Guest Blog by Natalie Wilson
We often live for our clothes, yet as consumers, we are not as educated as we should be when it comes to how our clothes are made and why it matters. Fashion is the second most polluting industry, only behind oil, so sustainability has never looked and felt so good. Currently, as consumers, we are buying far too much fast fashion, with over £140 million worth of clothing entering the landfill system in the UK.
As clothing is increasingly being made from plastic, much of our wardrobe waste is non-biodegradable and contains small, synthetic fibres which will last within the environment for many years. A nylon jacket may well take 40 years to decompose, whilst raincoats, spandex leggings and wellington boots taking much, much longer.
So, how can we shop and change our wardrobe choices to wear clothes and beauty products in a way which won’t pollute the planet?
Know Your Fibres
Knowing exactly what your clothes are made from can help you to choose what to buy and wear. There are, in general, 2 types of fibres: natural and synthetic. Synthetic fibres are man-made and will take years to degrade. Polyester, lycra and acrylic are all words to look out for, as these materials are plastic based.
Natural fibres are made from natural materials, such as linen, silk, cotton and hemp. These are a more sustainable choice and will decompose faster. There are also choices of clothing available which are made of recycled plastic, giving greener alternatives to synthetic fibres. Many fashion brands are also looking to become more ethical, with specialist brands dedicating their products to specific causes and uses.
Look Beyond Your Wardrobe
How you get ready in the morning stretches far further than just opening your wardrobe and choosing clothing items. Your morning routine consists of many different products, all likely to have an involvement with plastic some way or another. Your makeup bag, shower and even breakfast choices are all likely to come into contact with plastic, whether it be via the packaging or the material it’s made from.
Take a close look at your makeup collection. Your cosmetic bag is most likely filled with products all stored in plastic containers. The cosmetic industry is currently undergoing a huge change, with many products such as mascara, cosmetic glitter and designer makeup brushes all going through revamps to reduce the amount of plastic used during production. Shower products, in particular, are known for their excessive amount of plastic packaging, so take a look at natural alternatives or shop for products that don’t come with any packaging, like Lush’s latest range.
Avoid Ordering Online
Whilst buying online does make finding plastic-free clothing and shopping, in general, much easier. But the catch with this is that often the clothes we buy online come delivered completely wrapped in plastic packaging and undoes all the work that you have put into sourcing your new items.
If you want to avoid the excessive packaging, try and find local shops or shop in pre-loved or charity stores near to you. Most eco-friendly and sustainable fashion brands have shipping options that come with environmentally friendly packaging, so checking their delivery policies is always worth trying.
Build A Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe comes from creating a more concentrated version of the items already in your wardrobe, with the focus being on quality rather than quantity. The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to have items that you truly love whilst being able to adapt the pieces from season to season to fit in with the weather and your mood.
As the seasons change, go through your wardrobe and replace some of the things that are hanging in your wardrobe with another item which is more suited to the season. Organising your wardrobe this way keeps items interesting, as you won’t be looking at them all every day, and helps you to cut down on buying impulse purchases.
Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer. She loves writing about the latest fashion and beauty trends and travel. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and planning her next shopping trip or travel destination. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.