In order to build a sustainable wardrobe you need to look at your past, present and future shopping habits. A sustainable wardrobe is more than just buying expensive, well made clothes. It’s about being conscious, knowing where your clothes are coming from and making that conscious effort to buy sustainable and ethical. Here I will help you take the first steps to creating and building your sustainable and ethical wardrobe.
Go through your wardrobe and look at where you used to shop, what labels do you own? Are any of the labels you own ethical? I imagine you’ll probably have items from Topshop, H&M and Primark so here is some information about the ethical stance of these brands.
TopShop – Scored F on Shop Ethical! due to sweatshops, use of child labor, tax avoidance and low score in Fashion Transparency Index.
H&M – Scored C on Shop Ethical! due to workers rights in Cambodia and India as well as use of child labor.
Primark – Scored F on Shop Ethical! due to worker exploitation in India and use of child labor. Note, the owner of Primark scored F due to workers rights, farm animal welfare, commitment to deforestation, agricultural sourcing and tax avoidance.
How many items out of your wardrobe have you actually gotten use out of? If there are items in your wardrobe you haven’t worn or only ever worn once then ask yourself why that is, why didn’t you like that item? Asking yourself this means you are now less likely to make the same mistake again when buying items in the future.
Go through you wardrobe and make separate piles, one for charity, one to keep, one to sell and one to repurpose. Any items of clothing that no longer fit you or you just don’t wear put in the charity pile. Items of clothing you wear on a regular basis put in the keep pile. Any items you don’t wear but are in good condition and might be worth money put in the sell pile. Finally, any items that are damaged put in the repurpose pile, these are clothes you can use as rags for moping or cleaning, spare material for patching up holes or even cushion fillings.
Now think about the improvements you want to make.
Chose second-hand first, if there’s something you want to buy look for it in charity shops, on depop, ebay and Facebook market place. The chances are you’ll find it on one of those sites, by buying second hand you are not adding to the damage created by the fashion industry and you are also not supporting brands who exploit workers. Plus you’re saving money!
Compile a list of ethical brands to shop from, I use sites such as ethicalsuperstore to discover ethical brands. If you want to buy an item new, make sure you take into consideration the materials it is made from. Chose materials such as cork, bamboo and organic cotton, over regular cotton, polyester and leather which damage the environment and often aren’t ethically sourced.
Finally make sure you are only buying what you need and wearing everything you own.
I hope this has helped open your eyes on how to build a sustainable wardrobe, it’s easier and cheaper than you think and I urge you all to take the right steps towards a more compassionate and safer future.
Stay fashionable x