When was the last time you checked the material of the clothes you bought?
Every choice you and I make will impact nature in many ways. Yes, even with regards to fashion. Every clothes you decide to purchase will create a demand for a product that isn’t sustainable, which are bringing even more problems to earth.
According to UNEP statistics, the Fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. And that’s not the only issue. And remember each and every clothes we over-buy and dispose of occupies 87% of landfills. Due to the fast fashion industry, we are literally ruining our planet. And I have also been a part of this as I lacked awareness. We have forgotten to look at what we are using.
Polyester and synthetics, the heroic fabric of the fashion industry is also a antagonist for nature. In what way? Well for starters, polyester is not fabric at all… reality check! Its a plastic.
Why should we care about responsible fashion practice?
A few years back I came across this factual data on an environmentally conscious Instagram page – According to Forbes, each year almost 70 billion barrels of oil is used to make polyester. Yes! you read it right, 70 billion barrels of fossil fuel. And go check your wardrobe now, how many of your clothes are made of polyester. I did check after reading that statement and felt really bad and guilty.
Since then I have decided to slowly take action to change my attitude towards fashion. It wasn’t easy for various reasons. It won’t be easy for you either. But if you really want to be a part of the change, here are the few ways which I have been doing to control shopping patterns and doing some basic level contribution to sustainable fashion and wardrobe maintenance.
1. Prepare A Wardrobe Inventory
Creating a wardrobe inventory is the most tiresome beginning but worth every moment you spend. Also, it will help you to choose a style or outfit for your outing quite easily by looking at the excel sheet instead of creating a mess. I will share the inventory excel screenshot here so that you can create your own in excel sheet. This will help you to recognize how many clothes and what type of clothes you have or how many of them are polyesters.
Sometimes we feel like there are no clothes at all in our wardrobe. After creating this inventory you won’t feel like that again. At least to a certain extent. Preparing this inventory will also help you to identify which type of clothes or which colour of clothes you have and don’t have so that next time you go shopping instead of buying the same model or colour you can easily choose the one which will reduce the burden on the earth.
2. Look at material tag before price tag
This is the simplest action you could take. Try to stick with clothes that are not made of polyester or synthetic. While other materials are biodegradable, Polyester is resilient, it won’t decompose which is exactly the situation we are facing with plastic. Learn more about a different type of fabrics, their quality, and nature. It will be really interesting the more you research.
While doing online shopping, with the help of filters in apps like Myntra and Ajio you can filter the material easily. But, when it comes to buying directly revert the cloth and look inside. The tiny tag inside that gives information on the material would be helpful at these times.
Sometimes you have to force yourself to give up on the dress you are in love with for the sake of good. I had a hard time in the beginning. But, you will be proud of yourself at the end of the day. You are creating a demand for products that will be less toxic for the earth. That’s something you should really be proud of.
These are some of the fabrics which I am recently opting for instead of polyester and synthetic: Natural & Animal-Based Fabrics – Organic & Recycled Cotton, Linen, Wool, Tencel, Bamboo fabric & Silk. Other Sustainable Fabric – ECOVERO, Lyocell, Liva, Denim.
3. Lets Normalize Wearing Same Clothes Often
Instead of pondering on wearing the same clothes more than a week as a sloppy act, consider it as something that doesn’t need to be overlooked. Wear the same clothes more than 3 times a week. Pair it up with something different or mix match it. As you get used to it you will ultimately lack the necessity to buy new clothes often. With jackets, jeans and trousers you can do this successfully. This will also reduce water wastage for washing your clothes too often.
4. Try to support sustainable brands and products with certification and label
Since it’s hard to find sustainable products in stores for a reasonable price in a country like India, you can use an online platform like Myntra. You have a separate section in Myntra called, “Myntra for Earth” look around some of the best collections of sustainable and eco-friendly products. Instead of looking only at products of brands like H&M, look out for Indian based brands like Dressberry, Taavi and Roadster who try their best to give EU ecolabel certified ECOVERO clothes. Do some research so that you don’t get greenwashed. I have been using Dressberry and Roadster ECOVERO clothes which are so far good, no complaints.
Some of the sustainable and ethical fashion labels to look around are Better Cotton Initiative(BCI), EU Ecolabel, Fair Trade, The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), The Bluesign, Friend of the Earth etc.
I am quite interested in the idea of thrift shopping. But, I haven’t bought thrifted clothes so far. But, from many Instagram pages which I have been watching around I feel like it has been slowly gaining success and creating interest among millennials and Gen Z. This practice will surely extend the lifecycle of the product and create a lesser negative impact on the environment.
Moreover, instead of dumping your clothes as waste, if your clothes are in good condition but don’t fit anymore, donate them. Other than that, while using them, try to be gentle and maintain them well so that they last longer.
Another interesting way to use unwanted clothes is to restructure, redesign or alter them so that you can use them for another purpose. Look at the following video. This will guide you to transform your old t-shirt into a carrying bag. (Video)
I agree that these businesses that produce products without considering nature are responsible for the larger impact. But as a consumer, we are still encouraging them to sell by buying their products that are not healthy to earth and products that are hard for the earth to digest. So, take this small step for a better change.
I have been doing these for a while now and it’s pretty much helpful. There will be times that you might be forced to break this principle but don’t worry you can set things right by complementing one of the suggestions with other. Like if you accidentally bought a polyester, make sure you use it for 10 years. I am serious. Or even pass it on for generations if you are determined.
Clothes are more than just clothes in the generation we are living in. So take the right action for a better world. So yeah! Felt like sharing this with you guys. If you have more suggestions to add make sure to comment. If you find it useful share it with your friends and try to follow this together.
Follow pages like @thezerowasteguide and @brightly.eco to understand the importance of living eco-friendly.