So we don’t know about you, but we are finding ourselves with an ocean of extra time during this lockdown. I have personally read about 12 books, which for me is a groundbreaking record. I have also finished too many shows on Netflix. I have thrice Spring-cleaned my house. Nearly became TikTok famous (I have three followers, thank you very much), and I am running out of ideas for things to do. Now, you can lie, or you can admit you are in the same boat. So let me give you a little tip for something I did last weekend, which took a few hours off my hands. Go through your closet and think of ways to make it as sustainable as you can. Use this time to embark on that slow fashion path and create that sustainable wardrobe you’ve been meaning to manifest. Here’s our advice for getting started.
1. Knowledge is Power!
The most common thing that people say when they start their embark on a more sustainable path, is that they do not know where to start. Our answer is always: dive into some reading first. There are so many great books out there that will help you get a good idea of how to start, check out this piece we wrote. Not really into the books? Watch a documentary instead. The True Cost, even though it’s very painful to watch, is a classic that will really give you a good glimpse into the flaws of the system. Using that knowledge, it’s time to do some research on what sustainable brands you truly love and whose values line up with yours. From there your knowledge will start to grow more naturally. You’ll see a massive difference in the sustainable purchases you’re making in comparison to quick fix dopamine hits from fast fashion. I can promise you that once the ball starts rolling, you’ll start to love the journey and will not want to go back to your old ways.
2. Quality > Quantity
Lets play a little 'throwback to Mean Girls' game shall we?
- Raise your hand if you have ever bought an item, worn it once, and never looked at it again? 🙋
- Now, raise your hand if you are scared to go through your closet because you’ll find one too many of these items? 🙋
- And now raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by fast-fashion chains that lure you in with low prices, but whose quality is so bad that your purchases break, shrink or lose colour after a few washes? 🙋
Yeh, same. To avoid this, try to really look into what materials your purchases are made with. Yes, buying better quality will most likely cost you more. But instead of buying many, cheap pieces that break after you’ve worn them literally once or twice, you are buying just one piece that will last you forever. Basically, the idea is that you save up, invest, buy less, and thereby drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Win-win-win-win situation, isn’t it?
3. Get Thrifty
There’s nothing more rewarding than going around a bunch of thrift shops in your area and finding a one-of-a-kind, never before seen, unique pieces of clothing that you can steal the spotlight with. Thrift stores are usually cheaper than buying things firsthand and will make your closet more versatile. It will maybe take longer to find the perfect thing but will be worth it in the end. Trust me. And seeing as we are all indoors for the foreseeable future, check out these wonderful online vintage stores: @retold_vintage, @anothermatinee and ASOS Marketplace (Select: Vintage to support independent sellers).
4. The 30 Wears Test
In 2016, Livia Firth, the founder of Eco Age began the 30 wears campaign. It was created to encourage us to purchase new items only if we knew we were going to wear it at least 30 times. She stated ‘The biggest message is every time you buy something, always think, ‘Will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?’ If the answer is yes, then buy it. But you’d be surprised how many times you will say no.’ The trick is to invest in pieces that will last through seasons and years. What is trendy this summer, might not be next year. Which brings me to my next point…
5. Invest In Trans-Seasonal Clothes
'What are trans-seasonal clothes?’ I hear you ask. Well, it’s very simple, they are clothes that you can wear all year round. How are they sustainable? Having smart pieces in your wardrobe that are perfect for layering and dressing up and down, will create a closet with minimal space. Take a slip dress for example. In the summer you wear it with sandals, fab sunglasses and a maxi beach hat. But in winter, you wear it with a light jumper, patterned tights and sneakers. Go through your closet and find those pieces that you can easily mix and match with. Every time you purchase a new item, think about those pieces. It will make you more creative with your wardrobe. And it will be a lot of fun.
6. Donate & Sell Unwanted Clothes
Nothing makes us sadder than hearing people say that they have recently cleaned out their closet and thrown out three bags worth of clothes. Why would you throw it away? There are plenty of places that you could make very happy with your unwanted clothes. Think second hand or charity shops. If there are not many shops in your area, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Organise a clothing swap with friends. I am 100% sure that the clothes you are tired of, friends of yours can blow new life into. And it is so much fun seeing friends wearing clothes you used to love, and the other way around. What also helps is downloading apps like Depop and selling on there. If photographing and uploading all of your unwanted clothing is too much of a hack, ingenious company, @we_are_thrift, do all of the admin for you. They will send you a massive brown bag so you can fill it up with your clothing to be uploaded, posted, sold and even donate some of your earnings to charity for you! If your clothes are looking like they are at the end of their life, donate them to clothes recycling organisations like Love Your Clothes to be upcycled and refashioned. By not throwing away your clothes, you are helping create a circular economy. Anything to stop your clothes ending up in landfills (little sidetone to encourage you: In the UK, 9513 garments are dumped every 5 minutes). Because of that, we cannot press this issue enough: donate, resell, donate, resell…
7. Learn How To Sew
It is such a waste to throw clothes out simply because there is a small tear in it. Many broken clothes are easy to fix. If you do not have a sewing machine, just needle and threat will often do the job. Are you a bit of a creative type? Try sewing or upcycling your clothes. It will hold so much more value knowing you picked out your own fabrics, made your own pattern, and put in the time and hard work.
Do you know what we think the ideal closet looks like? A few quality, sustainable pieces. A few vintage or secondhand purchases. And if you want to stay up to date with the latest trends, that is when you rent clothes. Use them to spice up your wardrobe a little. Like that OTT jacket to your bottomless brunch in the winter. Or a fab dress to wear for your birthday. Use them to be able to put some real statement pieces into your closet. And the best place to rent clothes? Rotaro, of course ;-) Click here and let us know which pieces you think would spice up your closet best.
Written by: Danique van Leeuwenstijn
Cover Image by: Linn Eklund