As the majority of the population, I used to be extremely demanding regarding the prices I bought my clothes for. When going into the shop, I would constantly buy the cheapest clothes, those on sale, that I could get for a steal….
What I realized back then was that those clothes were so cheap just because they were fast fashion. Those clothes were such a low quality that they would shrunk or faded after one or two washes, putting in the trash the work of people who are not paid fairly for their time, without mentioning that insane amount of pollution I was creating in synchronicity with the companies I was buying from.
Two years ago, I didn’t’ know what it meant to have a sustainable wardrobe and I can insure you I had no idea that they were ways to be more mindful about my consumption.
I was persuaded that I was saving money on clothes, because I paid so little for them while in reality, I was really just throwing my money away.
If I had the brilliant idea to shop smarter and more sustainable fabrics, I would have better quality clothing that would last me years instead of months and that were made more responsibly for the people and for the environment.
What I learned thought is that if you are willing to work your way around the big companies, put a bit more of cash and a little bit of love and caring, into these clothes of yours, they would last longer.
Congrats, you’ve just learned what is slow fashion a.k.a an awareness and approach to fashion, which considers the processes and resources required to make clothing, particularly focusing on sustainability. It involves buying better-quality garments that will last for longer and values fair treatment of people, animals and the planet.
But why is it so important you ask me?
The clothing and textile industry is the second largest polluter of the globe, racing with oil. This pollution comes from the manufacturing but also because of the way we discard our agreement when we’re done with them. Only 20% of clothing in the world is currently recycled or reused.
But fear not because they’re easy to implement solution to embrace the slow fashion, by creating a sustainable (and optimally capsule) wardrobe. When it comes to building your closet, what you want to keep in mind is that: Production / Consumerism /Recycling
They’re all part of a clothing life cycle’s but thanks to our modern ages, we’ve added some more link to the chain such as the thrift shops… So here are six ways to create your ideal ethical closet whatever your budget is.
Value and take good care of the clothes you own.
Taking care of the clothes you already own is the best and most basic thing you can do to build a more ethical closet.
Nor did somebody somewhere spend a lot of time and effort into making it, but the better you care for your clothes, the longer they will last. But that’ll also means they’ll need to be replaced less often and overall, you’ll buy fewer clothes, cutting lose your contribution to the fashion in the long-term.
Read the washing instructions on the labels and follow them, fold the heavy wool sweater instead of hanging them and deforming time.
Recycle and D.I.Y your worn-out pieces
Pieces that are scratched, holed or that you’re bored with can turn into new and exciting items if you’re willing to dedicate some time and love into modifying and fixing them. From an old dress, you can create a two-piece matching outfit, and convert one of your dad shirts into a cute tank top.
Don’t forget to turn to your relatives who always have items they don’t want anymore and your aunt or grandma for this sewing machine which always looked magical when you were a kid. That’ll give you something to brag about to your friends… sewing skills.
Discard your clothes thoughtfully
If everything mentioned above fail and even your creative mind can’t find a way to transform your last loss into a chef d’oeuvre, discard your clothes thoughtfully.
In every city, clothes bins exist for you to give your teared clothes a chance at being recycled and put back into the manufacturing process. This way you give the cloth a longer lifespan in another shape.
Shop less, choose your pieces better
Of course, when you’re in the need of another outfit don’t refrain from going to the store. But be mindful, the fast fashion industry has gotten its name for the quick rate at which catwalk and companies are delivering clothes and collections to the masses. It also describes the most common way that we shop for our clothes: fast, without thinking too much about it!
The result: we grab thing here and there, attracted by the low prices and the newness around the product. That leaves us with a closet full of stuff that we’re not that crazy about, and that creates the void which impulse us to go back to the store, to replace the imperfect pieces with better alternatives to end up with nothing to wear.
My solution to break the cycle: start choosing better, step up to that seller. Don’t buy the first pair of jeans that fits, find the one that you won’t quit and that will last you years.
Be more selective: YES less is better, don’t buy things that aren’t ideal, that are trendy but won’t go with anything in your closet.
My technique: leave the piece in the store, take a stroll and go try it back one. You’ll realize if you really want to go back to the store or to just keep walking. By learning to wait, you’ll buy less in the short-run but also in the long-run because you’ll build up a much better and satisfying closet.
Go for clothes that are high-quality and durable
Building a sustainable closet requires you to buy high-quality clothing that won’t deteriorates during a short time.
No matter the brand, buying clothes that are well-made and consist of high-quality materials is eco-friendlier than buying lower-quality pieces, because they’ll last longer and won’t need to be replace as often.
Also, paying a price higher for clothes that’ll last you longer, will still make you save money in the end, because you’ll end up buying less. Meaning less closet turn-over and less shopping overall!
Second-hand is your best friend
A great budget friendly solution is the market of the second hand, cheaper that buying from ethical brands who tends to be pricier for all the great reasons: better quality, long-lasting agreement and equally paid, you can check all the criteria by buying pre-worn clothes which were made and designed before planned obsolescence even existed.
The only dark side of vintage shopping is usually how time-consuming it can get, but its worth all the effort when you find the unique piece that’ll make all your friend jealous because of its longevity, cheap-price and unique design.
I hope that all those reasons helped you get started on your journey to a more responsible way to shop. This article was written knowing everyone already has a closet, don’t start over by throwing everything away. You can start by putting everything on hanger, by the end of your first month, the 50% percent of clothes you won’t have touched can be sold online, given to friends and siblings or redesigned. It’s a process and throwing half of your closet will only leave you with sour taste of waste of money, time and love. Start slow and don’t give up.
Great things take time.