There’s no doubt our fashion habits have a serious impact on the environment. Fashion’s carbon footprint and excess waste tallies in the tens of millions of tonnes with no sign of slowing down.
The figures don’t lie, but there is a set of fashion leaders, designers, buyers and industry innovators helping to shift the style status quo.
Last week, global designer fashion giant NET-A-PORTER dropped a new sustainable shop section called NET SUSTAIN. According to the company’s Global Buying Director Elizabeth Von Der Goltz, NET-A-PORTER has “duty to leverage change and to contribute to improving practices across our industry.”
For sustainability heroes and co-founders of local label bassike, Deborah Sams and Mary-Lou Ryan, sustainability is a necessary part of their design philosophy. “Everything we design is created with intention, designed to be purposeful and produced with longevity in mind,” Sam and Ryan say.
And according to Fanny Moizant, founder of major community-led designer resale hub Vestiaire Collective, love for sustainability and circular fashion is on the rise, especially in Australia. “Sustainability in fashion is a mindset that customers are embracing,” she says.
We asked these fashion leaders to weigh in on simple changes and wardrobe switches you can adopt today to make a difference.
Here are five simple fashion fixes to reduce your fashion footprint, according to the style pros.
#1 Think Before You Buy
Moizant believes the best place to start a more sustainable wardrobe is simply by stopping to think before you buy.
“Think about being more mindful about consumption and understand that we each have an individual responsibility towards our consumption habits; there are consequences to all of our actions,” she says.
#2 Quality Over Quantity
A huge part of fashion’s environmental woes centre on excess and our desire to buy more new things, whenever they drop and whenever we can. But when it comes to fashion—more isn’t always better, it’s actually just more (at the expense of the environment). Von der Goltz suggests you flip your approach to building your ideal wardrobe. “Invest in quality items, re-wear them and repair them if necessary to extend their longevity,” she says.
Save your pennies, research your purchases and make sure each piece is something you’ll love, wear and treasure for years to come.
#3 One In, One Out
When it comes to buying new things, Moizont has a strict “one in, one out” policy. “It’s all about buying less and feeling better,” she explains. While this practice might be challenging for some of us to adopt, you’ll no doubt cherish each item a whole lot more.
#4 Choose Great Eco-Conscious Labels
“bassike is passionate about creating a sustainable future, as we are aware of the part our industry plays in the environmental and ethical challenges faced by our planet and global community,” says Sams and Ryan.
“We consciously seek out sustainable and responsible ways of producing our product – whether it is the use of GOTS certified organic cottons, natural sustainable linen, recycled indigo in our denim collections, banning the use of harmful azo dyes, introducing re-use and recycle zero waste initiatives or working with ethically certified, vertically integrated cashmere suppliers.”
We should expect more from the labels we wear, and happily, in 2019, there are so many incredible brands exploring manufacturing innovation, working with scientists to develop new solutions and rethinking the structure of the industry (check out this list of awesome sustainable labels). However, ultimately style is personal and the choice is yours—so choose well!
#5 Extend The Life Of Your Clothes
Never throw out your clothes, shoes and accessories, even when those kicks are worn and you know you’ll never dance in those heels again.
“At the end of the item’s life cycle, donate to charity, or resell so that someone else can love it as much as you did!” von der Goltz suggests.
Naturally, Moizont is a huge fan of the wonderful world of resale, championing a long life for clothes through Vestiaire Collective. “Extending the life cycle of a garment by just nine months through reselling reduces waste, water and carbon footprints by 20-30% each and cuts resource costs by 20%,” she says.
It’s true that one person’s trash might be another’s treasure—and you’ll be preventing fashion from filling up all that landfill.
Now’s the time to think before you buy. Get to know seven of our favourite sustainable fashion brands right here.
Image credit: NET-A-PORTER.