The Twenty SS20 Issue

Sustainable & ethical Fashion

By Jo Phillips

Sustainable and ethical fashion is one of the hottest topics and most significant movements currently within the fashion industry. Put simply, it works to promote and ensure fairness and respect for workers across the sector, while reducing resources and unnecessary waste to minimise the environmental impact that the fashion industry is having on our planet. 

While the idea of putting together a sustainable wardrobe can feel initially overwhelming, and it can be challenging to know where to start, it isn’t as hard as you might think and the effects are completely worth it. It is also important to remember that your entire wardrobe doesn’t need to be sustainable from top to toe – simply making a conscious effort is more than enough to make an impact.

Here are four easy yet effective tips on how to create a more sustainable wardrobe.

Image Freestock

Find a good tailor

When something tears, gets a hole or breaks you don’t automatically have to reach for the bin – especially if the item holds a special place in your wardrobe. Give your clothes a longer life by finding a good tailor to repair and make them as good as new before running off to the shops in search of a replacement. This, alongside good care, should enable you to get more wear out of your clothes for much longer.

Even if your clothes are currently perfectly intact, finding a good tailor is something that you should still prioritise. Chances are that if you are buying your items in ready to wear fast-fashion chains, then you are going to struggle with fit issues. That’s because even though clothes are all categorised into sizes, not everyone has the same proportions or even the same shape! No one pattern will fit every single body, and when your clothes are a poor fit, you end up not looking your best. Having your clothes tailored is an affordable and easy way to achieve a more flattering appearance while expanding and getting more use out of your already existing wardrobe. Not only will you feel good wearing clothes that actually fit your body, but it’s amazing what a slight adjustment and change in fit can do for your overall appearance.

Change your shopping attitude 

Previous attitudes have generally been trend-based, especially in recent years. This put pressure on consumers to keep up with the constant ever-changing collections that brands were churning out in order to look up to date and ‘on-trend.’ 

Unfortunately, the problem with basing your shopping habits around trend-led pieces is that they go out of trend just as quickly as they came in, rendering your latest purchase essentially out of style after a mere several months, and sometimes even weeks. Every item of clothing made has a carbon footprint attached to it due to the energy, products and workforce necessary in the manufacturing process, making it an unsustainable way to shop. This is why it is essential to change our attitudes towards shopping if we are to make an impact and look towards brands and trendsetters that are new in this sustainable fashion era. Instead of rushing off to fast-fashion shops, why not look towards vintage clothing instead? By buying vintage, you are reducing the global footprint and resources that go into making new garments such as water, materials and dyes. Your clothes and accessories will also be one of a kind putting an original spin on your style. There are many great vintage shops and boutiques both with plenty of great options such as Audrey Leighton Vintage and you’ll also be supporting small and local business owners. If you do still want to dabble in trends though, then try to invest in those that are more classic and that you know will continue to look good season after season. 

Pay attention to Fabrics

One of the best things that you can do when either making a new purchase or decluttering your wardrobe is to pay attention to fabrics. Look for pieces that contain natural fibres and materials such as cotton and linen, or semi-synthetic viscose. Not only do these look and feel more expensive and higher quality, but they are also good for your skin, allowing it to breath – especially important in the summer. Clothes made from natural materials generally tend to last longer as well.

While you don’t have to get rid of all your polyester owned pieces immediately and never buy an item made out of synthetic material ever again, it is recommended that you pay attention to what makes you feel your best. Once you start paying attention to fabrics, you will be able to curate a better wardrobe full of clothes that you actually feel comfortable wearing and that will always look good. 

Quality over quantity

Previously it used to be about changing looks up as often as possible and never wearing the same outfit twice. But with the ever-increasing trend of moving away from fast fashion, the focus is now on the quality of our wardrobes, rather than the quantity. Buying higher-quality pieces automatically makes your closet more sustainable simply due to the fact that they will last you longer, meaning that you won’t have to shop as often for replacements. While buying better quality is likely to cost you more up-front, in comparison to cheap high-street products of low quality, you will likely save more money in the long run. This is because you will be buying fewer items of clothing throughout the year and seasons as well as standing the test of time. Curate a minimal wardrobe full of the classic items that you love and place thought into all of your purchases whether that be a classic Dickies t-shirt, Calvin Klein sweater, or a pair of classic jeans from an online boutique. While high-street clothing is undeniably cheaper, the reason for this is due to poorer quality materials and cheaper labour, meaning that your clothes are likely only to last you a few washes before they start to not look their best. Buy eco-friendly pieces and have a wardrobe that will last you years while reducing your carbon footprint.