Globally, more than 92 million tonnes of fabric is thrown away each year, according to the BBC – the equivalent to one refuse truck full of clothing every single second. This number is expected to rise unless we do something about it. The rise of fast fashion, quickly changing trends, and a society driven by consumption has resulted in this situation, and it doesn’t show any signs of abating soon.
So, what can we do as fashion followers to help alleviate the situation? There are various ways you can make your style more sustainable through upcycling, repairing, and thrifting.
Upcycling isn’t just something that is done with furniture. You can also upcycle items of clothing such as jeans, shoes, jackets, and t-shirts. The application of a patch or embroidery can breathe new life into a previously drab garment. Alternatively, you can create rips in jeans or add embellishments with fabric paint such as Fabricoat or Castle Arts. Another popular way of giving old clothing a new lease of life is by applying rhinestones or studs using a special superglue that is designed to work on fabrics.
There isn’t much you cannot do with a needle and thread, some fabric glue, and a lot of imagination. Instead of throwing away worn, boring, or out of favor items, give them another chance through customization!
If you rip, tear, or break a favorite item, it can be tempting to just throw it away. But do you really need to? In many cases, with a bit of creativity and the right tools, you can fix it or adapt it into something else. Take shoes, for example. If the sole is coming loose, all you need is some special superglue, ones from Loctite Consumer are handy for this as they also have a guide on shoe repair, which will help you seal it back down for good. You can also fix frayed leather belts and bags, leather jackets, and items where applique is peeling off. Don’t bin it, think proactively, and always keep a tube of glue handy to save the day. You’ll find you save yourself a lot of money by fixing items instead of depositing them into the bin.
Buying clothing second-hand is a great way to enjoy sustainable fashion, per Geeky Posh. Firstly, you reduce the demand for new items, and secondly, you stop clothing from ending up in landfills. Furthermore, when you shop second-hand in thrift stores or similar, you can pick up one-of-a-kind pieces, and interesting garments that will set you apart from everyone else. Trends cycle around so quickly these days, you can often get up-to-date items including big brand names as well!
Lastly, the experience of hunting for bargain clothing is exciting and enjoyable, maybe more so than shopping in a regular store! With sites like Depop and Etsy thriving, it can also be a valid business opportunity as the demand for vintage and second-hand fashion increases, as reported by The Guardian.
Much of the issues around ‘fast fashion’ can be solved if we as consumers are a bit more conscientious. By changing our attitude and being more practical, we can reduce the amount of textile waste we create, while lengthening the lives of our clothing. All of this can be achieved while still looking fashionable and enjoying our clothing!