Sustainability in Fashion, Part 2: Five ways to be more sustainable in 2016
1. Buy less, buy better
The disposable fashion industry and mindset is really the biggest threat to Earth's resources. We need to go back to the time when what we bought was meant to last us for many years and seasons; and when every item in a wardrobe was well worn and loved. The next time you shop, ask yourself if your purchase is of good quality. Will it survive 30 washes, wears or more? Does it give you a lot more outfit options when paired with your existing wardrobe or do you actually already have something just like it? Questions like this ensure that our clothes and accessories don't end up hidden in the far recesses of our wardrobe or worse, in a landfill taking years to break down.
2. Shop from conscious brands
It's often hard to know what the journey of a product is before it makes its way to us. The lack of transparency is part of the problem with the industry, so when possible we should always opt to buy from conscious and ethical brands. Knowing the provenance of our clothes makes us more actively involved in the conversation and when these brands do well, more companies will be motivated to become more accountable. Some brands who have made sustainability a big part of their brand DNA are labels like Stella Mccartney, Reformation, Nudie Jeans and the H&M Concious Collection.
3. Shop vintage or pre-loved
An easy way to contribute to less sartorial waste is to shop vintage and pre-loved items. Why stick to just current season collections when you can canvas the best of the last seven decades? There has been an advent of websites focused on sourcing and curating the best of pre-loved items from around the world and are just a click away. For vintage shopping in Singapore, check out The Fifth Collection, Style Tribute and Granny's Day Out to name a few.
4. Why buy when you can borrow?
We sometimes have special events to attend and don't have anything appropriate to wear. Rather than splashing out on something you will probably only wear once or at best a few times in your life, why not just borrow something fabulous for the day? Online sites such as Rent A Dress, Rent The Label and RMBRTheDress offer a wide selection of designer labels and styles to suit every occasion at a reasonable price tag.
5. Upcycle your existing wardrobe
We already have many purchases that are sitting in our wardrobe waiting to be worn. Some possibly untouched in years because they no longer fit, are out of style, or we have simply forgotten we have them. Do a closet clear up and pull out all the items that can be resurrected with some simple alteration. Alternatively, give them a second lease of life by handing it over to someone you know will treasure it. We promise that there is nothing as satisfying as decluttering. And it's one step closer to discovering new outfit options without having to purchase anything new.
If you'd like to get more hands on and upcycle your clothes yourself, join the Restyle Your Wardrobe workshop taught by Agatha Lee where she will show you how to DIY existing garments to transform them into something new. The workshop will be on 27 March 2016, at 10.30am to 5pm at National Design Centre. For more details, click here.