10 Ways To Be More Sustainable
The #30Wears campaign was created by Livia Firth, founder of Eco Age, to encourage us to only buy an item if we really know that we'll wear it. The biggest message is every time you buy something, always think, 'Will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?' If the answer is yes, then buy it. But you'd be surprised how many times you say no."
Try to veer away from buying that statement piece you know you are only going to wear for one occasion, and instead invest in something with more longevity that you can wear again and again. Pick more versatile pieces that can be styled in different ways, rather than that one item you know is going to fall out of fashion in no time.
2. Be more informed
It can be tricky to know just where to start when it comes to being more sustainable. But also, more importantly, where to shop. Thankfully, it's now a lot more straight forward than it once was; there are so many brands that operate with a sustainable focus in mind, but do beware of brands that use greenwashing tactics (Using marketing to appear more ethical/sustainable than they actually are).
It is important to do your homework. Social media is an easy way to speak directly to brands. When making such a special purchase, you want to make sure you are buying from a brand that aligns with your values.
Do a little investigative work to find a handful of brands you love and start from there. After a while, your portfolio of knowledge will have grown – and you'll have a whole host of labels to choose from. A general rule to apply when researching into whether a brand is sustainable is that if it's difficult to find out their stance, chances are they aren't as eco-conscious as they seem.
3. Change your attitudes to shopping
Every new item of clothing made has a substantial carbon footprint attached to its manufacturing, we do not to create new fibres, just re-use the old where possible. Moving to organic and recycled fibres has a huge role to play in making fashion more sustainable and reducing a global footprint that includes the 132m metric tonnes of coal used yearly through the production of new fibres, dyeing and bleaching of garments and the 6-9 trillion litres of water used by the industry.
4. Invest in trans-seasonal clothes
Only buy items that you know are going to work for you all year round. Don't shell out on an entire summer wardrobe each year when you live in cold and rainy London – you won't pass the 30 wears test. Instead, spend the bulk of your money on pieces that will see you through more than one season. Jeans, T-shirts, classic dresses, timeless coats and jackets will make for a much more sustainable wardrobe.
5. Donate your unwanted clothes
Donating your unwanted clothes to a good cause, rather than leaving them hanging in your wardrobe, will help others to be more sustainable; they will invest in your old pieces, rather than buying something new. A great way to do this is to have a one-in, one-out policy – live by the mantra that every time you buy something, you'll donate something. This will also make you buy less if you like everything you already own from using the 30 wears test.
6. Look after your clothes so they last longer
If you buy higher-quality clothes, they are likely to last longer (and you're also more likely to treat them more carefully because they were more expensive), but this goes for everything hanging in your wardrobe. Look after them properly and you will have to replace things less often. From caring for your cashmere to washing your denim inside out, go the extra mile to ensure your clothes stay at their best for longer.
7. Learn how to repair clothing yourself (or find a good tailor)
When something rips, tears or breaks off you don't necessarily have to throw it away. Learn how to repair your clothes and accessories – or, even easier, pay a professional to do it. Think twice before using it as an excuse for something new.
We all know that renting our clothes and contributing to the circular economy is great and we know that buying secondhand is favourable over fast fashion. But being sustainable can be as simple as finding a great tailor you can rely on, rather than throwing things out when they feel worn.
8. Go for quality over quantity
Buying better quality, more sustainable pieces is likely to cost you more money than buying a cheap high-street product that doesn't tick the right boxes. However, it's all about changing your mindset. Yes, it costs more, but you're likely to have it for longer and will be buying less per season overall. Buying just a few high-quality items a year, rather than lots of cheaper, less eco-friendly pieces, will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. Basically, save up, invest and buy less. In the long run you may be saving money, you would be surprised!
9. Adjust how you spend your money
Instead of spending your savings on a dress for a wedding or a pair of shoes that you'll only wear for special occasions, spend your 'investment' cash on the things you wear every day. Stop thinking, 'I would never spend that much on a pair of jeans'. Instead, consider that you are only going to buy one pair of jeans this year, or one item this month – and make it that. After a few seasons, you will have a high-quality, sustainable wardrobe to be proud of.
10. Change your perspective
With more and more brands seeing the importance of an environmental focus, dressing sustainably no longer means compromising on look, colour, style etc – so don’t think it does. Being “eco” doesn’t mean wearing oversized, style-less, bland clothes. As a consumer you don’t have to compromise, there are plenty of choices out there.