We live in an era of “fast fashion” where things are of abysmal quality, super low in cost, but mass-produced to keep up with the latest trends. But not only is falling into the trap of fast fashion hitting us in the wallet, but it’s also destroying the Earth, and not sustainable in the long run.
Even if you don’t believe the official narrative or the scientists paid to promote the idea, I think we are all morally obligated to do our part to make the Earth a better place to live for our children and grandchildren. That said, fast fashion has become one industry that is rapidly doing damage to our planet and taking sustainability to our wardrobe is one step in the right direction.
Fast Fashion Is Destroying the Planet
The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of all global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping. Textile dyeing is the second-largest polluter of water globally and it takes around 2,000 gallons of water to make a typical pair of jeans. Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. According to The Atlantic, Americans send 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills every year. That’s a lot of destruction to the Earth.
Hard on Your Wallet
Keeping up with the latest trends can have a huge impact on your wallet. The money it takes to buy the necessary items to be considered “trendy” also comes with a loss of time. Many shoppers peruse the internet or stores for hours at a time looking for the latest and greatest items that end up tossed in a landfill within a year when they are no longer deemed “fashionable.” Americans buy five times as much clothing now as we did in 1980 and we don’t keep most of that clothing – it ends up in landfills or donated. Americans are spending less of their overall income on clothing, but they are buying more than they need or could ever wear. But we can all make changes.
What Can You Do?
The idea of sustainability when it comes to your clothing should be at the forefront of your mind. If you’ve got an overflowing closet of clothing, you may need to go on a “no buy year.” Honestly, I started a no-buy year on January 1 of this year when I realized I had too many items in my home in general and I was becoming overwhelmed with things.
Simplicity is the key to lower stress and less anxiety, so I gave it a try. Because I’ve been conscious of what I purchase for almost 8 months now, we were able to save a lot of money. That’s good for the planet and for the wallet!
When you realize which of your clothing items you no longer want, try to think of different ways to use them. Instead of buying new dish towels, you can cut up old towels you were going to toss. We saved a few pairs of old pants my husband destroyed while working and are going to make a dog bed that will be more difficult for our Black Mouth Cur to tear through. We try to give away our kids clothes that they have outgrown to our friends who have kids. This is hard though because anyone who has a little boy knows just how hard they are on their clothes if they play outside. My son doesn’t own a pair of jeans that isn’t ripped at both knees. But come summer, I cut the legs off and make him shorts saving the legs for the dog bed I mentioned earlier. If the kids stain something, I use it as a rag to clean. If you cannot think of another use for the item, consider donating it before you throw it away. Read more on repurposing here.
Online Garage Sales
You could also resell it! Online stores like Poshmark and Thread Up are great for reselling used clothing items that you no longer want or wear. Not only could you make some cash, but you’ll be giving someone else a good deal and preventing the item from ending up in the landfill. I will try to get something on Poshmark before I look for it brand new. I recently bought my son a pair of chore boots so he can help stack firewood and do other small chores. They were about 75%, and slightly used, but he’s going to be hard on these boots anyway, so it really doesn’t matter.
Repair the Things You Love
Another way to be more sustainable is to buy things that you’ll get your use out of, whether it’s trendy or cheap or not. If something you love rips, sew it! I do! I’ve got one pair of pajama pants that I’ve had to stitch up at least 5 times. You can definitely see through them now and they will eventually fall off me and become unusable. But I intend to get every penny I can out of them! I remove stains the best I can and if I like it enough and don’t want to turn a favorite t-shirt into a cleaning rag, I will sometimes just put a sweater over it when I go in public and wear it around the house or to clean the ducks’ house.
Buy High-Quality Items
Buy higher quality items if you use them often. For example, I don’t mind spending the money on Muck boots because I spend a lot of time taking care of ducks outside. I live where the temperatures can plummet to -20 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and my feet need to be warm and stay 100% dry when I am walking through the duck muck and cleaning their house. Not only that, but I know a pair Muck boots will last me at least 5 years, if not more.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t replace or buy items just to be “on-trend.” Instead, forget what others think and wear what you like and what is useful in your life. I like to get the kids involved too by asking them how they think we could reuse something they ripped or stained beyond repair. Sometimes they have the best ideas!
These are not the only ways you can boost your sustainability with your clothing! If you have other ideas or have used a clothing item in a way others may find useful, let us know in the comments!