You don’t need to spend more than 5 minutes on Google trying to find our how our high-street clothes are made to be horrified by what you can find... The demand from high-street retailers for new stock is always so high that the factories from India, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia etc enforce extremely demanding targets for its workers leading to long working hours, shocking working conditions, and worst of all, child labour. And the ecological ecological impact and especially carbon footprint of the sector is a huge cause of concern.
According to Fashion Revolution, 'the fast fashion industry (referring to fast-turnover high street retailers) generates 100 billion garments per year and is one of the most polluting industries in the world, after oil. This is because retailers restock collections every 4-6 weeks, pressuring us to buy more and think less, leaving a huge amount of unwanted clothing to discarded at landfill (that’s 16 million tonnes a year in the US alone) – the majority of which can actually be recycled. Pretty crazy.'
Here are some easy tips to be more eco-friendly when it comes to fashion:
- Buy less but better quality.
- Look after your clothes so they last longer. Here’s a handy guide on how to do this: https://goodonyou.eco/the-ultimate-guide-to-making-your-clothes-last-longer/.
- Avoid the tumble dryer! It is not only better for your clothes if you air dry, but also for the environment.
- Sell your unwanted clothes on Etsy, Depop, or eBay (not a reason to buy more clothes though).
- Donate your unwanted clothes to a local charity (again, not a reason to buy more clothes).
- Check the labels; this is something I usually preach for foods labelling, but the clothes labels are so important too as items that are made 100% of one material are much easier to recycle once you're finished with them, as most recycling facilities are unable to recycle blended fibres - which means they generally end up in landfill when they are no longer loved. So where you can, choose 100%.
- Repair your clothes and accessories – or, even easier, pay a professional to do it.
I highly recommend watching The True Cost movie (you can find it on Netflix), it's a ind blowing documentary about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world.