We make 400 billion square meters of textiles every single year. 60 billion square meters of that ends up as waste on the cutting room floor, heading straight into landfill. Sometimes it seems like these numbers are too big, and as one person, it feels impossible to have a measurable impact, but as a globe, we've created these numbers, therefore, we can change them.
While shopping ethically is easy, shopping sustainably requires a little more thought and sometimes a little more time, but it's something worth slowing down for. Instead of buying that $10 shirt just because it’s $10, buy a locally made or Fair Trade shirt that costs a little more because it's made well with better fabrics. Instead of buying those $20 jeans with the knees cut out because it's trending, go home and DIY a pair of ripped jeans from one of the five pairs of regular jeans you already own. Instead of buying something new every time you have an event to go to, get creative with your wardrobe and learn how to alter or sew.
I went to a wedding on the weekend and dusted off a jumpsuit that I‘ve owned for six years. Would I have loved to go out and splurge on a new lacey Spring dress and sparkly new shoes for the wedding? Sure. Do I have the money or space in my wardrobe or the desire to contribute to an already-absurd problem? Hell no. I just took up the hem of the jumpsuit, altered it a little, layered some jewellery and off I went.
If we work with what we already own and reduce the amount of fashion we buy brand new, we can dramatically reduce the environmental impact of the world's second most polluting industry. As a society, we've created this textile mess, literally, and the industry needs cleaning up, desperately.
Next time you have somewhere important to go, wear something you already own. Not even I can truthfully say, 'I have nothing to wear!'
The Fashion Advocate x