After my recent purchase of Fashion Revoution’s book, Loved Clothes Last (a great read), I learnt that on average we wear our clothes around four times – pretty awful don’t you think? Our throw-away culture, that has become more apparent with the rise of online shopping and social media, really is detrimental to our planet. Which is why we created our mantra, “wear me, love me, mend me, pass me on”. It’s a reminder to shop carefully and look after what we own. Even making the smallest change to your shopping habits can make such a difference. So here’s my conscious clothing shopping guide, which includes some top tips to consider when you shop – in the sales and generally.
Greenpeace estimates that 20% of clothing isn’t worn once! So when you’re shopping, try and consider the different ways you can style and wear the pieces you’re browsing. On which occasions would you wear it? Is it versatile? Can you dress it up and down? Can you wear it through different seasons? Will you wear it more than 30 times?
Clothes worth wearing are worth repairing. Here at Thought we have our own mantra, ‘wear me, love me, mend me, pass me on’. It reminds us to look after the clothes we love to wear. So, your favourite jeans have ripped? Don’t throw them out, make a statement by sewing on a patch. Or just keep things simple with a hidden stitch. The button has fallen off your vintage jacket? It’s so simple to sew it back on again. If you care for the clothes you adore, they’ll last much longer.
Consider this; 25% of the carbon footprint of our clothing comes from how we care for them. But caring for your clothes doesn’t just mean mending them. It means looking after them from day one. Simple things like washing less, storing correctly, avoiding dry cleaning, treating delicates gently and washing at 30 degrees (or less) all help towards making your clothing last longer.
Do you know how long it takes synthetic fabrics like polyester to decompose in landfill? 200 years. Shocking right? But it’s not just about how biodegradable our clothes are. Different fabrics have different effects on our bodies too. For example, organic cotton avoids the use of harmful pesticides and fertilisers, (unlike conventional cotton) and is therefore much kinder on your skin, causing fewer allergies or irritations. But synthetic fibres like polyester aren’t absorbent and therefore don’t let your skin breathe, often feeling clammy or uncomfortable. It’s also good to think about how easy fabrics are to care for. For example, hemp is a durable fibre that softens over time, making it easy to wash. These are all things that I think about before making any purchase – knowing your fabrics can really come in handy and can tell you so much about a garment.
Even if it means spending a little more, buying quality over quantity is always worth it. Better quality clothing is better made and more durable, meaning it’ll last longer. It’s likely that it will fit better too. Plus, buying quality over quantity means that you will actually save money in the long run. Here at Thought, we are proud supporters of slow fashion, which is why we design clothing intended to last. We hope that our contemporary, easy-to-wear pieces will become your favourites.
So next time you head to the shops, whether it be during sale season or some other time, make sure you buy less and choose well!
What did you think of Hannah’s conscious clothing shopping guide? We’d love to hear your tips too. Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @thoughtclothing.
You might also love reading Clare’s post on shopping with thought.