“Sustainability isn’t an all or nothing game” – Sarah Spoljaric.
Being sustainable is about doing what you can when you can. That being said, when I started on this journey everything seemed to be a little overwhelming! I’m hoping that these tips that I’ve compiled can help you out.
1. Find your motivation
Whether it’s to help protect the environment, people producing the clothes or your bank balance, identify what drives your desire to dress and live more sustainably. Once you’ve found your “why?”, making and maintaining these changes will become much easier.
2. New lease of life
Consider whether you could upcycle or repair items you already own. Personally, I can’t live without a sewing kit and a fabric shaver. I would wholeheartedly recommend investing in both as they are a small way to make a big difference. Plus, repairing or restoring your favourite items will leave you feeling satisfied and accomplished.
3. Keep stock of what you own
Keeping a record of your clothes by photographing each piece and saving them on an app such as ‘Save Your Wardrobe’ or ‘Whering’ can really help. You could even simply save them in an album on your phone. Having this digital wardrobe will allow you to easily recall what you already own when you’re considering buying new items and to ask “do I really need this?”.
4. Season switch
Consider an Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer season switch over. Every Autumn and Spring I will put the previous seasons clothing into storage bags and switch them over for more season-appropriate clothing. Spending some time doing this means you will remember what clothes you own before going out looking for new seasonal items and buying duplicates. This saves time, money and unnecessary waste.
Swapping clothes with family and friends can be a great source of new items. Just because you’re done with an item doesn’t mean a friend might not love and make use of it or vice versa. Consider organising clothes swap days with friends where you can all offer up any item you’re no longer using. This can be tough in the current climate, so as an alternative you could simply offer these items up into a group chat before reselling or donating.
There are some amazing rental sites and apps around such as ‘By Rotation’, ‘Hirestreet’ and ‘HURR’. Whether you’re looking for something formal for an event or just wanting to try something new, this is a perfect option.
7. Is it essential?
Make a list of what you would like to buy. If you can’t repair, upcycle, swap or rent what you are after then revisit this list. If an item has been on the list for 4 weeks and you can answer yes to the question “will I get at least 30 wears out of this?” then why not shop around and see what you can find, preferably from a sustainable source!
8. Shop sustainably
Unfortunately, despite our best attempts to repair, upcycle, swap or rent it’s unlikely your items will last forever. You will need to buy new items at some point and this isn’t the end of the world! After all, if you’ve considered and undertaken all the other options discussed you’re already thinking and living more sustainably. When you do need to buy something new, consider first, could you buy it second hand? Second-hand doesn’t mean second best. Depop and eBay are great examples of this. You can often find amazing pieces that are new or have little wear for great prices. When buying new there are many amazing sustainably-minded brands to choose from.
If you’re looking for inspiration on these, feel free to visit my IG sustainablyinstyle!