What’s Going On Here?

The fashion industry—clothes and shoes—accounts for more than 8% of the global climate impact.

What Does This Mean?

Following fashion trends can come at a big cost to the environment. A report into the fashion industry published by MPs earlier this year found that the textile industry creates 1.2bn tonnes of CO2 a year—more than international aviation and shipping combined—consumes lake-sized volumes of water, and creates chemical and plastic pollution – as much as 35% of microplastics found in the ocean comes from synthetic clothing.

Waste is also a big issue. More than 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK alone every year, according to Wrap, the waste charity. Even English fashion designers like Phoebe English describe it as a “monstrous disposable industry”. 

Why Should We Care?

Caring about what we wear—and where it comes from—is another way we can take on individual responsibility in the climate fight.Several high-end designers have made sustainability part of their USP already. Like Vivienne Westwood or Stella McCartney, which uses “regenerated” cashmere and only uses viscose that can be traced to “the forest it came from” to ensure it is sustainably managed.

Adidas has also got on board, teaming up with environmental design company Parley for Oceans to make shoes out of recycled ‘Ocean Plastic’.

Be Curious!

There are lots of ways you can dress to impress while still being sustainable. Make like George Monbiot and take on these suggestions:

  • Buy second hand! Charity shops, vintage stores, flea markets, car boot sales are all potential treasure troves for well made, pre-loved items that would normally be way more expensive brand new.
  • Invest in classicwellmade items that are made ethically and won’t go out of fashion. Following trends often means buying cheap, which means less longevity and more clothing waste. It may hurt your wallet a little more in the short term, but in the long run, one well-made classic coat can cost the same as several quick-fix, ‘trend-conscious’ purchases. 
  • Be happy with what you have! A Spring (or Autumn or Winter) wardrobe clear-out often leads to a discovery of long-forgotten items, buried deep in your drawers. Maybe all you need is what you already have? Join the #iworeitagain Instagram challenge that urges fashion-conscious consumers to experiment with the clothes they already own.

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