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save the planet with fashion

Climate change: 3 easy ways you can help to save the planet with fashion

Banning plastic straws and charging 5p for a plastic bag are just two of the ways big corporations are beginning to take steps to effectively reduce their impact of pollution and climate change.

However, this is just the tip of the [rapidly disappearing] iceberg. More needs to be done, that’s where we come in… Me and you; not big CEOs but still, responsible for our own impact on the environment.

Let’s start with fashion. The fashion industry is one of the biggest global contributors to the heart-breaking levels of pollution to the air and water on our planet—from the farms used to grow the raw materials, all the way down to us as the consumer.

Each year the textile production industry emits 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses according to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation.

Yielding the raw materials used to produce certain fabrics is causing deforestation and the amount of water and pesticides required to grow cotton is immense. When we wash our clothes, billions of tiny plastic particles are flushed into the waterways, leading to the ocean. These particles then get digested by small sea creatures, eventually making their way into our food chain via small fish and shellfish etc.

Here’s how we can significantly reduce our contribution to the problem and all be eco-savvy fashionistas:

1. Buy from eco brands

For so many, the term ‘sustainable clothing’ tends to spark images of over-priced, itchy, shapeless, earthy-coloured tunics made from hemp and recycled leaves, or images of unattractive, hand-made, miss-match, patch-work ensembles. Thankfully, there are aesthetic-conscious brands who create trendy and fashionable pieces of clothing, footwear and accessories whilst still using ecological and sustainable methods and materials. Here are a few examples to get you started:

Lindex

Lindex is a Swedish womenswear brand who focus on creating fashionable items whilst being ethical and sustainable. They have three promises: To empower women, respect the planet and ensure human rights. Their online store gives you the option to shop their range of sustainable clothes made from either recycled or reused materials.

ASOS

ASOS is one of the biggest fashion brands in the UK. The brand works hard to ensure a sustainable, ethical and eco-business. Information on their efforts to maintain this can be read here. Many of the items they stock meet at least one of their requirements to be considered sustainable. Under each product, there is information to tell you if it's eco-friendly.

H&M

The H&M conscious collection uses organic materials for all of its garments. Details of how the brand aims to produce sustainable goods can be found here. The use of recycled materials means less energy, water and chemical usage, reducing the impact on the planet. All H&M stores have a collection point to take your old clothes in to be reused or recycled in exchange for vouchers to spend.

2. Avoid fast fashion

As alluring as it is to sport the latest trends, we need to make a conscious effort to avoid buying huge amounts of mass produced apparel just to rock the latest fad at the detriment of our planet.

Once a fad has died out and we lose interest in the current trend, the majority of our clothing gets thrown out and ends up in landfill, making space in our wardrobe for the next big trend.

We all know that fashion trends come back in a revival every decade or so, but unfortunately, that level of consistency in reoccurrence can’t be guaranteed for our ecosystems. The huge demand for clothing in the latest trends send fast fashion brand such as Missguided, Topshop and Boohoo into a frenzy; producing huge amounts of clothing to meet the demand creates an alarming amount of damage to the environment. Water pollution; the yielding of materials; the energy used to make the garments; the chemicals used when processing and dying textiles; all contribute to the failure of our ecosystems.

To reduce your input, shop smart; don’t buy items that you won’t wear more than 20 times. Shop at charity shops or look for brands that strive for sustainability, and when you’re ready to throw them out, opt for a recycle bin or clothing bank…some places will even pay you! Building an ethical and sustainable wardrobe is easier than you think.

3. Upcycle and recycle
View this post on Instagram

Probably one of the easiest DIYs I've done! I love that there's a trend for half and half shirts because it gives you a great way to upcycle your old t-shirts! I've had these two in my closet for way over a year and now I created this dope t-shirt~ the better part is you get 2 dope t-shirts by doing this half and half design ???? . . . Thanks to @lilsleepyhead for being my model ? these shirts can be for guys and girls~ I'm hoping to make much more and open up with these on my website within these next couple of weeks!! ??? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #thrifted #sewing #imakemyclothes #diy #diyhacks #diyannika #coolirpa #refashion #refashioned #fashion #ootd #diyfashion #fashiondesign #recycledfashion #upcycledfashion #handmade #thriftedtransformations #fashionblogger #thriftflip #recycle #upcycled #zerowaste #belieubear

A post shared by Stephanie (@belieubear) on

By extending the life span of your clothing, you can help stop climate change by drastically reducing your carbon footprint. Turning clothes that you already own into something new is not only a great way to experiment and develop creative skills but also a great way to reduce the number of textiles that end up in landfill. This is also a way to ensure that you have a unique piece of clothing, expressing your own individual style. YouTube is full of tutorials on DIY fashion, a lot can be done with an old t-shirt. Also using old clothes as cleaning cloths is a simple yet effective way of reducing your textile wastage.

Taking unwanted clothing, shoes and accessories to donation points to be recycled means that they can either be resold or the materials can be broken down into fibres and restructured into threads that can then be woven into new materials. Even odd gloves, sock and bras can be donated! Donating clothes to charity shops in a great way to declutter your wardrobe, reduce your waste and do something for a great cause!

Featured image: S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

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