For me, the word sustainable means a couple of things:
The first aspect of sustainable fashion is durability. Buying clothing that stands the test of time (in terms of the material, stitching quality and style), can be worn many times and still look current or like new is a sustainable choice. Coco Chanel’s Little Black Dress (LBD) is perhaps the classic example.
But sustainable fashion also encompasses the production process. For example, that the material is sourced in a way that doesn’t harm future resources, that workers are paid fair wages to sustain them and their future production skills, and that the finished products aren’t sent too far, creating a negative environmental impact.
Things we can do to be more sustainable and prevent clothing waste:
Buying new or nearly new
- Don’t buy just for buying sake (although that may sustain workers/skills), buy to wear more than once. Different accessory choices can help a garment look fresh and be more versatile. (Remember “price per wear” and if you haven’t heard this, ask your consultant.) Have you heard of Roberta Lee’s #100wears concept? If not, read about it here.
- Before you buy, research how and where products are made (this information is more readily available now).
- If you decide you now don’t like an item for any reason (within the return period) return it for someone else to enjoy.
- Buy with a little more forethought: what will it go with? If you know your colour and style, does it conform with that?
- It is now fashionable to buy second-hand. This is keeping the life of the garment going, and you can pick up some bargains (and perhaps help a charity at the same time).
- If you know you only want to wear something once, consider hiring. There are now several options for this, including Hurr (designer dresses, bags and clothes), By Rotation, My Wardrobe HQ and Hirestreet. Celebrities do it (and not just because they believe in sustainable fashion!) so why shouldn’t the rest of us?
- Swishing is a term for swapping one garment for another. This can be a cost effective way to revamp your wardrobe. Where I live, in Southampton, there is a monthly Clothes Swap (advertised where and when on Southampton Clothes Swaps Facebook Group). I think this is part of a bigger network of clothes swaps around the country, probably easy to find through social media.
Before you let go
- When you have decided an item is no longer serving you as it is, could you have it altered in some way or have something added to it to keep it going a bit longer?
- Consider photographing your favourite piece if it has just come to the end of its life, or take it to a good dressmaker to get another one made. You could do this if you just love something and want another in a different colour or material.
- If you no longer want it, if there is life left in it, consider gifting to a friend or family member, or selling through a dress agency or online. Or donate to charity.
- Finally, if nothing else comes to mind, could you have it made into another garment (eg patchwork trousers, cushion, pillow – depending on the material, or use it for practice sewing, or rags)?
If you are stuck not knowing what to do with your wardrobe items, please reach out. I absolutely love giving you ideas so that you can hang onto your clothes (and accessories) that you must have bought, or were gifted, for a reason. I’m sure the reason wasn’t to throw it away or give it away just because the occasion to wear it (or the problem you found with it) hasn’t been solved yet.
Contact Fiona on 07469 246722
Your Colour & Style Consultant