Amy's Blog: Sustainable resolutions
As we settle into the new year, there is always a fresh sense of optimistic opportunities. Most of these that we set are too unrealistically demanding but a simple one to aim towards is being sustainable. This can apply to your lifestyle in general, but fashion is fundamental with achieving this. You may be blissfully unaware of the negative impact your outfits are contributing to the world. Clothes are woven so deeply into our mundane activities that they blend into the background, so when you stress over avoiding plastic straws or one-use water bottles, you rarely stop to pause and consider that your garments have done multiple times the amount of damage on the environment. Reflecting on this opens the path to curate an environmentally positive wardrobe.
Begin by focusing on what items you feel good when wearing. My main advice is only buying clothes that fill you with a joyous sense of confidence because this is a sure sign that you have chosen a garment that is destined for you meaning you’ll wear it more. It also helps save student loan from splurge buying garments that will remain ignored in the depths of your wardrobe. Being more precise with whether you truly like a garment when you try it on will prevent unnecessary purchasing and combat wastage because if you don’t like a garment on your first impression, then the harsh truth is that you probably don’t want or wear it.
A hack to curating a sustainable footprint is to search for organic fibres that have been spared harsh chemical pesticides that pollute waterways and risk the health of aquatic life. However, sourcing these on a student budget can be a challenge. Natural fibres used to be hailed for being more environmentally friendly due to their ability to biodegrade. Since more research has been done, it has been found that the production of these fabrics often involves more chemicals, so it counteracts out their beneficial ability to compost. A compromise between the natural and synthetic materials are regenerated fibres. There are so many types still being developed that balance both the lack of chemicals during manufacture but also eliminate long lasting waste. They are worth searching for and will only become more readily available on the high street.
When shopping we are all guilty of picking garments based only on their aesthetic value; we all have our preferred brands and signature style, yet have you stopped to consider the ethnics behind each high street company. Behind the scenes there is chaos of child labour, mistreated workers and horrific conditions that are separated from the finished garment by the shining prospect of new clothes. The manufacturing of all attires is essential to research into as the unacknowledged negative aspects are hidden by whispered conspiracies. There is no transparency within brands, so they don’t feel the need to be blatantly honest about the shocking inhuman conditions that their clothes are made in. It can be hard, as a student on a strict budget, to always avoid high street stores that involve these methods given that fair-trade alternatives are often much more expensive. However, just making a conscious effort to buy less from them will make these companies worried about profit margins and stimulate a need for change.
The best method to remain sustainable is avoiding purchasing new clothes and make the most of your current belongings. Even if you have a new sense of inspiration at aiming to be sustainable, which hopefully will be the case after reading this article, you shouldn’t scrap your entire wardrobe to start afresh. As it still requires damaging factors to generate even the most sustainable of clothes. Also, most garments that are thrown away end up as litter in landfill which goes against the aim of being environmentally conscious. If you feel constantly stuck repeating outfits, then you could always do a clothes swap with your friends to freshen up your look. Another more sustainable way of sourcing clothes is to go thrift shopping. There are so many vintage stores or pop up markets that you can take advantage of to find more unique pieces. They have all been pre-loved so by wearing them you ensure their lifecycle continues to leave a legacy rather than banishing them to landfill.
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