Presenting innovative designs, incredible runway shows, and new style trends each year, the fashion industry can seem particularly fun and glamorous on the outside. However, the industry does hide some dark secrets. Not only is fashion responsible for highly unethical practices such as unbearably low wages and the use of child labor, but it is also among the largest contributors to pollution in the world, right behind the oil and gas and agriculture industries.
Evidently, making smarter and more sustainable choices in terms of fashion is the only way to lower your carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier environment. To help you achieve that goal, here are some of the best eco-friendly fashion tips that will allow you to finally go green:
Opt out of fast fashion
Even though low price tags can often be appealing, especially when we’re not working with a large budget, the fast fashion industry is among the biggest contributors to climate change. The industry uses a staggering amount of water for production, while simultaneously polluting the environment with toxic chemicals and contributing to deforestation. Apart from having a devastating carbon footprint, many of these companies also use unethical labor practices, which is why it’s never recommended to support fast fashion. Instead, choose only eco-friendly brands that are honest, transparent, and committed to sustainability.
Attempt to shop locally
If sustainable companies are too expensive, supporting local companies and manufacturers can also be a great solution for avoiding fast fashion brands. These are usually small businesses that take up less land and resources, and they might even be working with local factories with fair labor laws and practices. Similarly, these brands often help to decrease pollution, as they likely source their materials locally, thus avoiding the common issues of transportation. Besides reducing your environmental impact, shopping with smaller, independent companies can also allow you to support your local economy and community, presenting a win-win situation for everyone.
Select better materials
When shopping for clothing and accessories, it’s also important to keep the fabrics and materials in mind, as some are far more sustainable than others. For instance, if you plan on purchasing a new wallet, you might want to avoid leather and faux leather fabrics, as they both cause high emissions in the production process. Instead, it would be better to choose a sleek carbon fiber wallet that is as beautiful as it is green. This material is thin and lightweight, while offering incredible strength and durability, meaning it will likely last you for years to come. As these materials often come from recycled sources as well, it could be an added eco-friendly benefit of choosing more high-quality materials.
Extend the item’s cycle
When you have clothing items you can’t fit into or don’t wish to wear anymore, instead of throwing them out, attempt to extend their life cycle. For example, if the pieces are in good condition, you could decide to donate them to local shelters and charities, exchange them with friends and family, or even sell them online. In case the items aren’t wearable, however, repurposing them into washcloths and rags can also be a wonderful option. All of these efforts will ensure less clothing ends up in the landfill, and a surprising donation might even make someone else incredibly happy.
Wash your clothes with care
From increased water consumption to energy usage, washing your clothes could be quite wasteful as well. For this reason, it’s only advised to wash items when truly necessary, possibly wearing them a couple of times before turning on the washing machine. Similarly, it would be wise to use only eco-friendly detergent that doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, in an effort to prevent toxins from polluting the environment, and avoid dry-cleaning whenever possible for the same reason. You might want to consider hanging your clothes to dry as well, in order to save some precious water and energy you would otherwise consume using a dryer.
Choose second hand first
While local manufacturers and sustainable companies are always a good choice, shopping secondhand items should be your priority. Whether that means visiting nearby thrift and vintage shops, choosing online resale stores, or even downloading helpful resale apps, pre-owned items are truly the most eco-friendly choice. By preventing clothing from being thrown out unnecessarily, buying second hand can help to reduce your carbon footprint, while also preventing you from contributing to the large emissions and pollution that are often caused by the overproduction of new clothing items, particularly when it comes to fast fashion companies.
Leading a sustainable lifestyle has never been easy, especially when it comes to fashion. However, just by putting in a bit of an effort, making smarter decisions, and utilizing the helpful tips mentioned above, you will be well on your way towards a greener yet still fashionable life.