The fashion industry is reported to be one of the most polluting industries. It’s a disturbing fact, but we can still enjoy fashion while doing our part to help clean up this industry. A good place to start is with your garment shopping habits. Here are four easy changes you can make now to reduce the carbon footprint in your closet.
- Read Your Labels.The designer name is not what I’m talking about here. Look at where the clothing is made – local is a good thing. Pay attention to the fiber content. The benefits of natural fibers far outweigh those of synthetics. Synthetics are too much of an environmental problem. Care of the garment is also important to note. Hand washing more often is better for knits, delicates, and silk items. Microfibers released into the washing machine end up in our waterways. Do not dry clothes completely in the dryer; better yet hang or lay flat to dry. Dryer heat promotes wrinkling and is damaging to some fibers; you’ll save on your electricity bill by cutting back on energy. Some garments still need to be dry cleaned, and there are more dry cleaners utilizing less toxic chemicals and gentler methods to clean clothes.
- Wear Often Rule. Don’t just wear your outfit once. Before you purchase, decide how often you’ll wear the outfit and where. Purchase what you love, and will wear for a long time. Quality and function are more important than quantity. Over consumption is a huge issue today, due in large part to the “fast fashion” business model of many retailers.
- Learn About Fabrications. Research the variety of fabrications. There are newer fabrics that are better for the environment. The brand name Tencel, for the generic fibers lyocell or modal are made from regenerated wood cellulose. These fabrics takes less energy to manufacture and are more sustainable than polyester and even some rayon fabrics. These newer manufactured fabrics like Tencel mimic some of the great qualities of natural fiber fabrics. We’ll all succumb at times to wearing a synthetic fabric, but be conscious of wearing it often and recycling it.
- Vintage Clothing and Second Hand Stores. The intrinsic nature of any fashion product is that it cycles. Fashion items come back in style. If you follow fashion trends, at some point you surly will find them in the second hand store. I once found a beautiful white cotton, ruffled blouse in a consignment store for the ridiculous price of $10! I have never worn anything for so long as that blouse.
These are four easy changes you can make right now that will make a difference to the sustainability challenges we are currently faced with. Make these changes, but have fun with fashion; it’s supposed to be fun.