Tuesday, August 31, 2021


By Dan Matthews

Without Creating Excess Waste

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Textile waste makes up about 5% of all landfill space. If you’re a fashionista or just someone who loves clothes, that number might surprise you. You might be even more surprised to learn that the majority of that waste comes from discarded clothing. With more people trying to live a sustainable lifestyle, educating yourself on things like fast fashion and sustainable clothing is incredibly important. 

If you’ve thrown away clothing in the past because it was damaged or just because you didn’t like it anymore, you’re not alone. But, it’s never too late to make positive changes. 

Building a sustainable wardrobe is a great way to reduce the waste you produce every day. That starts by finding alternatives to throwing away clothes, shopping with sustainable brands, and avoiding fast fashion for quality clothes that will last for years. 

If you’re committed to living a greener lifestyle, you don’t have to compromise your love for fashion. Let’s cover a few tips you can use to be fashionable without being wasteful. 

Stick to Sustainable Brands

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Because of the textile waste problem around the globe, some brands have started to create sustainable initiatives when it comes to how they produce their clothing. Some of the most sustainable brands that are committed to ethical fashion include: 

  • Boden
  • Kotn
  • Pact
  • Boody
  • Happy Earth

If you want to be a responsible shopper, don’t be afraid to do your research on the brands you already love. You might be surprised at what you find. Some of the biggest “fast fashion” culprits make cheap clothing with low-quality materials. By doing a little bit of digging, you might even see some of your favorite brands on the list. There’s a reason these stores are popular, but it doesn’t make them environmentally ethical. 

While the savings might tempt you, they’re labeled as “fast fashion” brands because clothing doesn’t often last. Because of the poor production quality, it’s not uncommon for items from these brands to tear or simply fall apart after a short period of time. Where do you think they end up? 

Shopping more sustainably often means spending more money on clothes. But, it’s important to think of it as an investment. Buying high-quality clothes means they’ll last longer. Even if you eventually grow out of a particular style, you can recycle or donate those clothes, rather than having to throw them away. 

Go Vintage

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Fashion is cyclical. Trends come and go. What’s old is new again. 

You get the idea. 

The reality is, certain trends will always be in style and others will always make a comeback. So, instead of spending an entire paycheck on a pair of flare-legged jeans, you might consider checking out other ways to bring some vintage fashion into your closet. Not sure where to look? Try some of these options: 

  • Thrift stores
  • Garage/yard sales
  • Asking your parents/grandparents if they have any old clothing

You never know what kind of clothing or accessories you could find when you’re willing to “go vintage.” Your grandmother’s bold handbag from the 70s could be perfect as a fall statement piece. That 1960s jewelry from your local thrift store? It could be exactly what you need for your next night out with friends or on a date. 

Get creative with your clothing choices by thinking beyond online shopping or going to the mall. Looking for vintage items is like going on a real-life treasure hunt, and you never know what “gems” you’ll find. 

Recycle and Repurpose

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You’re not going to wear the same things forever. Your personal taste might change, or you might just want to make room in your closet for something different. Maybe you’ve decided to live a more minimalist lifestyle and invest in staple wardrobe items like quality shoes and clothes rather than participating in micro trends. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of options for “getting rid” of clothes you don’t want that don’t involve throwing them away. If you truly want your fashion choices to be zero-waste, then give the clothes you don’t want a new life by: 

  • Donating to local thrift stores
  • Donating to homeless shelters or community centers
  • Hosting a garage sale
  • Giving pieces to friends/family members

If you’ve “caved” and given into fast fashion in the past, some of the pieces you have might be too damaged to donate anywhere else. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t be recycled or repurposed. If something is torn or badly damaged, consider cutting it up and using it for cleaning rags. Or, get crafty with fabric glue or a sewing needle. You might be able to create or accentuate different pieces of clothing with scraps of fabric from something else. 

You don’t have to give up your sense of fashion to live a sustainable lifestyle. It’s all about making choices that fit your needs and wants while doing what’s best for the future of the planet. Keep these ideas in mind to kick fast fashion to the curb, and invest more time and thought into a sustainable wardrobe.

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