The textile industry is one of the biggest contributors to pollution in the world. Fabric scraps are discarded in landfills and chemicals contaminate water sources in order to make the garments conveniently found in stores near you. By making small changes with your purchases, paying attention to manufacturers and focusing on “fewer, finer” pieces, you have the power to help change the garment industry for the better.
When purchasing new garments, be cognizant of what you are buying and its origin. Companies that promote transparency and sustainability should be your focus. Learn what your favorite stores or popular companies are doing to help make positive changes to a messy industry. Organizations like the NRDC list companies who are working to enhance and improve textile manufacturing. Check out their resources, you may be surprised to see what popular brands made the list!
Buying new, sustainable fashion isn’t the only solution to this massive problem. What you do with your worn out or gently-used clothing is just as important. When you make the switch to a “fewer, finer” piece, chances are you’ll be replacing items that will end up in the trash. This isn’t solving the issue at hand, but adding to it. Consider these alternatives to purchasing new:
Borrow or Rent
Are there items shoved in the back of your closet that you’ve only worn once for a special occasion? Next time you need an outfit for an event, consider borrowing or renting. Companies Like Rent the Runway eliminate the need to purchase new while giving you access to designer fashion without the expensive price tag. All you have to do is rent, wear, and return.
When it comes time to clean out your closet, encourage your friends to join you. Have your friends pull all of the items that are still in good shape that they no longer wear, then invite them over for a clothing swap. You may be surprised at what gems you find that your friends no longer want, but match your style perfectly. Whatever items aren’t claimed can then be donated.
If you have pieces that are beyond saving, the landfill doesn’t have to be their only fate. Look for organizations in your town that collect items that can be recycled. You’ll help eliminate waste and contribute to new products at the same time.