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CONSUMERS CAN HELP CHANGE THE FASHION INDUSTRY BECOME MORE SUSTAINABLE.

CONSUMERS CAN HELP CHANGE THE FASHION INDUSTRY BECOME MORE SUSTAINABLE.

consumers

Consumers play a huge role in making the fashion industry become more sustainable and adopting sustainable practices when it comes to controlling the manufacturing and production habits. The fashion industry has faced some significant challenges since the year 2019; sustainability is the biggest of them. In recent decades, sustainability has become a buzzword in the apparel and fashion industry. Even web searches for Sustainable Fashion have increased by 66 percent since 2018.

By the year 2030, the fashion industry is predicted to increase its water consumption by 50 percent, and its carbon footprint will increase to 2,790 million tons while fashion waste is predicted to hit 148 million tons, according to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

Scary. Isn’t it?

The situation can get worse if the industry doesn’t change their fashion habits in the coming years. Although the fashion industry has shown some seriousness towards sustainability in the recent decade, it’s not just the responsibility of designers, manufacturers and fashion brands to bring the change. Us consumers have the power as well.

The key to making fashion sustainable is the consumer. If we want the fashion industry to adopt more sustainable practices, then as shoppers, we need to question  how clothing is made, where it comes from, and demonstrate these concerns through what we buy. The market will then certainly respond. We can also reduce waste through how we take care of our clothing and how we discard it.

Here are some tips on how to be a responsible consumer.

Buy clothes from sustainable brands

One of the best ways to ensure your clothing choices are not harming the environment or people is by paying attention to where you shop from. Not only will this ensure that your carbon footprint is low, but it will also help promote fair working practices for people around the world. Sustainable brands pay attention to every step of the supply chain – producing and selling their products, sourcing recycled materials to ensure garment workers are paid fair wages. Before making a purchase, consumers should check out their favorite brand’s mission and values to see if they share their social and environmental policies or see how they rank on the Fashion Transparency Index. We’ll not lie to you, the offers are limited and it’s easier and cheaper to go to fast fashion stores to refill your wardrobe. But the more we demand sustainable clothing, the more will be available- just like organic food was difficult to find 15 years ago. Today, it’s available in most supermarkets.

Pricewise, yes, you will pay more for sustainable clothing than for fast fashion, but the quality and the durability of the clothes reflect in the prices too!

VINTAGE CLOTHING

Second hand shopping

If buying from sustainable brands doesn’t fit in your budget right now, try shopping at second hand stores. You can often find fashionable items at a fraction of the price. Millennials are chasing second-hand shopping like never before. And this has made brands and retailers move towards second-hand clothing. In a world full of fashion trends, second-hand shopping has some unique and vintage styles which are one of a kind pieces. You’ll never find the same exact piece anywhere else nor would you  coincidently match with a random stranger on the street! How cool is that?

Consumers need to make smart and ethical choices by picking second-hand clothes and accessories. In 2020, the second-hand clothing market was valued at $ 32 billion and it’s set to reach the value of $51 billion by 2023. Second-hand clothing is growing impressively across the globe.

Custom made or made-to-order clothing

Consumers need to move towards on-demand and custom-clothing as it is unique, customized, fashionable and is specially suited to your measurements and preferences. The practice of custom made clothing has always been there and is definitely picking up more so now. With made-to-order, brands can control how much they produce according to the number of orders they receive. Consumers have the freedom of choosing styles, silhouettes and designs from what is available while also adding their own touch. This also allows customers to make changes according to their likes and dislikes while the brands don’t over produce pieces. 

Brands and retailers are personalizing the entire shopping experience to get closer to the customers. In the era of consumerism, consumer choices matter the most – consumers can choose personalization over mass-production to save natural resources, raw material, and support ethical and sustainable fashion.

MATERIALS

Change the way you do laundry

Washing our clothes has a significant environmental impact. The average household does almost 400 loads of laundry every year, consuming about 60,000 liters of water. It also takes a lot of energy to heat the washing water and run the drying cycle. It’s suggested to only wash full loads, use cold water more often, avoid dry cleaning and tumble dryers, and use green detergent. You can even invest in products that help reduce the amount of microfiber released into your wastewater.

Think twice before throwing out your clothes

Don’t throw your clothes in the normal bins! Most of them consist of synthetic, non-biodegradable fiber and will just pile up in the landfill. There are other options:
 -Try to repair them. Sometimes with a bit of imagination, you can repair or even redesign a torn garment.

-Donate your clothes to your friends, family, neighbors, or to charity. Donate your clothes to NGOs or to housemaids or workers.

-Sell them on second-hand apps.

-Put them in the textile recycling bin. Textiles can be recycled to make new clothing.

SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING

Invest in fewer but higher quality garments

Fast fashion retailers have convinced us that we need to have the newest style in our closets to be happy, but these styles are usually crafted from cheap materials that don’t hold up, requiring us to buy more. While many fashion brands are using recycled fabrics in an attempt to be more sustainable, these materials are still made from plastic-based fibers and will shed plastic microfibers into wastewater. By investing in clothing made from high-quality natural fibers, like organic cotton, you can decrease microplastic pollution and protect marine life. Because clothes have become so cheap, we no longer care as much about quality. We just buy new garments when the ones we have lose their shape or appeal. Additionally, we have all had the experience of buying expensive clothing or a pair of shoes and facing disappointment after two months, when they look old or have holes in them.

To fight fast fashion, be picky about what you wear. Do you really need three black t-shirts made out of thin fabric? What if you bought one, made from ethically sourced sustainable material? Not only will you dress better, but you’ll feel better about what you wear, too. If we stop buying poor quality, it will push brands to improve the quality of their garments. It will also allow us to keep our clothes longer, which is good for our wallets and for the environment.

Rent clothes

Clothing rentals are an excellent choice for outfits you know you won’t wear often, like wedding dresses, tuxedos, traditional wear and maternity clothes. Clothing rentals are also a growing industry.  

CLOTHING

Swap clothes

Host/participate in a clothes swap. These types of initiatives are popping up all over the world. Participants bring clothes that they no longer wear and exchange them for clothes they will use. This is an economic and eco-friendly way to refill your wardrobe. You can also organize it among your friends. If you’re not ready to donate the clothes that no longer inspire you, try sharing your closet with friends. Clothing swaps can be a great way to get access to new clothes without putting in the money or effort it takes to buy new items. The best part is that it doesn’t have to last forever — you can always swap back!

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