its employees. In addition, it is urging its customers to wash their synthetic-made clothes with lower temperatures and for longer periods of time, and to hand wash when possible. In this way, consumers can reduce the amount of harmful microplastics that are released during laundering.
2. Buy Natural Fabrics
When you buy clothes made from natural fabrics, you’re making an eco-friendly choice. These fabrics are biodegradable, durable, breathable and naturally repellent to mold and dirt. They’re also softer than synthetic fabrics, which means they won’t scratch your skin and cause irritation.
You can find natural fabrics in a variety of styles and materials, from linen and wool to hemp and cotton. It’s important to note that while these fabrics are more environmentally friendly than synthetics, they’re not as long-lasting and may need to be washed often.
Organic fabrics are especially great because they’re grown without the use of chemicals and pesticides. The fabric can also be GOTS-certified, which helps you know that it was produced in an ethical way.
Bamboo is another great choice because it’s a sustainable plant that doesn’t require a lot of water. But it does need to be chemically processed in order to make fabric, so make sure you ask if this is the case before you buy.
The best part about purchasing clothes made from natural fibers is that they can be reused and recycled. Currently, many clothing items end up in landfills, but innovative technologies are being developed that can recycle them into new clothing.
It’s also possible to purchase used garments from recommerce sites or brands that sell pre-owned items. This is a great option for those who are on a budget but want to make the conscious fashion choice.
There are so many more fabrics out there that can be made from a more sustainable material. You should check out these innovative fabrics and see which ones fit your style. There are so many options for a more mindful purchase, so start shopping today!
3. Recycle Your Clothes
If you have a large amount of clothes that you no longer wear or are no longer of good quality, then you can always donate them to a local charity. This is a great way to help those in need while also cutting down on the amount of waste that would go into landfills.
Another great option is to sell your clothing at a secondhand store. This can be a great way to earn some extra cash while supporting small businesses that rely on the purchase of secondhand clothes.
Several nonprofits also have textile donation programs that accept used clothes to resell at their secondhand stores. Donating to charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army helps those in need while reducing landfill waste.
Some recycling companies have a ‘Fabrics and Clothing Zero Waste Box’ that you can fill with your unwanted fabric items. Once the box is filled, you can then ship them to a recycling center that will break your fabric into fibers to be used in new fabrics.
You can even upcycle your fabrics into something else useful if they’re in good shape. This can be as simple as turning them into a rug or using them to make grocery store bags.
As with any recycling process, it is important to be mindful of which fabrics are safe for the environment. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and spandex can be harmful to the environment.
These materials can release large amounts of oil into the atmosphere during the manufacturing process. This can harm the air quality and cause other environmental problems.
Fortunately, most clothing items can be recycled. However, it is important to check with your local government to ensure that your recycling program will take these types of items.
4. Look for Fair Trade Labels
When you are looking for ways to adopt sustainable fashion, it is best to look for fair trade labels. These are labelling schemes that are based on fair trade principles and aim to improve the lives of farmers and workers in developing countries.
The most important reason to look for a fair trade label is that it ensures that the farmers and factories who produce the materials used to make clothing are paid a living wage. This is a huge improvement from the way fast fashion brands operate, which only pays workers a fraction of what they are worth.
It also means that the factories have to be sustainable and invest in water efficient technology, waste reduction, and reduced chemical usage. These investments can make a huge difference to the lives of those who are involved in the manufacturing process, as well as the environment.
Another great thing about Fairtrade is that it promotes the use of natural, GMO-free and plastic-free materials. This means that farmers who use Fairtrade materials are putting the health of their communities and the planet first.
Moreover, you can also support the efforts of small, local farms by buying from them. This can help them become self-sustainable and provide jobs for local people who need them.
While there are many ways to adopt sustainable fashion, the best way is to educate yourself and start a conversation with friends and family. This will help you spread the word and inspire others to do the same.
You can find a range of different labelling schemes on fashion, but most people are aware of the Fairtrade certification. It is a third-party certification scheme that has been established to help ensure that the farmers and workers involved in manufacturing are treated fairly.
5. Shop Local
One of the best ways to start adopting sustainable fashion is to shop locally. This is the most effective way to reduce your impact on the environment.
It also helps you build relationships with the people who make your products and learn their stories – which is an important part of sustainability.
Buying clothes from a local business is also a great way to support your community and those in need of jobs. Small mom-and-pop shops often struggle to stay open when competition from large corporations comes into play, so shopping locally is the best way to help them continue thriving and helping the community as a whole.
Another benefit of local purchases is that you can be assured that the materials used to create the clothes you purchase are sustainable and do not pose health risks. This is especially important for women who want to avoid the harmful chemicals that can be found in synthetic fabrics.
The best way to do this is by making informed purchasing decisions, such as choosing Fair Trade brands over conventional ones and buying organic clothing. These ethically made goods are not only more environmentally friendly, but they also pay their workers fairly and are transparent throughout the entire supply chain.
It is also worth remembering that the environmental and social impacts of fashion come at every stage of its lifecycle – from material production to use and disposal. For example, it is estimated that a pair of denim jeans may have travelled from the cotton fields to the garment manufacturing plant to your closet and then landed in a landfill within months. This is a significant and unsustainable waste stream that needs to be addressed at the global level in order to ensure that our planet has a sustainable future.