How to Make Environmentally Friendly Choices

by Glazed Glamor
5 minutes read

The fashion industry is a powerful force, shaping trends and influencing our personal style. But this influence comes at a cost.  From the massive resource consumption required for production to the ever-growing mountains of textile waste in landfills, the environmental impact of the fashion industry is undeniable.

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However, there’s a growing movement towards sustainable fashion – a way to cultivate a stylish wardrobe while minimizing your environmental footprint. This shift requires a conscious effort, but the rewards are plentiful. By embracing sustainable practices, you’re not just making a difference for the planet, you’re also building a wardrobe filled with unique pieces that reflect your values.

The True Cost of Fast Fashion

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The rise of fast fashion has made clothing more affordable and accessible than ever before. But this affordability comes at a hidden cost. Fast fashion relies on mass production of trendy garments using cheap materials and labor practices. The consequences are far-reaching:

  • Resource Depletion: The fashion industry is a major consumer of water, energy, and land. Cotton production, for example, requires vast amounts of water and pesticides, putting a strain on precious resources.
  • Pollution: Textile dyeing is a significant source of water pollution, releasing harmful chemicals into waterways. Additionally, synthetic fabrics like polyester shed microplastics during washing, which end up contaminating our oceans and harming marine life.
  • Waste Crisis: Our insatiable appetite for new clothes translates to mountains of textile waste. Many discarded garments end up in landfills, taking hundreds of years to decompose and releasing harmful methane gas in the process

Cultivating a Sustainable Mindset

The good news is that we can all play a role in shifting towards a more sustainable fashion future. Here’s how to make eco-conscious choices for your wardrobe:

  • Embrace Minimalism: Quality Over Quantity
  • Declutter Regularly: Before you consider buying new clothes, take stock of what you already own. Organize a closet cleanout, donating or selling items you no longer wear. Letting go of unused clothing creates space for new (sustainable) pieces and gives pre-loved garments a second life.
  • Invest in Quality: Prioritize well-made, timeless pieces that will last for years to come. Focus on classic styles in neutral colors that can be easily mixed and matched to create versatile outfits. This approach is more cost-effective in the long run and reduces the amount of clothing ending up in landfills.
  • Plan Your Purchases: Avoid impulse buys. Develop a shopping list based on your needs and curate your wardrobe with intention. Ask yourself “Will I wear this multiple times?” and “Can I envision this piece working with several outfits I already own?”

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Embrace Sustainable Materials

  1. Natural Fibers: Opt for natural fibers like organic cotton, linen, hemp, and wool. These materials are biodegradable and have a lower environmental impact than synthetic fibers like polyester, which are derived from fossil fuels and can take hundreds of years to decompose.
  2. Recycled Materials: Look for clothing made from recycled materials like plastic bottles or old fabric scraps. This approach reduces waste and lowers the demand for virgin resources. Many sustainable brands are incorporating recycled materials into their collections, offering stylish options without compromising on eco-consciousness.
  3. Sustainable Certifications: Familiarize yourself with certifications like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and Oeko-Tex Standard 100. These certifications ensure organic production practices and the use of eco-friendly dyes and chemicals throughout the manufacturing process.

Think Beyond Retail – Secondhand and Vintage Finds

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Thrift stores and vintage shops are treasure troves waiting to be explored. You can find unique, pre-loved pieces at a fraction of the cost of retail, while extending the life cycle of clothing and reducing demand for new production. Vintage clothing offers timeless styles and superior craftsmanship, often exceeding the quality of many fast fashion items.

Seek out clothing made by local designers or artisans who use sustainable practices and high-quality materials. These small businesses often prioritize ethical production and offer one-of-a-kind pieces that support your local community.

Wash and Care Wisely for Longevity

Read the Label: Follow the care instructions on your clothing tags to extend their lifespan. Washing on a cold cycle and air drying can significantly reduce energy consumption and prevent shrinkage or color fading.

Image credit: Photo by Markus Winkler on UnsplashPhoto by Prudence Earl on UnsplashPhoto by Francois Le Nguyen on UnsplashPhoto by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash

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