This photograph comprises discarded Christmas jumpers and pyjamas, Christmas outfits and fast fashion piling up in the Atacama Desert in Chile. We are subjecting other parts of the planet to the leftovers of our excess consumption in the western world.
Our waste is often exported. Disposed garments are littering our planet. One quarter of the Christmas Jumpers bought are already in landfill or have been disposed of by New Year.
If everyone wore an existing outfit on Christmas day, that's the equivalent of taking 56 million cars off the road.
Saying no to a new Christmas jumper, Christmas pyjamas and a new Christmas day outfit are the first steps to a sustainable Christmas.
What else can you do?
1 Education is Key
Understand which styles suit you best. You are unique both inside and out and deserve to feel amazing in your clothes every day. Whether you are choosing smart or casual clothes, there are styles, features and colours which will express and flatter you most. Once you have that knowledge, you will make less shopping mistakes and will have a wardrobe that works hard for you.
2 Shop in your own Wardrobe
The most sustainable clothes are the ones you already own. Given that for the past two years, parties and socialising have taken a back seat, there are likely to be lots of occasion clothes in your wardrobe which haven’t seen the light of day for a while. Shop in your wardrobe, find clothes that you may have forgotten about and choose those first.
Can you repurpose a garment you already own?
Playing dress-up in your wardrobe will unveil new outfits that you hadn’t considered before. It’s worth taking the time. Take one shirt dress, put a jumper under it or over it; add a blazer, a leather jacket; tights and long boots; tights and short boots; change the belt;
Take one satin skirt; add a cosy cable knit jumper; tights and boots; maybe a fine knit jumper and blazer. Add a sparkly blazer to give a festive vibe. There are multiple ways you can wear many of the garments you already own.
3 Buy pre-loved, second hand, used
There are lots of ways to describe buying clothes that have been in someone else’s wardrobe. Many pre-loved clothes have never been worn and have the labels still on them. Others may have been worn once or twice before being discarded to the charity shop or the pre-loved site. When you understand which clothes work for you, shopping these sites is as easy as shopping new; is better for your pocket and for the planet. Look on Thriftify, Depop, Vestiaire, Vinted to name a few. You can filter the clothes by colour, size, style etc. You can also sell your unworn and unused clothes so keep the circular economy alive.
Looking for something for an occasion? Think about renting your garment. You won’t have to worry about a high spend output for something you might wear only once. And you can send it back. There are plenty options now to rent – men who rented tuxedos have been doing this for years. You can also rent out your own clothes – and get the value from your purchases.
Despite all the advertising, marketing and influencer messaging we are bombarded with daily you have permission to wear your clothes on repeat. In fact, it’s become ‘trendy’, ‘hip’, ‘fashionable’ to see a return on your investment by wearing your clothes until they fall apart. The culture of see, want, buy is fast disappearing. Join the slow considered fashion revolution instead.