Did you know that nearly 20% of global wastewater is produced by the fashion industry?
That’s right — and the industry is also responsible for sending huge amounts of textile waste to landfill.
So, what do you do if you want to look great without hurting the planet?
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get your hands on eco-friendly clothing, from hitting up local thrift stores to buying from environmentally-conscious brands.
Keep reading to find out how to keep your wardrobe ethical.
Look for Clothes at Thrift Stores
One of the most eco-friendly ways to buy clothes is actually to pick them up second-hand. This way, there are zero resources used on creating new items and you stop unwanted clothes from going to landfill.
Checking out your local thrift store is also a great way to find clothes that don’t cost a fortune.
If you’re struggling to find clothes you like, you might be shopping in the wrong area. Make a trip to a ‘trendy’ part of town, and you’ll be surprised by all the cool clothes people have donated. You might even find some designer brands.
You can also look for second-hand clothes online with sites like eBay and Depop. The money you spend won’t go to charity but you’ll still get some awesome, eco-friendly bargains.
Host a Clothes Swap Party
Is your friend finally throwing out that denim jacket you’ve had your eye on forever? Has one of the group lost weight and totally overhauled their wardrobe?
Holding a clothes swap party with your friends is a great way to get new clothes without spending a penny or hurting the earth.
Everyone brings along a selection of clothes they no longer wear, you have a ton of fun trying stuff on, and then you swap the items you want for the stuff you’re getting rid of.
You’ll all get totally new-to-you clothes for free, and you get rid of all the items you never wear without having to try and sell them. You’ll also get some great new style ideas and could leave with a whole new look.
The atmosphere at these events is always amazing, so put on some tunes, break out the snacks, and get swapping!
Know Which Eco-Friendly Fibres to Look for
If you decide to shop for new clothes, knowing which fibers are best for the planet will help you to make the most eco-friendly choice.
While cotton is a common clothing material, it uses lots of water and pesticide so isn’t the best choice for the environment.
Hemp is an option that sounds eco-friendly and it’s true that the crop is easy to grow and doesn’t require many chemicals. However, it’s illegal to grow in the USA, so be sure to factor in the air miles involved in importing it.
If you’re in a country where hemp production is legal, then it’s a wonderful eco-friendly choice.
Linen is made from flax, a crop which is easy to produce and requires less water and pesticide than cotton. It’s also easy to recycle when it starts to wear out.
Flax can be produced legally in the USA, so there’s no issue with air miles.
Bamboo grows fast and doesn’t require much pesticide at all. It creates a really soft fabric that’s popular for socks.
Look for ‘bamboo linen’ which is produced using fewer chemicals than regular bamboo fabric.
Silk is a natural fabric that’s produced by caterpillars, commonly called ‘silkworms’. It’s a lightweight fabric that’s often used to create high-end garments. It breaks down naturally when it wears out, so won’t contribute to landfill.
Bear in mind that silkworms are killed during the process of creating silk, so the fabric isn’t vegan.
It’s also possible to buy vegan silk which is made from oranges. Fibers that are leftover in the production of orange juice are harvested, then the cellulose is extracted and turned into fabric.
This process makes good use of what would otherwise go to waste and create a material that’s completely biodegradable.
Lyocell is a really interesting material that’s made using wood pulp. Eucalyptus wood is commonly used, and it doesn’t require much water or pesticide to grow.
Since it’s made from wood, the material is fully biodegradable and can be recycled at the end of its life.
Make a List of Environmentally Conscious Brands
New eco-friendly clothing brands are popping up all the time, and many big names are starting to commit to more sustainable fashion.
Look at online databases and check out the eco-friendly clothing brands listed. If you see one you like, make a note and come back to it when you need to buy something — instead of heading straight to a high-street store.
Attending eco-fashion events, joining Facebook groups dedicated to helping the planet, and asking friends for recommendations is a great way to find new brands.
Try Making Your Own Clothes
Now that you know which materials are best for the planet, why not try making your own clothes?
As well as being a fun hobby, this lets you decide exactly what your clothes are made from and prevents the risk of buying from companies that treat their workforce poorly.
If you don’t have much experience, start with something simple, like a scarf or T-shirt. Check YouTube and Pinterest for handy tutorials, or attend an in-person sewing class.
If nothing else, the process of making your own clothes will help you to understand how much work is involved in every single garment, making you think more carefully about your regular purchase decisions.
Why Is Wearing Eco-Friendly Clothing So Important?
We have only one planet and every single decision we make has an impact — from buying a new T-shirt to throwing away an old pair of jeans.
Sticking with fast fashion increases pollution, water waste, and landfill. By being more conscious about your fashion choices you can look great without damaging the earth.
Eco-friendly clothing can be more expensive, but you’ll get better quality items which are sustainable long-term.
Want more awesome sustainable fashion tips? Check out the rest of our blog today.