Less is more!
10 tips to reducing your fashion consumption
When it comes to sustainable fashion, you can shop the most sustainably sourced fabrics, from the most ethically produced brands, that use only organic fabric and natural dyes and detergents from companies fuelled by unicorns and rainbows; but at the end of the day, if you keep buying clothes you’re never going to wear and then throwing them in the bin when you realize you’re never going to wear them; you are not being sustainable at all.
Here’s 10 tips to reduce your consumption and enjoy fashion in a more sustainable way
1. Buy quality
Investing in quality pieces can seem daunting at the time and can seem like a large expense. But, if you do your homework and buy into brands that promise quality and longevity in their garments, you can end up spending a lot less in the long run and sending a lot less to landfill. On average, Australians throw away 27kg of leather and textiles per person every year! Research suggests that extending the average life of your garments by just three months leads to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints. High quality staple pieces can last decades if cared for properly and save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the long run.
2. Care for your garments
Follow the care instructions! That little label that you ignore when you chuck all your clothes in the machine together, it’s trying to help you! The care labels will always tell you the best way to care for your clothes. Washing clothes only when truly necessary and following care instructions carefully will keep them looking beautiful for longer.
Check out https://www.rinse.com/blog/care/know-difference-guide-understanding-clothing-labels/ for a guide on better understanding your clothing labels
3. Shop Pre-loved
I know this idea freaks a lot of people out, and if this is you, I dare say you haven’t been to a thrift store, suitcase rummage, or clothes swap in a long time! The game has changed! There are so many opportunities now to attend clothes swaps, or trade, sell, or buy clothes online that you don’t even need to step foot inside a thrift store if you don’t want to. A quick Facebook search for ‘Clothes Swap’ brings up at least 8 different pages dedicated to swapping clothes in the Brisbane area alone. Have a search for clothes swaps in your area and check one out! In saying that, you should definitely give the thrift store another try too, you never know what you might find!
4. Hire outfits for special occasions
We all have those outfits tucked in the back of the wardrobe that we bought for a friend’s wedding, or for the end of year work party, or that festival we'd rather not speak about, that we will never wear again, right? Well, take those bad boys to a clothes swap and never buy one off event outfits again!
There are so many hire boutiques available now that buying dresses for onetime events just doesn’t make sense. Check out ONS Boutique, Glam Corner, or Dress for a night, to name a few. You can hire beautiful outfits for any occasion for a fraction of the purchase price.
5. Avoiding extreme trends
I know we all want to keep up with the latest trends, but this is the easiest way to over buy items you’re only going to wear a few times. There are a few things that you can do to avoid this, you could ignore the trends all together and just wear whatever you want (a personal favourite of mine!) or, you can take an understated approach to the trend, in a neutral colour, that expresses your love and knowledge of fashion in a classic and timeless way. Choosing a toned-down version of a trend means you are more likely to continue loving the pieces you invest in, after the trend has passed.
6. Know what styles suit you best
One of the main reasons people buy clothes and never wear them, is because they don’t know how to dress for their body type. If you are considering investing in a few new pieces for your wardrobe, armed with your new plan to shop ethically and sustainably and buy clothes that will stand the test of time; I absolutely recommend working with a stylist. Hiring a personal stylist may seem like something reserved for the likes of Hollywood movie stars, but it doesn’t need to be! For $200 you can hire your own personal stylist for 2 hours to teach you how to shop for your specific body shape, age and style, and the tips and tricks they give you will ensure you never again waste money on poor purchases you’re never going to wear! (You’re going to have that coat for decades, right? So, it had better compliment you in every way possible!)
7. The classics
Sticking to classic cuts and colours is another way to ensure the longevity of your garments. Neutral tones such as black, white, beige and grey along with colours such as red, blue and green are easy to adapt to most trends and there is a shade of each of these to suit every skin tone and style.
When investing in staple pieces you should do so in classic cuts that are less likely to age. The classic trench coat, tailored pants, and white shirt are great examples of timeless staple pieces that should be invested in and looked after to ensure they last
8. Repairing instead of replacing
I think it’s safe to say that somewhere over the last 40 years we, as a race, have developed a disposable mentality towards most things in our lives. When something breaks, it is often ‘cheaper’ to replace it rather than have it fixed, or so we often think! But this isn’t necessarily true, in fact, simple repairs such as busted zippers, missing buttons, slight holes etc. can usually be repaired for as little as $15. In comparison, the cost of replacing your favourite trench coast or jeans could cost hundreds, not to mention the environmental cost of both the discard of your previously adored items, and the production of their replacements. If you have a dry-cleaner you regularly use, ask them if they offer repairs; even if they don’t, they will likely be able to recommend someone who does.
9. Repurpose your tired clothes
If you are certain that a once loved piece of clothing is beyond repair, don’t throw it out just yet! There are so many YouTube videos and blogs about repurposing or upcycling unwanted clothes that will make you wish you had never thrown out anything! From turning old jeans into shopping bags, turning button ups into cute dresses, or re-upholstering furniture, the options are endless. However, if repurposed isn’t quite your style, or if you’re not very nifty with a needle and thread, there is likely to be a business, charity, or social group in your area that would love to take them off your hands for this purpose, so have a look into it before you donate or recycle them.
10. Never impulse buy
You may have noticed in our last blog post that Yellow Thread does not participate in big hype sales such as ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ this is because, in our opinion, they encourage mindless consumerism and impulse buying that inevitably ends to people buying something they don’t need, all will likely never use, just because it is on sale. If you are looking at replacing some pieces in your wardrobe, do your homework! Research the brand you are buying from, make sure you know the quality, returns policy, and care instructions of the piece you are thinking of buying before you buy it, and never buy it the first time you see it. Every piece in my wardrobe that I have had for years, is a piece I crushed on for days, weeks, or sometimes months before purchasing. They are the pieces I would think about and dream about endlessly after I first saw them. I was so certain that I needed these pieces in my life before I purchased them that I instantly held them to a higher standard than everything else in my wardrobe, I followed the wash instructions, I stored them correctly and when they have broken, I have repaired them. I looked after them, and they have stood the test of time, because I love them, because they were not impulse buys.
Now that you are armed with a few tips and tricks to make more sustainable purchases for your wardrobe, I urge you, PLEASE do not throw out all your old clothes that do not live up to your new sustainable standards and replace them with new things. Start properly caring for the garments you currently own, make them last as long as possible, and use this time to scope out your high-quality replacements for when the time comes. When your pieces do reach the point of no return, recycle, rehome, or repurpose them, do not throw them into landfill.
If you have any tips on how you stretch the life of your garments, or tips on shopping sustainably, please share them in the comments! We’d love to hear them!