This year we are challenging ourselves to be more sustainable than ever before. We are often inspired by the work of our friends at Birdsong – a social enterprise and fashion brand. They only employ women who have faced barriers to working, and have a ‘no sweatshop, no Photoshop’ promise. They’re green in everything that they do, making them the perfect people to talk to us about eco fashion. By taking a good look at what we wear and where it comes from, we can all help to reduce our environmental footprint. Find out how to go green with your wardrobe in 2019.
How to go green with eco clothing
Got something you love but can’t wear anymore? Quite often problems with zips or buttons are easily fixed. Need something altered? Your local tailor should be able to do this for you relatively cheaply, giving you a good-as-new item to wear again in a matter of days.Buy second hand
This is the most obvious way to update your wardrobe sustainably, but charity shops are a bit like marmite. People either love them or hate them. It takes much more patience to shop this way, and you won’t always be rewarded for your efforts. But on the days when you come home with a brilliant find, you’ll treasure it much more than something you were able to order in a few clicks online. Been disappointed by charity shops near you? Try exploring a new area or unearthing gems in vintage shops. Beyond Retro is a good place to start if there’s one in your area.
Look for environmentally-friendly fibres
Not everyone has the time to invest in the previous two options, but buying new doesn’t have to be bad. Buying organic fabrics is obviously better, and innovative fabrics like tencel and closed-loop bamboo have minimal environmental impact. Always check how a garment is made before making a purchase and avoid synthetics where you can.
Look for locally produced clothing
Just like eating seasonal vegetables, a brilliant way to reduce the environmental impact of your clothing is to buy clothing that hasn’t travelled so far on its journey to you. You can reduce CO2 emissions by shopping from locally produced brands. It is estimated that the average item on high street clothing has already travelled over 10,000 miles before making it into shops. At Birdsong, all our clothing is made by women facing barriers to employment in London. This means you have already reduced your environmental footprint a huge amount, before we even get onto the sustainable fabrics. Other great brands that produce in the UK include Hiut Denim and Justine Tabak.
Invest in quality pieces
It can be hard to bear the upfront cost of an investment piece when there are cheaper alternatives on the market, but it really will save you money in the long term if you buy something you’ll wear time and time again. The fact is, cheaper clothes just don’t last. This often means you’ll be looking for a new skirt, coat or pair of jeans again within a year. According to a recent Greenpeace report, the average consumer keeps each item of clothing for around half the time they did only 15 years ago. Buck the trend and buy quality clothing that will see you through.