Asian’s love to shop! Across the continent the mall has replaced the town square as the epicentre of activity and shopping has become a national pastime in many countries. But few take the time to understand how fashion hurts the environment and what’s the true cost of rabid consumerism. We hope to change that.
In this day and age, it can be hard to love the clothes you’ve got when you’re constantly tempted by new styles in shiny shop windows every week. There are key moments in life when we naturally want to make a new purchase, like after going through a breakup, moving house, or scoring a promotion. But before you head to your local mall or scroll through the new arrivals section in your favourite online store, spare a thought for what it takes to get that fast fashion to you.
You may be surprised to learn that your clothing goes through a rigorous process before it hits the stores, and the environment takes a huge hit along the way. So what impact do your clothing choices really have on the planet? Let’s look at the entire procedure to understand.
First, fibre is acquired, and it’s often sourced from an animal, plant or crude oil. The fibre undergoes a huge process where it’s spun into yarn and then woven or knitted into a piece of fabric. After this, dyes and bleaches are applied to the garment to transform it into the colours you see on the end product. And lastly, the pieces of fabric are cut and stitched together to make the constructed garment. Now if that wasn’t enough, each of these stages usually takes place at different factories, which can be countries apart. And there’s a lot of water involved in making a single piece – it’s added throughout the chemical processes that turn the garment into a soft material and during the dying process. Now multiply this process by the billions of garments that are created each year – that’s a huge impact on our precious environment.
Now that you’re armed with this information, it’s time to take the next step. How can you turn things around and make better choices that the environment will thank you for?
Shop slow fashion
There are so many alternatives to fast fashion, and they’re a whole lot better for the environment. At its core, slow fashion uses quality manufacturing to create clothes, accessories and shoes that will last longer. It’s a much more ethical and sustainable way of consuming your favourite products because it centres around respecting the environment and valuing the people who create the clothing. Three hallmarks of slow fashion include taking a local approach, having a transparent production system, and making sustainable products. One brand that is renowned for its slow fashion approach is Everlane, which provides detailed information about the factory that each product comes from. Boutique sustainable Australian labels include Vege Threads, Salt Gypsy KITX, and more. With society being more switched on than ever to the importance of looking after the environment, there are a growing number of sustainable brands. Do your own research to find slow fashion brands that you love.
Reuse and restyle the items in your closet
Have you taken a look inside your closet lately? There are probably items in there that you haven’t worn for years. Why not pull them out and have a play around with them? Mix and match older items with new items. It’s amazing what you can come up with! You might even put together entire new outfits that you absolutely love.
Recycle and purchase second-hand items
If it’s time to get rid of clothes due to a big spring clean out, moving or any other reason, don’t just throw them in the trash – recycle them! Likewise, if you want to purchase something new, why not look for the treasure in someone else’s trash? There are so many goodies to be found in local op shops and second-hand stores, so grab a bunch of friends and make a day of it! And if you want to make sure things are really tidy this spring, consider a professional cleaner to make sure every inch of your home or office is spick and span!
Swap clothes with a friend
Speaking of friends, why not help each other find new clothing in each other’s wardrobes? A piece of clothing, a pair of shoes or an accessory that you no longer wear might be something your friend would absolutely love. You could even put on a clothing swap event with a group of friends, where you all bring five items to trade. Make an afternoon of it with champagne, cheese and nibbles. It’ll be a whole heap of fun and you’ll all be doing your part to look after the environment while scoring new clothes.
I hope this insight has motivated you to make change when it comes to your fast fashion choices. As I’ve outlined, there really are so many ways that you can spruce up your wardrobe without having to hurt the environment. By heeding these simple tips, you can be thankful that you’re making a difference.