Environmentally conscious shopping can help us save the world 

Photo: Esther Tuttle/Unsplash

LAST week we celebrated the annual Earth Day (April 22nd), which seeks to promote environmental action and protection for our planet. It goes without saying that fashion needs to be a big part of any conversation regarding how we take care of the world we live in. Sustainability is now a household term and one that should extend to our wardrobe. 

People don’t like numbers and figures. I get that. Sometimes too they don’t have a strong enough impact. But they’re important to pay attention to. 

According to the Earth Day website (EarthDay.org), the fashion industry generates 150 billion garments a year – 87 per cent of which end up in landfills. A saddening 1 per cent of discarded garments get recycled.  

It is predicted that by 2050, at the rate we are going, the fashion industry will account for 26 per cent of all carbon emissions. 

Did you know the average lifecycle of an item of clothing is as few as ten wears? Or that buying non-organic cotton actually has a direct impact on the environment due to the fact that it is depleting and destroying the Earth’s soil?  

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Honestly, I didn’t. I looked it up. It’s worrying, but there are ways to be part of the fight against climate change in the clothes we wear and the garments we buy. 

If you’re looking for a way to do your part, start by educating yourself on what sustainable clothing is and how it benefits the planet. That can look like shopping for quality over quantity or keeping an eye out for fabrics like organic cotton, linen, and hemp.  

Choosing ethical brands is also an extremely proactive way of being Earth-friendly. A helpful way to spot a sustainable brand is by paying attention to where they are sold and manufactured. Are they manufactured in their own community and connected to the place and people behind them? The local economy? If so, that’s a good sign. 

Even rooting through second-hand shops for your next haul or organising a swap group instead of buying new can make a huge difference. 

Have a friend who is a wizard with a sewing machine? Instead of throwing out damaged or old items of clothing, extend their life by repairing or upcycling them.  

Even better, learn a new skill and do it yourself. Get crafty, creative, and conscious. The longer we keep clothing, the lower its footprint. 

Cards on the table, I’m as guilty as anyone of making the easy fast fashion choices. But in informing myself on the debate on fast fashion and the impact of the industry on the planet, I have completely changed the way I shop. I’m not perfect, I still make fashion faux pas. It’s a hard industry to navigate and I am still learning. And sure that’s a good start, right?