We know that ‘fast fashion’ of cheap man-made fibre is filling landfills, factories pollute the atmosphere, and that our clothes are often produced in unsafe factories in the developing world, by underpaid and poorly treated workers.
Luckily brands are becoming conscious and transparent about their processes, and consumers are paying more attention to where their clothes come from. We also increasingly find clothing made from more sustainable natural resources like bamboo, hemp, and soy.
No one wants to contribute to landfills, poison the air, or threaten natural resources. If these issues have been on your mind, here are some ideas to help you protect the environment and ease your conscience, while still enjoying your fashion and style.
1. Many leading designers are passionate about using sustainable materials in their fashion lines. If this is important to you too, do your research to learn more. Some search terms to use are “sustainable fashion”, “Eco-friendly fashion”, and “vegan fashion”. For example H&M has launched its ‘Conscious Collection’ made from recycled materials, and Stella McCartney does not use leather.
Consider learning more through places like the Ethical Trading Initiative at www.ethicaltrade.org . Understanding where your fashion comes from will give you more choice to support the companies that value what you value.
2.You can find out more about which brands use toxic chemicals and support the campaign against them at Greenpeace's website.
3.Join the Fashion Revolution and find out #whomademyclothes by asking brands to be more transparent and getting us all to think more about the clothes we wear and where they come from.
4. Before you go shopping for more things, know what you need. Do a wardrobe review to see what you have and what’s missing. A few well-chosen items may be all you need to get the maximum out of your wardrobe. It’s important to buy the best quality you can afford, and buy less. If it’s more expensive, you will think twice before buying, make better choices, and love what you have.
5. Focus on your own style, and don’t go for trends that will come and go. When you’re confident about your style, you’re less tempted to get into a habit of shopping all the time, buying into fast fashion, and spending money on cheap items that you throw away after one season.
6. Check out fairtrade label Peopletree, where the profits are fairly shared with those that make the garments. They have more on offer than you may realise, and are usually in great quality natural fibres.
Working with me would show you how to work your wardrobe so that it better serves your needs. You’ll make fewer mistakes. If you’re unclear about your style, I can help you understand it so you focus your purchases. That’s being Eco-friendly.
Lizzie Edwards is a Personal Stylist, Image Consultant and Executive Presence trainer in London, UK.