Hello Savhera community! Meghan here, Savhera’s Content and Sustainability Strategist! This week I thought it’d be great to discuss sustainable fashion because fashion plays a part in all of our lives (we all wear clothes) and the fashion industry can be incredibly un-sustainable! I have a background in this space having graduated with a fashion degree and completed fashion sustainability research and I want to share with you some of the things I've learned!
It’s probably no surprise to hear that the fashion industry is not always “green” or sustainable. Production of fashion products alone contributes to vast, global CO2 pollution, water degradation, worker exploitation, and waste generation. That is not even factoring in the resources used after purchase to launder and care for garments. However, it is not all gloom and doom. There are practices that we can adopt that lessen our clothing impact on the planet AND that don’t break the bank.
Reinvent + Reuse
Give beloved garments a facelift by incorporating a little DIY. Some ideas include attaching patches or pins, painting fun designs, and stitching simple embroidery accents (there are plenty of easy embroidery tutorials online). You can also reinvent garments by taking them to a tailor. A new zipper or extra inch here and there may only set you back $15-$30 and in return, wonderfully extends a beloved garment’s life.
Quality over Quantity
I know this one is easier said than done, especially when it feels slightly painful to pay more for something that you know you can easily find a cheap alternative to. But that cheap alternative will likely not last as long, will end up polluting a landfill, and over time will tire your wallet more due to the higher frequency with which you have to buy. Taking the time to save and curate a wardrobe with high quality pieces (preferably from ethical retailers) is rewarding to yourself and our beloved planet.
When in doubt, swap it out
Swapping garments is a great way to get a new outfit without spending a cent. Swapping events allow you to meet and mingle with other ethical fashionistas, find a new home for garments that you loved but don’t wear anymore, and find awesome clothes! Meetup.com is a site that organizes swaps around the world or you can also organize one yourself!
Needing a fancy outfit for an event but don’t want to purchase one to only wear once or twice? Rent one! There are numerous clothing rental sites that allow you to wear luxurious clothes for a fixed cost and make the whole process quick and easy. When you rent you are not only saving money but saving the resources that it would have taken to manufacture a new/virgin garment.
Care for clothing effectively
When laundering, be conscious of and try to minimize your environmental footprint. This can be done by challenging yourself to wear a garment three times before laundering or spot cleaning garments with stain sticks instead of fully washing them. During the summer most natural fiber garments can simply be hung up outside overnight and by morning they should be fresh! Quality coat hangers can also prolong garment life by not stretching out the shoulders of tops. Wooden hangers are a good option and will be a great investment in the long run.
Second-hand stores and thrift shops are brimming with unique pieces just waiting to be discovered! This sustainable alternative allows you to save CO2 emissions and water consumption just by rescuing a few pounds of used clothing from landfills. If you feel like you can’t find anything when thrifting try shopping the entire store instead of one section. You can often find unique and versatile pieces in the opposite gender’s section.
Sustainable fashion is often associated with expensive brands and outlandishly high prices. This can leave people feeling like they can’t make a difference if they are unable to afford those prices. These methods above, however, allow you to be sustainable, lessen clothing impact, and save money.