Ten Simple Ways to Transition to a more Ethical and Sustainable Wardrobe

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Last night, as part of Fashion This, we screened the film The True Cost . The film explores the environmental toll and human rights violations surrounding the fast fashion industry. Afterwards, a question was asked about ways to transition to a more ethical and eco-friendly wardrobe.  

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Buy used clothing.  There are many great resources for used clothing–yard sales, consignment shops, thrift stores, and online consignment and swap sites like ThredUp and Poshmark
  2. Buy quality garments that will last many years. Uncertain about how to assess quality?  Inspect your clothing items that have lasted many years.  Study the feel and drape of the fabric, inspect the seams and overall construction of the garments.  Compare this to a garment you recently purchased that quickly stretched or ripped.
  3. Care for your clothes.  Read care instructions on labels.  Put delicate items in mesh garment bags before tossing them in the wash.  Line dry clothes whenever possible.  Learn and use basic mending skills.  Store clothes with care.
  4. Shop like my grandmothers did.  They both had lovely wardrobes and chose clothes based on their personal styles rather than the latest trends.  They also purchased well-made clothes that would last many years.
  5. Host a clothing swap.
  6. Create a capsule wardrobe.  Check out Project 333 for inspiration.  A traditional capsule wardrobe is one that lasts for years, not just a season.  Build a capsule wardrobe slowly, with classic pieces that won’t go out of style.  If you crave new clothes each season try building a capsule wardrobe from thrifted clothes.
  7. Buy fair trade clothing and garments made from organic fabric.
  8. Clean out your closet regularly.  Knowing what you have and what you need can curb the urge to make impulse purchases.
  9. Support artists and small creative businesses that produce one of a kind garments.  Shop Etsy, art fairs and small, local businesses.
  10. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Make a few manageable, sustainable changes. Build on that over time.

Meantime, check out the remaining Fashion This exhibitions and events!

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