Taking action on the climate crisis caused by fashion

The Climate Crisis| Eco Fashion Trends

Most of us love fashion and are fascinated by the fashion industry. Surveys say people shop for clothes, shoes, and accessories at least once a month. Given the availability and affordability of Secret Sales and Black Friday bargains, it’s easy for the temptation to take over. In this article, we talk about the actual cost of fast fashion and tips on how to shop sustainably.

The Facts

Experts predict that the fashion industry will emit 2.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in a single year, accounting for just under 5% of worldwide emissions. 5% is an astonishing sum similar to the United Kingdom, France, and Germany’s GHG emissions combined output in one year.

As a result, emissions are expected to skyrocket if our efforts to limit fashion’s impact are not quickly increased within the next ten years. Clothing manufacture will shift away from countries with stricter environmental rules, such as Europe and North America, and toward those with fewer regulations, such as China.

The critical lack of regulation in many regions is one of the root causes of GHG emissions within the fashion industry; almost half the emissions from the global fashion system result from raw material production. The lack of regulations includes deforestation and increased textile dyeing and processing, all of which occur outside Europe and North America.

The fact that 50% of emissions come from raw materials reflects a dual problem: firstly, we need to ensure we buy sustainable fabrics, including recycled polyester or organic cotton. Secondly, there needs to be more transparency throughout the supply chain to be better informed about their choices.

Recycling Facts

With only 1% of clothing purchased returned for recycling globally, today’s approach to clothing consumption, most notably the one-way nature of most items purchased in fast-fashion outlets, is unsustainable.

Our clothing choices need to move away from purchasing disposable garments, which are replaced every season for something new, towards buying fewer quality pieces that can be worn further and recycled when no longer needed.

Recommendations

Use recycled fabrics. How to use recycled fabrics: Reuse and repair old clothes by repairing or reusing them rather than throwing them away.

Buy second hand: Buying second hand reduces your environmental impact by keeping things out of landfills. It also means you can get great bargains! Use auction sites such as eBay or check out your local Facebook groups. For great vintage finds that are sustainable and very cool, try an online community such as Vestiaire Collective.

Support ethical brands: Ethical fashion is taking off, and it’s not just for hippies anymore! Several major high street retailers now have sustainable clothing lines. Sustainable fabrics should be bought where possible to minimize the impact of our clothing production. Consider things like organic and fair trade cotton and Lyocell (made from wood pulp).

Go slow fashion: Slow fashion is about buying fewer but better-quality items each season. It encourages us to make longer-lasting purchases with reduced disposal cycles because we will get more wear out of the item.

Stop fast fashion: Fast fashion is a term used to describe disposable apparel cheaply made and intended to be discarded quickly after being worn.

The problem with this clothing style is that it is not built to last, so people tend to throw things out after a year or two rather than repair them, so more and more of these items are being manufactured.

Make clothes yourself: This mainly applies to DIY garments such as t-shirts or pajamas but can be done with any article of clothing you wish. If you have a sewing machine, then it’s straightforward. If you don’t want to buy additional things, why not just recycle old clothes into new ones.

DIY Wardrobe Essentials

Steps for a DIY wardrobe:

1) If you don’t already have one, purchase a used sewing machine from eBay or Facebook MarketPlace and have it serviced regularly to keep it in good working order. There are online lessons on how to sew using a machine, and if you don’t feel confident in sewing yourself, there are talented individuals in your community who can help you.

2) Choose a garment – when choosing a piece of clothing, be clear on what problem is currently being solved by the item and what aspects of the design need improvement.

Once you’ve determined the problem, it’s time to go thrifting! Use your sewing machine at home, choose an old throwaway item to be recycled and turn it into something new from this point onward. If not, find some clothing items that need slight alterations, including fixing a button or reinforcing seams – damaged clothing is often discounted.

3) Make alterations: This may require a sewing machine and some basic alterations depending on your chosen garment, or it could just be a case of some quick hemming with a needle and thread.

4) Wash garments: All clothing should be washed before use to remove any loose pieces of thread which may break off during wear.

More Suggestions

Buy less: It sounds simple, but we buy so much more than we need! Try shopping with a list and stick to it, so you don’t end up buying things you don’t want or need. Furthermore, consider how long you will realistically use an item – if you only plan on wearing it once, then don’t buy it.

Wash less: Washing machines are the second biggest water guzzler in most homes. Remember it takes more than 3 liters of water to wash just one cotton T-shirt!

Turn the washing machine temperature to 30 degrees instead of 40, and always hang your clothes up to dry outside if possible.

If you don’t have an outdoor line, then use a drying rack indoors – some newer models even fold away for easy storage when not in use‍.