“We are buying more clothes than ever before, wearing them less, and dispatching them to landfill in crazy volumes. The first step to solving fashion’s waste crisis is to reconnect with our old clothes”
- Clare Press, sustainability expert and founder of Wardrobe Crisis.
Here’s a wild proposition, that fast fashion can sometimes be more sustainable than slow fashion. There is one caveat though, and that’s only if it’s already in your closet.
The most sustainable option when it comes to fashion is what is already in your closest. Whether the items are fast fashion (which I think we can fairly argue that no one is perfect and we all have at least one or two items) or from the most sustainable brand on the planet (if there even is one!?).
Purchasing more clothes, regardless of their origin, is contributing to the clothing consumption problem. The production of anything inevitably requires resources and energy. Recent studies show that 80% of the climate impact from clothing consumption occurs during the production phase.
Doing the math, if you double the active lifespan of a garment, you reduce the garment’s climate impact by around 49%. On average, a regular T-shirt is worn about 30 times. If you wear the same T-shirt 60 times instead, you halve its climate impact.
Cost per wear isn’t just about the price of items on your pocket, it’s also the price of items on the environment.
Fashion production and consumption has reached truly unsustainable levels: between 2000 and 2020, global clothing consumption doubled. And despite us having more items in our wardrobes than ever, we’re wearing what we have less often and throwing out clothes way too quickly.
The average person purchases 68 new items a year (we know, shocking right?) and only wears the items around seven times before throwing them away.
Here's our suggestions for making your closet work for you and the planet:
- Go deep! Pull out every item in your closet and try to think about the last three times you wore each garment, if you can’t then try and work it into one of your upcoming outfits.
- Take good care of your clothes, this is as simple as making sure you’re washing your washing machine regularly, hand washing when recommended and using detergent that’s good for your clothes.
- If you have to, shop second-hand. There’s an endless supply of really great items available second hand. There's also a really wide range of places you can shop for them. Op Shops, Depop, Ebay, Consignment stores such as Mutual Muse, SWOP and Goodbyes and you can find some more specific and upmarket items on reselling platforms like GOAT, StockX, Airrobe and Vestiaire Collective.
- Make your tailor your best friend, often clothes are discarded because they no longer fit right or never fit right from the start (ahem @ so called ‘universal’ sizing). A great way to breathe new life into your wardrobe is to make it something new, upcycling is the new shopping spree.