5 tips to make your wardrobe sustainable

Sustainability, environment and climate emergency are becoming growing concerns. Several factors contribute to climate change and one of those factors is fashion. The fashion industry turns out to be one of the most polluting industries in the world. For this reason, it is important to understand how consumers can make conscious decisions when it comes to fashion. Your wardrobe is part of the change.

But how can you make your wardrobe more sustainable?

1. UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU HAVE

The best sustainable option is to go with what you already have, so revisit your wardrobe and understand all the clothes that are in there. Sometimes, in the middle of so much, we think that we have nothing to wear. This is when the impulse to buy more and more clothes emerges. 

It is important to keep your wardrobe organized, make sure to often check, clean and use your clothes. Marie Kondo’s organization method is very effective for this purpose! In addition, having a smaller wardrobe allows you to be more creative in creating your outfits. 

2. CREATE A CAPSULE WARDROBE

Photo by NordWood Themes

“Capsule wardrobe” is a term used for a wardrobe with a small number of clothes. You can decide to have 10, 33 or 40 pieces. The idea is to maintain the same amount of clothing for a long time, avoiding consumerism and unnecessary purchases. 

A capsule wardrobe incentivizes your creativity, allowing different combinations with the same pieces. A small quantity of items also supports a fast decision-making process, when you don’t have much time to waste.

3. UPCYCLE YOUR CLOTHES

Upcycling, also called creative recycling, is a way to redesign and reuse fabrics through the process of enhancing the “value” of those objects. Clothes can be upcycled to new pieces, bags, scarfs or even for completely different uses. Some fashion brands also use upcycled fabric to design their products, such as the case of MUD Jeans, a brand that upcycles jeans. Upcycling is a sustainable tool to enhance the lifecycle of products, including fabrics. 

4. DON’T THROW CLOTHES AWAY

A sustainable wardrobe is also sustainable when it comes to recycling, reusing and rethinking your clothes. Every year only 1% of all fashion textiles are effectively recycled around the world, according to the report “Make Fashion Circular” of Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

It is important to keep in mind that fabrics deserve a second chance, they can be sold to second-hand stores, donated to institutions, or even serve as a cleaning cloth at home. The idea is to extend the product lifecycle in order to use resources properly. Here are 5 creative ways to reuse your clothes. 

5. CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE BRANDS

Buying second-hand often turns out to be a great choice but, when it is not possible, look for sustainable brands. Sustainable clothing is a concept that is becoming popular in fashion, more brands are seeking sustainable and transparent solutions in the production of their products.

Do research about the production process of the brands you want to shop and the materials that they use. Learn about how they transport and package their products. Check, for example, if a brand uses recycled, biodegradable or renewable materials (and make sure they use them correctly). 

Another positive aspect of slow-fashion items is that they are often designed to last longer and be timeless.

Are you ready to make your wardrobe more sustainable?

Original article by Patricia dos Reis
Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw

Sources: Ellen MacArthur Foundation, A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future, (2017, http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications).

Ana Vitória De Magalhães
Ana Vitoria is a Brazilian living in Lisbon, environmental activist and idealist of Ocean Immersion Program and Mais Planeta Blog. She is today writer for Uptous Magazine and advocates defending ocean protection, the transition to a circular economy and new business models that can ensure sustainable development, social equity and female empowerment.