Three tips for building a more sustainable wardrobe

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November 2019 News


When it comes to fast fashion and shopping sustainably, we are more switched on than ever before. That’s according to a recent industry report, which found 50% of us prefer to buy from retailers who are trying to reduce their impact on the environment.

However, sustainable fashion is more than just buying from eco-friendly brands. It also involves looking inside your own wardrobe and making the most of what you already have. So how can we reduce the environmental impact of our clothes? And is it possible to look stylish without buying new clothes every season?

Renowned fashion journalist and author Tamsin Blanchard and Cara Smyth of the Fair Fashion Centre came together to discuss the state of the global garment industry, and shared their top tips for building a more conscious wardrobe.

Tip 1: Fall back in love with your old clothes

Looking inside your own wardrobe is a great place to start. It’s easy to create a whole new look just by making a few small changes, whether it be wearing different accessories or altering the hem of your clothes.

Cara and Tamsin say a bit of DIY work can do wonders to transform the existing items in your wardrobe, without having to buy anything new: “If you try and repair your clothing – rather than just discarding it and buying something new – you actually have more love for that piece.”

It’s also a great life skill to pick up – how many people can say they know how to repair a zip, or sew on a button these days? That’s why we’ve created three helpful guides to help you love and care for the clothes already in your closet.

Tip 2: Rethink your relationship with new clothes

Fashion is often all about the brand new and the right now, but keeping up with the trends also produces a lot of waste. Tamsin argues that there needs to be a shift in the way we think about our clothes: “Every purchase that we buy, we have to appreciate that these are precious resources.”

Before you make an impulsive buy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Will I wear this 30 times?”
  • “Do I like it just because it’s cheap?”
  • “How will I dispose of it?”
  • “Can I recycle it?”

One of the best solutions is to create a capsule wardrobe with a small number of timeless and versatile pieces. This way, you know that the clothes you’re buying will be worn time and time again, and you’ll look effortless to boot!

Tip 3: Make the most of second-hand shops and resale platforms

Second-hand shops have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. They are a great place to find hidden gems, vintage designer pieces, and one-of-a-kind items that put a unique spin on your personal style.

Tamsin and Cara love the thrill of hunting for second-hand clothing, as well as using resale platforms like Depop where fashion lovers swap and share the pieces they love: “I’m really excited about platforms like Depop at the moment, which is really disrupting the High Street and the way that people are shopping.”

While it is great to know that you don’t always have to hit the high street for a new outfit, it’s important to keep in mind the questions mentioned earlier. Ultimately, building a sustainable wardrobe is about reducing the cost per wear, buying less, and taking better care of the pieces we own.

To find out more about Tamsin and Cara’s insights, listen to the full episode here, or search for ‘Sunday School by Harvey Nichols’ on your preferred streaming platform.