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Lifestyle

How to start dressing sustainably

By PolaRLA 28 Mar 2021

The idea to live an environmentally friendly life isn't new. Many (if not most) of us try to abide by the rules such as not wasting food, recycling, using less plastic, etc. When we do that, we might quickly realise that it saves us quite a bit of money - and we all know how important it is when you're just a poor student!
But what about a different aspect of being eco friendly? What about our clothes?

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world. Creating only one pair of jeans uses up almost 4 litres of water and over 30 kilograms of CO2 is emitted in the process - all of that from the moment the cotton is produced to when your trousers get to the shop. And I didn't even mention all the human labour that needs to be put in the production of something that will cost you £10-£30 and will tear up within a year. I'm not going to write about all the awful things that the clothing industry does to us - you can read about it yourself, for example here: Worldbank.org.

So if reading all this made you want to cry and despair over the future of the Earth and humankind, don't worry - I've got some tips for you for how to be more sustainable with your clothing!

a jumper with the sign 'recycle clothes' on it

  1. Check if the shop is ethical.
    There are many ratings online that show you how good specific shops are for the planet, people, and animals. The one I use is 'Good on You'. The site provides thorough reviews of any store you can think of (or at least any store I can think of, I'm not very good at fashion). Knowing what effect each store has on an environment, you can consciously decide which ones you want to support!
  2. Buy second-hand clothing.
    It's cheaper and it's recycled. Need I say more?
  3. Fix broken clothes.
    If you ripped your jeans or found a hole in your t-shirt, you don't have to throw them away just yet! Get yourself a sewing kit and start fixing your clothes. And if the hole is too big or you just don't want to fix it, you can still use the material for creating something completely new - there are loads of tutorials for how to do it on YouTube! And how amazingly unique such clothing would be, right?
    (Psssst, the RLAs do Sewing events on Zoom as well. Just saying.)
  4. Donate or sell clothes you no longer need.
    There are many charities that accept unwanted clothing, why don't we all help them out? Or if you'd rather get some sweet money for those shoes that are too small but you still have them cause they were cute (and expensive) - sell them! Gumtree, eBay, Facebook Market, Facebook groups... It's all out there waiting for you!
  5. Buy only what you need.
    I'm guilty of not adhering to this one. If you're like me and you also have a wardrobe full of clothes you've never worn, then it might be a good moment to rethink your shopping habits. I know getting that new skirt will make you happy and will let you forget for a second about all your deadlines, but do you really need it? Or, as Marie Kondo would say it, will it actually spark joy in you?

There are many more steps we can all take, but these five are definitely a good start. Let me then finish this article with one final cliché: let's all be the change we want to see in the world.

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