Sustainable Wardrobe

Given the recent climate strikes the emphasis for climate action is at an all time high. It is easy to fall into the trap of waiting for big business or government to pick up the slack, however small contributions on a personal level have the potential to stack up. Some studies have shown that everyday changes to something as simple as our diet can help play a significant role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

You have the power in your everyday choices to make some incredibly powerful steps towards changing our world for the better – and it can start with what you put on your body each day. Here are some key ways to use your wardrobe in the fight against climate change.


Sustainable Wardrobe

Fabrics

For starters, processes used in fabric production have a LOT of negative consequences. Fabrics are all essentially made from plants, animals or crude oil. Each can have alarming consequences on the earth and the people producing them.

From carbon emissions during production to water usage, water pollution and air pollution and chemical runoff, the environmental impacts of fabric are dire. Land degradation and deforestation of the world’s forests, animals being killed for fur and skin, and oil based synthetic fabrics are all responsible for some very negative environmental issues the world if facing. Not to mention the detrimental effects on the health on garment workers.

When buying clothes, look for natural. Certified organic cotton, linen and hemp are amazing options. New technologies have lead to plant derived fabrics like TencelEconyl and Piñatex® which are made with the planet and people in mind. Lastly, look for brands using deadstock (fabric that was going to landfill) and recycled fabrics. These are a fantastic use of waste. 

Fabric is not a simple topic, but Patagonia and Good On You both have some amazing resources on a lot of environmental and social issues if you’re keen to read more. 

Who made your clothes?

Secondly, take a look at where the brand made their clothes. Is it overseas to where you bought it? That’s totally fine, IF it uses ethical factories, ethical and environmentally sound raw material production, and even more so if they’re offsetting their emissions.

Transparency in a supply chain can be difficult to find, even with the power of the internet. However, the quickest and easiest way to fix this is to shop small and shop local. You want your own style? You have to find it first, so start looking in better places. Look for small brands that resonate with your values AND what makes you feel fabulous. You can have both! 

Second is best

Thirdly, get on board with second hand shopping. If it’s not your thing to go into op shops, get on depop or online buy swap sell groups who share amazing, sometimes barely worn garments.

Also take a look at your local markets, It's becoming more popular for people to hold a stall to sell their second hand goods. I bet you’ll find a dress for that dinner without having to spend the extra or support unethical brands. 

Avoid Greenwashing

Lastly, be aware of Greenwashing – brands and businesses who claim to be more sustainable than they actually are. It comes down to transparency again. Email a brand and ask, start researching the brands you want to buy from before you impulse purchase.

Sometimes it is the hardest thing to hear, but holding off a purchase to get to the bottom of a tricky sustainability issue is key to avoiding being suckered by a brand dressing rayon up as bamboo. Have a look at the Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Guide to get the low down on big name Australian Fashion brands.

Let us know if you have any questions, tips or ideas around sustainable shopping! 

Written by Emily Hodge

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