The global apparel retail market is currently worth $1.34 trillion in retail sales per year1. First developed in the early 2000s, the early fast fashion business model is responsible for the increase in consumer demand for high quantities of low-quality clothing. The waste generated from these short term ownership fashion items continues to shock the world —with one garbage truck of textiles burned or sent to landfill every second.
Source: Francois Le Nguyen
The pressure to keep up to date with what their customers want, coupled with the rise in concept of trends, has led to magazines screaming headlines ‘newest this season’ or ‘must-buy-pieces’. Encouraging consumers to add more to their overflowing wardrobes as a result, has put a toll on the environment. Needless to say, among the environmental impacts of fast fashion are the depletion of non-renewable sources, emission of greenhouse gases and the use of massive amounts of water and energy. Do you know synthetic fibres like polyester, nylon and acrylic used by brands take hundreds of years to biodegrade?
To create real change, it is up to an individual to take a positive approach, and it begins by finding your own personal style. Knowing who you are and what you like is crucial in eliminating the attraction to different clothing. It limits impulse purchases and helps you focus on the items you are actually drawn to.
By buying only items you will wear for a long period of time, you destroy the harmful cycle of ‘buy and throw away’ concept which causes pollution. Stylist Rebekah Roy, director of vegan fashion brand, Bare Fashion says, ‘It ensures that you don't buy things that sit in your wardrobe rarely worn because you don't feel comfortable in them’. It seems the key to sustainability ultimately lies in an individual’s drive and willingness.
Source: Becca McHaffie
So, how exactly do I slow down my purchases and build a more sustainable wardrobe?
Opt for Pre-Loved
We should leverage on the second-hand market revival and use what has been created! Whether it’s thrifting or swapping with family and friends, second hand clothing can prevent the purchase of new ones. Here at Swapaholic, we let you trade in your items in exchange for points to be used at our swap party, a cashless shopping event where you can browse clothing by other swappers!
Source: Priscilla Du Preez
Do not feel compelled to follow the latest trends or owning a wardrobe inspired by celebrities! From crop top trends to running after seasonal ‘musts’ or ‘must have new styles’ on tiktok, the idea perpetuated will only contribute to more waste products. Eliminate this need by shopping by your own values and making informed decisions.
Learn What Doesn’t Work
Make a list of styles, colours, aesthetics and elements that are not your style, in order to make it easier to avoid them. Similarly, you can analyse your wardrobe and make a note of your clothing. Mix and match them to discover styles you’ve never noticed before! Scour Pinterest or Instagram for outfit pairing ideas and people whose style you admire, then analyse your digital mood boards and let your creativity flow. Like they say, the sky’s the limit!
Edit Your Shopping Habits
Shift your lens from ‘want’ to ‘need’! To build a sustainable wardrobe, excessive pieces are a big no as they will eventually take up space and create waste. Register your monthly spending or come up with other alternatives in spending! Change the world by changing your shopping habits, and it starts with you making mindful choices.
Source: Lucrezia Carnelos
About the Author
Hello, I am Summer and I'm passionate about my work and in all things, I like to imagine myself basking under the sun :)