Fashion has always been an integral part of our lives. The choices we make with respect to how we dress defines who we are as an individual.
The last two decades saw the rise of "fast fashion" with clothing become cheaper than a lot of daily essentials giving rise to a use and throw economy.
" The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year. This is 400% more than the amount we consumed just two decades ago. As new clothing comes into our lives, we also discard it at a shocking pace. -True Cost "
However, a result of the garment industry's impact on climate change, people are now realising the importance of making conscious choices with respect to clothes and as Orsola De Castro says, "The most sustainable garment is the one already in your wardrobe".
The first step to a sustainable lifestyle is to ensure that we can make the clothes we buy last longer, not only does this save us time and money, it reduces our consumption and helps us reduce our carbon footprint.
Gone are the days of fast fashion. Fashion needs to be loved for, cared for & if needed, even repaired.
There are so many things we can do to keep our pieces looking fresh and new by simply changing a few habits -
1. Invest in quality pieces
Create a capsule wardrobe with essential pieces that can be worn in multiple ways to create different looks over a period of time. The quality of the clothes you buy dictates its longevity - Would you rather buy a slightly expensive pair of jeans which will last for many seasons or 5 new cheaper pieces for each season which is of a poor quality that makes you discard it in less than 30 wears?
Investing in pieces with superior quality and construction ensures that they last longer.
When looking for pieces that are made to last - remember, price isn’t the only barrier. Instead, pay attention to details like tight seams and compact buttons. If the material is overly thin, or you see loose threads, buttons, or snags, those are clues that an item may not be very well made.
2. Take good care of your clothes
Every garment needs different tending to, understand your garment and take good care of it accordingly.
- Read the care labels carefully before washing. A piece that requires dry cleaning could cost more in the long run – especially if you choose to ignore care instructions and end up ruining it and hence looking at care instructions should be a part of the shopping process.
- Always sort your laundry beforehand as different types of fabrics require different temperatures. Separate the ones which may tend to ink out colour.
- Dark coloured garments can fade in the wash, particularly as it rubs up against other garments. Always launder your washer-safe dark clothes inside-out to ensure they hold their colour.
- Choose hand-washing or spot-cleaning over machine-washing, as it will preserve your clothes for longer.
- Other than being harmful for the environment, a large amount of detergent can actually make your clothes more dull and stiff.
For starters clean your dumped wardrobe and stack your clothes in order and distance, it is important to place your garment the right way.
Carry a stain remover pen, it is a life saver.
3. Storage Habits
The way you store your clothes can make them last for years or, alternatively, leave them looking misshapen and damaged in just a few wears.
- Fold heavier garments such as wool sweaters as they can stretch out when you hang them in your closet.
- Give your clothes some breathing space and avoid packing your closet to its fullest. Squishing a ton of items next to each other can result in wrinkling and fading as the fabrics are constantly mashed together.
- Avoid storing clothes in a humid bathroom or moist basement closet.
- Plastic and wire hangers will eventually stretch out the shoulders of your garments making them saggy. Wooden hangers will last longer and take better care of your garments despite being a little more expensive.
4. Wash Less
Too much washing wears out the fabric to loose the quality, colour or may even tend to shrink. Not only it leads to wastage of water but also makes the garment fall apart because of extreme force and strain.
Unless a garment is visibly dirty, take up the challenge to wear it at least three times before they hit the laundry. Try to air each garment after you wear it, this would reduce the need to wash after every wear.
5. Repair More
How many times have you given away your clothes because of tiny defects which could be resolved? Basic mending techniques can turn the old clothes into re-usuable pieces. Every pair of clothing can be made into a better outfit, which brings in variation and keeps you to trend.
You can dye your perfectly fit clothes once they are faded so that you don't need to discard them. Natural dyes are a great way to add a bit of colour to faded garments.
"Mending makes things last longer. Don't get rid of a shirt because you've lost the buttons or throw out your knits that have a few holes. Learning to sew a button on or darn a hole is super simple; there are a lot of YouTube videos to guide you."
6. Wardrobe Rotation
Rotating your wardrobe could be a task but it sorts you out for a long time - start by segregating each section and labelling it, you can rack up each section according to your convenience and space allowance.
Here are a few ways to kick start your wardrobe rotation:
- Separate the old clothes and the new ones.
- Re arrange the line according to the clothes you frequently use and the ones which are seasonal.
- Donate the clothes which do not fit you anymore.
- Store clothes in different containers, and identify the clothes which need to be washed, ironed or fixed and do the needful.