Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Sustainable Fashion: stand up for something good.


What does it take to have a sustainable wardrobe? What is fast fashion and why do we need to reconsider this trend of consumable, disposable clothes? Every single item comes with a cost. What can we do differently? What are the things you need to consider? What are the principles of sustainable fashion?

Listen in here (https://soundcloud.com/user-523529725/sustainable-fashion) to my Simple Life segment on the Evening Show: ABC Radio Queensland from 8 August where host, Trevor Jackson, and I chat about Sustainable Fashion.



Join the growing movement of people and be part of change for good.

Try these figures on for size....
  • 25% of pesticides are used in the production of non-organic clothing
  • A simple t-shirt can cost less than a cup of coffee but uses 2700L of drinking water (enough for one person/yr)
  • 95% of all clothing thrown away could have been recycled. 
  • 0ver 30% of clothes donated to charities ends up in landfill. Only 3-4% ends back in their shops. Most of it gets sent overseas.
  • 2/3rds of the clothes worn around the world are synthetic, made of petrochemicals and shedding micrplastics
  • Australians throw away enough clothes each year to completely fill an enormous football stadium twice over!


Stand up for something good. Choose clothing well ...

consider clothing 'end of life'

Choose compostable clothing (cotton, linen, silk, help, wool) or fibres that can be recovered (eg: Cradle to Cradle https://www.fashionpositive.org).   I wouldn't try to compost dry-cleaned clothes as they are too toxic - mmm, probably avoid wearing them too then.


are they good to wear many times?

Unfortunately, clothing items are only worn 7 times on average before they are discarded. Select things that are durable, of high quality, and can be worn often.  Often things fall apart or start to 'pill' quite badly after just a couple of wears.


is it adjustable?

I love clothes that can be altered. This is great for kids. Make a few darts here and there on bigger sizes, then they can get more wears as they grow into it. For me, I like adjustable clothing because my shape never seems to stay the same from one week to the next and it's good to have that flexibility - this is why I love sarongs and wrap skirts.


is it mendable?

Choose things that can be fixed - fabric and styles that allow mending.


is it ethically produced?

Choose clothing that has not caused pain and suffering by the person and community that made it, nor should it harm animals in making. The fashion industry is one of the most lucrative industries, but also a most polluting and wasteful industry emitting lots of greenhouse gases. It is also a most unfair and unethical industry. You might want to take a look at the Good on You app to get the lowdown on brands of clothing


is it environmentally responsible?

Many of the poorer communities where clothes are made, know what the latest colour will be because that is the colour of their rivers due to contamination  due to unmanaged production processes. So many environmental impacts are caused by the unregulated textile industry in many parts of the world.


is it organic?

Clothing made from organic clothing is better for your skin, for the makers and for the environment. Organic clothing aims to protect soil, natural habitats and biodiversity, and increase water efficiency as well as taking chemicals out of the production cycle.


is it pre-loved?

Getting a new item of clothing doesn't mean it can't have been pre-loved. You can often find some quite wonderful pieces. Swap. Share. Join Buy Nothing Groups. Shop at charity stores.


does it support others?

Consider whether your clothes are supporting others through fair trade practices, charities...


stop and think

Do I need it?? Every single item comes with a cost. Choose to care. Ask "What impact do the clothes I'm wearing have on my health, my family's health, on planetary health and the on the people who made them?


Here's a simple checklist

  1. wear things lots
  2. renew, reuse, upcycle
  3. repurpose
  4. donate
  5. recycle - last. Only 0.1% of clothes sent to recycling come back as clothes. Disappointingly, most clothes brought to recycling centres are down-cycled, not recycled, and are used in things like insulation. 
  6. throw away - never
One of the things I love to do is sew my own clothes using retro fabrics, redesigning old clothes or sourcing organic natural textiles to work with. I've haven't yet learnt to knit or crochet well enough to make clothes but I'm in awe of those that do.  

Making your clothes is more than a 'nice' thing to do (which it is) - you can design things that really suit and create your own unique style - but you are also doing something really positive and practical through non-participation in the fast fashion industry.


read more: 

Action Aid: http://www.actionaid.org/australia/7-things-you-need-know-about-ethical-fashion


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3 comments:

  1. Wow, only worn 7 times? That's insane!!! I've pared down my clothes to natural fibres a couple years ago. When they are worn out they turn into gardening clothes. And when they are worn out they turn into rags! Having a set process really helps!

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  2. I made the decision, two years ago now, that I would learn to sew and make my own clothes. I have made a dress and a few tops, just simple patterns, but together with a few op-shop finds, I have a wearable wardbrobe. I found too that I can buy organic fabrics at reasonable prices if I wait for sales. Also, at our local show recently, I met a crafter who had made a gorgeous crocheted rug from rescued t-shirts. So clever! Meg:)

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  3. I have been helping to produce and designing for Rubbish To Runway Refashion Show for 7 years. It's a great way to inspire people to Buy and dress sustainably, Check out our Facebook page!

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