Just think: If everyone of the 7.5 billion people on the planet only owned one pair of pants, one shirt, and one jacket that equals 22.5 billion articles of clothing. Much of it can’t be recycled, and most of it is made by an industry that is one of the largest polluters on the planet.
When we look in our closets and do the real math, it’s easy to see we have a problem – and an opportunity to transform our habits, and re-fashion what we have into something fresh and new.
In fact, eco-friendly, upcycled fashion is now leading edge.
Here are 10 tips to save money, be sustainable, and get closet creative:
1. Clean out, and shop your closet first.
- What have forgotten about?
- What do you really need – if anything?
- Swap with friends, or donate to a worthy thrift store.
2. Use a tailor to re-style clothing so that it fits you properly. Boot cut to skinny jeans anyone?
3. Before you buy: Stop!
- Do you really need it?
- Have often will you wear it?
- Does it fit properly? (No, you may not lose than 10 lbs.)
4. Support local designers and fair trade manufacturers of eco-friendly, and upcycled clothing
5. Shop at consignment clothing stores for deals on gently used – or even new clothing
6. Look for organic, natural fabrics like cotton, silk, wool, hemp and tencel
7. Buy quality for key pieces that last
8. Get crafty –Check out the Internet for endless ideas
- Embellish tops with beads, appliques or fringe.
- Turn long pants into capris or shorts
- Old scarf? Perfect for a halter top or wrap-around skirt
- Hole in your glove? Make them fingerless!
- Turn old wool sweaters into pillows, unravel to knit mittens, or make felt
- Look at clothing (and linens, drapes and shower curtains) as a source of fabric for sewing projects like place mats, rag rugs, slippers, doll’s clothing, dishcloths, and shopping bags
Did you know?
- The environmental and social cost of clothing is staggering.
- Synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon are made with non-biodegradable petrochemicals
- Microfibres from synthetic fabrics are flushed into waterways every time we do laundry
- Rayon, made from wood fibres, contributes to deforestation, needs chemicals like caustic soda and sulphuric acid to make
- All poly-cotton (especially bed linen), and ‘easy care’, ‘crease resistant’, ‘permanent press’ cotton, are treated with toxic formaldehyde
- Synthetic dyes and printing processes use vast amounts of water and chemicals, and release harmful, volatile agents into the environment
- Chemicals used to grow cotton – the most pesticide intensive crop on the planet – stay in the fabric when finished
- Growing cotton for one t-shirt uses 257 gallons of water
- Women and children are often exploited, and work long hours, in poor conditions for very little pay.