Ever seen a hole in your shirt and thought, “Oh well. It’s time to buy a new one, I guess”? You’re not alone, but we think it’s time for us to change this mindset. Sure, fast fashion provides us with cheap and fashionable clothing to show off on the ‘gram, but at what cost?
The fashion industry makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions and 20% of wastewater. Not only that, but 85% of textiles go to landfills every year and contribute to the amount of plastic polluting the ocean. This poses a threat to the environment and the health of the people involved in the industry. While the designs are made in the US and other European countries, developing countries produce the garments with people forced to work under unsafe and inhumane working conditions.
It’s surreal to think that most people are unaware of what’s going on behind the scenes of the fashion industry, but it’s not too late! With this in mind, it’s time to say goodbye to fast fashion and start your journey towards a cleaner and greener wardrobe.
How to Look Great, Save Money, and Save the Environment
Change Your Mindset
Companies that promote fast fashion use advertising campaigns to make you feel the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) if you don’t get the newest item in their collection, but don’t let it get to you! It’s okay to wear something until it’s practically unwearable. Even then, you’ll still be able to find a use for that piece of clothing. Also, don’t be fooled by companies who try to market themselves as environmentally-friendly using misleading information.
This is called greenwashing. Companies make unfounded or exaggerated claims like having products made from recycled or “ethically-sourced” materials and not having the proper information to back it up.
Quality Over Quantity
If you can, choose not to buy brand-new clothes and stick to what you already have in your wardrobe. Take all the clothes out of your closet, and we bet you’ll see a couple of pieces that you haven’t used in a while. You’ll also be surprised to see how many combinations you can come up with using the clothes you already have! More clothes also mean more washing to do, which affects the environment and your water bill.
If you feel the need (emphasis on need) to buy a new clothing article, consider a few things like how much you plan to wear it and how long you expect it to last. Don’t buy cheap clothes just because they’re cheap. Think of clothes as an investment and buy durable pieces that will last you for years. Shopping at ethical stores might seem more expensive at first, but longer-lasting items that won’t give you a reason to buy a new one will be better for your wallet in the long run.
If you have clothes that are starting to wear out or don’t often use, there is a laundry list of things you can do with them!
- Use bleach — Bleach painting is a unique way to show your artistic skills, and you can use household items to do it! All you need is bleach, some cardboard, a small paintbrush or makeup brush, a dark-colored shirt, some chalk, and a steady surface to do your art. Insert the cardboard inside your shirts, make your initial drawing with chalk, paint over the lines with bleach, let it sit in the sun for a few minutes, and voilà! You have a custom-designed shirt that will make it look new.
- Print over a plain tee — If you have a plain shirt that you don’t see yourself using anymore, consider painting over it with an insta graphic system heat press. It’s an eco-friendly way to transfer any design you want onto your shirt with minimal effort. If you’re an artist who wants to show off their work, printing it on your shirt is a unique way to promote your art, and you get a cool-looking shirt too.
- Wear your clothes a different way — You might have seen those videos where people style a button-up shirt to make it look like a tank top, an off-shoulder top, or even a dress. The good news, button-up shirts aren’t the only ones you can style up. You can wear t-shirts, old jeans, and other kinds of clothes to create something different to spice up your outfit.
- Mix and match — As we mentioned earlier, you’ll be able to find unique fashion combinations that suit your style only by using the clothes in your closet. You can style up a simple white tee in so many ways: you can wear it under a jumper, a denim jacket, an oversized button-up, and don’t even get us started with what you can do with your bottoms!
Repair, Don’t Replace
Wardrobe malfunctions can happen anytime, but a rip in your jeans or a missing button doesn’t mean that your clothes are unusable. There are many tutorials online that show you how to fix practically any article of clothing you can think of. But if you’re a bit on the clumsy side, try taking it to a tailor. Your clothes will be as good as new, and you might even learn a new skill!
If something becomes completely unwearable outside, you can even repurpose your old clothes to wear at night. This especially applies to cotton t-shirts and sweatpants, which will make comfy pajamas.
Fast fashion has hurt our environment, and it’s getting worse day by day. If we don’t want to end up with the worst-case scenario, it’s time that we do something about it. With these small steps, fast fashion companies will realize the impact they’re having on their environment, and if enough of us join the cause, they might change their ways. Let’s all work together to create a cleaner and more sustainable fashion industry!