From air pollution, to plastic in the oceans and fires from the Amazon, to California and Australia, we’re all becoming more aware of the global campaign to fight for environmental conservation.
When I sat down to write this post I quickly felt overwhelmed; everything we do has an impact on the environment, and so much of what we do is bad.
If we’re going to make a difference, we have to start with the things we do every day, and what’s more “every day” than the clothes we wear? Not only do we all need to wear something, but there is also a huge amount of energy and pressure put on us to dress well, to keep up with the latest fashions and to be stylish!
And I love fashion!
For years, great-looking clothes have gotten cheaper. Bargains and sales have gotten bigger and longer, extending to the point that tempting discounts are on offer more each year than they’re not!
And then there are the internet retailers! So many new opportunities have sprung up; each one offering more and better deals than the last, and with free shipping, and better: free returns!
If you’re anything like me it’s all seemed like a blessing!…
But it’s no miracle!
For decades, fashion brands and retailers have been competing to build up your hunger for new purchases but also to drive down their costs. This has led them to manufacture clothes in enormous quantities, shipping them from parts of the world where labour is cheapest, and using low quality fabrics and accessories, which gives their clothes a very short shelf life!
And because we want the newest, beautiful thing; and because a chain store is selling it, with beautiful models, accessories and colours, for unbelievably cheap prices, why wouldn’t you buy it?
This has been an effective hook, which has given the manufacturers great results, but it has led to one amazing – and terrifying – fact: the fashion industry is the second largest source of pollution in the world.
Millions of tons of waste has been generated in the last 50 years! Cheap clothes are made of cheap, synthetic fabrics, which are typically non-biodegradable. So not only are these clothes not going to last long, but when you do throw them out, they’ll just sit in landfill forever.
We must make more conscious purchases. It is not right to buy summer clothes and throw it away because autumn is here. It is not practical! We have to develop responsible consumption habits.
So, when shopping – or even fantasising about shopping – look for styles that you like and that represent you. Don’t just try to follow every little fashion. And when you do commit to a purchase, buy higher quality clothes that can be stored when it’s out of season and can be worn again when we need it.
Let us always remember: the useful life of the clothes is in the quality!
Finding information about this topic is urgent! Understanding it will help us develop responsible consumption habits. There are few things more important to us all than fighting back against the deterioration of the global environment. It’s time we all did our part!
HOW DO WE DO IT?
It’s easy to say we should be more aware of the environment, but how can we actually do it?!
These 4 simple steps can help make your purchases, which will not only help to save the environment, but will probably end up saving you money too!
- Start by thinking carefully about your style. Make sure you’re choosing and wearing clothes that suit you and that make you feel good – physically comfortable as well as socially. Take your time and choose styles, colours and accessories that complement one another.
- Think carefully about your budget. If you make sure you’re shopping within your means, and value every purchase you make, you’ll avoid buying garbage that won’t last or that maybe you won’t even wear! (We’re all guilty of this…)
- Consider what clothes you really need for each season. Think about all the best combinations of the outfits you already have and imagine what new options any new purchase will give you. Make sure you’re already getting maximum use out of everything you have, and then make sure you any new purchase is only going to multiply those options; not just adding one more jacket to the pile.
- Take time to analyze the quality of the new clothes carefully. Make sure you’re choosing clothes made with high quality, natural fabrics, in countries that promote sustainable and ethical practices (including worker’s rights). Higher quality materials and workmanship will ensure your purchases last longer!
- Don’t just go straight for the new clothes and sales! Try vintage stores too and local fairs. There are always bargains to be found, and clothes that have survived one owner or more already are bound to survive you too! All the clothes we buy, whether new or recycled, need to last more than one season (or even just one party!); they should last years! And when you realise you’ve not worn something for a year or two, for whatever reason, don’t just throw it out, but donate it! Let someone else love it as much as you did when you first saw it.
There is an ever-growing number of organisations all over the world focussed on making changes in the consumption of polluting materials. The awareness of our role in a bigger and more beautiful world is growing, thanks to socio-political, economic, cultural and political organizations as well as countless foundations, NGOs, non-profit organizations, universities, and ecological groups, who are combining their efforts to amplify this essential message.
Production methods are changing. The benefits of environmental conservation are being realised; not only for our fellow species on this beautiful planet, but for our own societies and even the companies who realise the in fact, better environmental practices can even save them money in the long run!
But it is up to all of us to do our part! We must recover what years of neglect has allowed to deplete, but it’s not too late! And that too is beautiful.