HOW SUSTAINABLE IS YOUR WARDROBE?
Whether you travel light, or you pack for every possible occasion, this is how you can help the environment by making your wardrobe eco-friendly and more stylish than ever
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Masaaki Komori, Andrej Lisakov
20 August 2019
The fashion industry can cost dearly not only from ecological, but also from humanitarian aspect. Reports by Fashion Revolution conclude that annually 53 million tonnes of fibres are needed to make clothes. The skyrocketing 73% of this is sent to landfills or gets burnt. More shocking is the production of such textiles and fibres, which releases 1.2 billion tonnes of gas emissions each year. This number overtakes the maritime shipping industry and international flights combined.
Today, clothes are among the items at highest risk of being produced through modern slavery. However, consumer awareness keeps evolving and we put the spotlight on sustainable fashion.
We are happy to have learned that the past few years have moved from fashionable to environmentally friendly consumer approach. The demand for ethical supply chains is on the rise alongside the consumer awareness of purchasing planet-saving materials such as ‘vegan leather’ and ‘organic cotton’.
“Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option”
Most millennials are reported to seek out sustainable fashion items, regardless of the slightly higher price. Buying less but better can improve not only the everyday life of busy professionals, but also the experience of every traveller.
This is what you can do to make your wardrobe more sustainable:
Fairtrade purchases means shopping smart. Fast fashion and single-use clothing items may be cheap, but someone down the production chain is probably paying a high price. The labour of non-consenting people such as children, trafficked or imprisoned individuals that are paid unfairly is often the cause for the low prices of many labels. Consumers have incredible power in making a difference by simply seeking information from brands regarding their Fairtrade practices.
Support organic laundry detergent brands. Washing your clothes at 30°C is ecologically and economically efficient, but we can do so much more. Most laundry detergents and softeners contain petrochemicals. These not only irritate our skin, but when entering our waterways, they also become toxic to the environment. Be mindful of the brands you buy.
Reduce your carbon footprint. Clothes can contaminate our oceans through more ways than one. Did you know that around 3,000 litters of water are needed to produce regular cotton? In addition, every time you wash your clothes synthetic fabrics release hundreds of thousands of microplastic fibres into the seas. This contaminates marine life and in turn, the entire food chain, circulating back to humans.
Replace synthetic materials with ones that are easily composable under soil, marine, home and industrial conditions. Biodegradable materials such as organic cotton and cellulose fibres made from renewable wood sources have high water recovery rates and low impact on our planet.
Dispose of unwanted clothes responsibly. Recycling our clothes is not enough as only 1% of the fibres produced currently, can be recycled. Yet, you can be mindful and only buy 100% biodegradable fashion that decomposes on land and sea. When upgrading your wardrobe next time, why not donate your old clothes and goods? Even better, why don’t you gather your friends around and swap fashion items among each other? This is not only a great excuse to meet up and have a good time, but you can also reduce the negative impact our waste has on the environment.
Sustainable brands are the next big thing. Before you think we only mean vintage and second-hand stress, think again. Eco-fashion means lower chemical use in production, which improves supply chains and labour conditions. Many mainstream brands like H&M, Monki and Marks & Spencer have started to introduce eco labels.