Have you ever wondered where to start with ethical fashion and embracing a waste-free lifestyle? If you’re unsure about where to start with supporting conscious fashion, these are the most basic steps that you can take on board right now. I believe that ethical fashion starts before you even enter a store, here’s why…
Prevent Textile Waste
Ethical fashion is something we hear so much about, yet unless you’ve actively taken an interest in this topic, its true meaning might not be completely clear to you. Ethical fashion might refer to fashion that doesn’t involve cruelty to animals or the use of fibres obtained from animals skins. It might also refer to clothing that has been produced from eco-friendly materials that cause less pollution, are less harmful and are therefore better for the environment. For me, ethical fashion is a mixture of all of the above. Still, I believe that conscious fashion can and should start way before you even pick up an item of clothing in a store. While it’s all good and well knowing your faux from your fur, it’s equally important to buy items that you want and will actually wear. Textile waste is a big problem, which is why I feel that the easiest and simplest way to start supporting ethical fashion right now is to prevent clothing waste! Find out what colours suit your skin tone here and how to choose the right clothing for your body shape.
Textile Waste is Still Waste
We’re taught not to waste food or money and so many other vital resources in life, but what about clothing? Don’t be fooled by the label “ethical”. If you’re wasting your ethical fashion items by throwing them away and not making use of them – then it is still waste! The fashion industry is notorious for causing huge amounts of textile waste each and every year. While on the one hand you have the large, high-end designer brands burning stock they don’t sell in order to maintain their illusion of being unattainable, the average individual can be just as responsible for producing unnecessary waste. This is partly to do with discount fashion stores selling clothing at incredible low prices, combined with customers not knowing or understanding what they really want or need from their wardrobes. Before you go anywhere near a shop, think carefully about the colours that suit you, the kinds of clothing and styles you enjoy wearing and the types of activities you undertake on a day to day basis. You might love stiletto heels but if your 9 til 5 involves working as a P.E. teacher, heels are not a shoe type you’ll want to prioritise on your shopping list. It’s important to enter fashion stores with an open mind and remember that not every item in the store will suit you. Buy items that you love, will wear and that suit you. If an item you are thinking of buying requires a complete physical transformation before wearing it, it’s simply not for you!
The Capsule Wardrobe
Could you minimise your wardrobe to just 30 items of clothing in 2-3 fuss-free colours? Contrary to the kind of style lessons a certain Ms. Bradshaw would have us follow, the capsule wardrobe serves as a great foundation for encouraging waste-free fashion! The capsule wardrobe concept is a modern term used to describe a small, fully functional wardrobe of clothes built around a certain theme. The traditional capsule wardrobe is a simple collection of stylish yet practical items to suit typical daily life. The colour palette mainly consists of black and white items because these two shades suit the majority of people. If you have a love/hate relationship with shopping and would just like to have a neat and streamlined wardrobe full of items that you can mix and match effortlessly then the classic capsule wardrobe is perfect for you! Alternatively, you may choose to create a capsule wardrobe for work wear, travel or for each season. Capsule wardrobes are designed to serve a purpose, meaning that there’s no room for useless items that you’ll never wear.
Learn How to Revamp What You Already Own
I’m a professional full-time fashion stylist and blogger and last year I took on the ultimate challenge. I pledged to quit shopping for fashion for a whole year to see how easy it would be to learn how to upcycle what I already owned. Initially it was tough, but as time went on it actually became fun and I even learned simple knitting, darning, sewing and embroidery skills. Learning these handy techniques enabled me to repair and revive old and basic clothing items, giving them a new lease of life. It was during this year-long challenge that I really began to notice how easy it can be to replica trending fashion items at home. For example, I saw how plain t-shirts would cost X amount but if there was some kind of minor sequin detail or similar, the price would be significantly higher. I didn’t stop going into shops throughout the duration of the challenge because it would have negatively impacted my social life. Instead, I used these trips to carry out research, i.e. to seek inspiration for simple but stylish sewing projects to revamp similar items I owned already. So next time you’re tempted to buy yet another white vest top just because of its fancy detail, consider how you could instead improve one of your existing vest tops at home. There are so many ways in which you can improve the items you already own and it’s an excellent way to get creative and fall in love with fashion all over again!