Sustainability for beginners

EmmiAccording to Elle UK’s September issue, 62% of young women in the UK are more likely to buy an item of clothing from a brand that values sustainability. Also, 9 in 10 would like to understand sustainability issues more. Fact of the matter is that consumers are more and more aware of the environmental impacts of fashion.

Now, a confession. Before joining Spinnova, I didn’t really give sustainability a thought. I was no fashionista, but certainly did a lot of unnecessary shopping just for fun, self-indulgence or to get a bargain. Feeling bad about it doesn’t help, however. Since understanding the challenges of this industry, I’ve made some changes.

Here are just a few tips from a recovered shopaholic turned conscious, for being more sustainable.

Buy less, choose well, wear for longer. This Vivienne Westwood quote sums it all up. I would only add recycling.

  1. Stop buying for pleasure. Do you need something or just want it? Just because something is offered to you at an attractive price, doesn’t mean you have to take it.
  2. A funny tee-shirt costs five euros for a reason. Why not choose a more timeless piece made of better material? In the time I have consumed five polyester cardigans, one cashmere one would have probably outlived all these and even cost me less money. Especially if I found a used one in good condition (and here’s part 2a; always look first in the local online marketplaces and flea markets for quality second hand stuff).
  3. Shop in your own closet. You probably have four times the clothes your parents did at your age – surely there are perfectly good clothes you haven’t worn for a year? Why not rediscover them? Do you even know what’s in your closet? Keep your stuff organised and maintain your clothes well and you’re half way there.
  4. If something’s missing a button, has a tear in the hem or a hole in the back you can always pick up a needle and thread and fix it – if not, ask someone else to do it for you.
  5. Shop in your friends’ closets and vice versa. What no-one wants, recycle to charity. Find a high-street retailer that sends unusable textiles for reuse in e.g. industrial processes and take the broken, permanently stained, worn out stuff there (just don’t end up making rash buying decisions just because they give you a voucher for it).

This sustainability first aid is something you can start today. This isn’t just to make you feel better about yourself either. If everyone in the world did this, the environmental impact would be huge.

Stay sustained <3