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7 Ways to Save the Planet with your Clothes!

Updated: Nov 18, 2018


Image by Christina Animashaun

So, what do our clothes have to do with the planet?


A lot, actually!


It turns out the fashion industry is one of the largest environmental polluters, second only to oil. I guess it isn’t really surprising since it’s a $3 trillion global industry...!!!


Ironically, the most common materials used to make clothes derive from, yes you guessed it, PLASTIC! And plastic is made from oil, so really these two baddies go hand in hand.


But back to the apparel industry. Sadly, it’s one of the primary pollutants of our waterways and contributors to climate change.





Unfortunately, the impact of Fast Fashion extends to more than just the environment. Social and economic issues are front and center as well. Ever heard of the Rana Plaza disaster? In 2013, over 1,100 people were killed in Bangladesh when the building they were working in collapsed. The workers were making cheap clothing for the West as fast as possible in conditions where health and safety just didn’t matter.


Consumers didn’t seem to know, or care, where their two-dollar tube socks were being made.


Luckily, myth has taught us things can rise from ashes. And as a result of the Rana Plaza disaster, Slow Fashion was born. This is a movement that advocates for principles similar to the principles of slow food, such as good quality, clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers.


If you’re making the shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle, these are key points to keep in mind. To help you on your sustainable voyage, I’ve put together a checklist of 7 points that I hope will help guide your choices.



 


1. Second-hand shops. This is a great way to divert clothes from landfills and is also much better for your bank account ;) And instead of throwing good quality clothes away, donate them to second-hand store!


2. Natural fibers. If buying new clothes, make sure they’re made with natural, sustainably-sourced and biodegradable fibres like bamboo, organic cotton, hemp, or tencel. These types of fabric are great but also have drawbacks. Manufacturing new clothes has an environmental impact. It requires energy, natural resources, nasty chemicals (even natural fibers are sometimes dyed or bleached) and water, lots of it!


4. Upcyled plastic fibers. Help clean up plastic pollution by supporting brands that make their clothes out of upcycled plastic bottles.

In this image I’m wearing a swimsuit by Alyned Together who make each suit from 9 recycled plastic bottles! Use the code “CHANGEMAKER” for 15% off all their suits!!



5. Locally made. Support small businesses in your area! Once you establish a personal relationship with local businesses, you can even start trading instead of making payments. I trade shamanic healing sessions for organic cosmetics, kombucha, and herbal teas from girl-bosses in my local area!


6. Fair work conditions. Always make sure to find out where your clothes are made. Keep up to date with the #WhoMadeMyClothes movement and find apps that you can scan the barcodes with. More and more brands are moving towards transparency. The Cano Shoe are a great example of this!


Watch The True Cost documentary for more info!

Friendsss not food or purses :)

7. Vegan! Like factory farming in the food industry, raising animals for clothing and accessories is often cruel to the animals and harmful to the environment. If we want to protect animals, we need to stop exploiting them, and what we put in our closets has as much power to change that as what’s on our plates





8. Stop microfibres pollution! Because the majority of mass-produced clothes are made from plastic fibers, every time we do laundry, our clothes shed tiny, unseenplastic microfibres down the drains of our washing machines and into our waterways. That’s not great for the animals living in those waters, or for us. A solution for this is using a Cora Ball. Just pop it in your washing machine and it will collect the microfibres that otherwise would end up in the ocean!



The main point with any kind of low impact lifestyle changes is being mindful of our choices. In the case of clothing, reducing our consumption and not contributing to the manufacturing of more clothes are probably the best way to go.

So long as there is a demand, there will be a supply.

So let’s all do our bit to consume things that align with the sustainability principles of good quality, clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers!


Though I rarely buy new clothes and my wardrobe is primarily made up of my mum’s vintage hand-me-downs or goodies I got from second-hand stores or made by artisans on my travels, here is a list of some of my favourite sustianable brands:


Alyned Together

Amour Vert

Eileen Fisher

Everlane

Prana

Reformation

Threads 4 Thoughts

Tribe Alive



I hope this blog post will help you move towards a more sustainable way of life :) Please do let me know if you have any more insight on this. Always open to learning and really appreciate group efforts! Xox










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