Buying clothes that will last
The best way to own clothes that last longer is to have information about different materials and fabrics. Although long-lasting clothing is usually more expensive, you can always shop in second hand stores such as Thriftify where you can find many fashionable pieces at a low price.
Caring for your clothes is also very important. You should always read labels with laundry symbols to know how to wash your clothes. If you follow the instructions your clothes will last longer and thus you will improve the longevity of your wardrobe.
Tips on how to shop for clothes that will last longer:
- Avoid trends (you should always reconsider if you like it long-term and not only for a few weeks)
- Use your hands (the structure of clothes should be pleasant to touch and overall, the clothes should be heavier)
- Read labels (try to find the best material that last longer)
- Examine the stitching (by doing so, you can avoid ruined clothes)
- Skip buying new (shopping at second hand stores and charity/thrift shops)
Avoiding ‘fast’ fashion
Fast-fashion is one of the industries that produces the biggest amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Many famous clothing brands sell low-prices items at high volumes and therefore contribute to the fast-fashion industry as well. According to study mentioned in The New York Times, fast-fashion clothing is constructed to be wearable for maximum of 10 times. Major players in the fast-fashion market include famous brands like Nike, Adidas, H&M, Zara, GAP, Primark, Forever 21 or Fashion Nova with many different collections every few weeks. By supporting these or similar brands we are also considered contributors to the greenhouse gasses emissions and thus we should reduce and avoid shopping in stores without the mark of sustainability.
www.treehugger.com : “The average world citizen consumes 25 pounds of clothing a year, which produces the same amount of emissions as driving a car 1,500 miles.”
Benefits and drawbacks of buying vintage clothing:
- You can find special pieces that are not produced anymore
- Prices are often lower
- Vintage clothes are often more durable
- It is environmentally friendly
- Sizing options are limited
- Clothing can be damaged, and you cannot replace it
- Time-consuming shopping
- Usually, you cannot return the clothes
For recycled material we can consider recycled polyester fabric which is made from plastic bottles that are collected by recycling. It is a more sustainable option than ordinary polyester because it is saving much more energy and water – reducing emissions. The only issue with recycled polyester is releasing microplastics during washing.
Organic cotton is even more sustainable alternative to conventional cotton. It is grown without harmful pesticides and dangerous chemicals that normal cotton uses. Its recycled form is the most sustainable because it uses less water and energy to produce than in production of conventional and organic cotton.
Bamboo material is considered environmentally friendly and sustainable because the plant grows quickly and is biodegradable. Even though bamboo is a natural fibre with many benefits to environment, its production includes chemical processes with a great amount of water wasting.
Hemp has perfect durability and therefore it is used in production of clothing, ropes, and boat sails. It has a natural UV protection, and it is environmentally friendly. Just like Organic cotton, hemp is also produced without added chemicals. In the conclusion we can say that hemp is more sustainable and better for environment that bamboo.
Avoiding synthetic materials
Synthetic fabrics are made from plastics, coal, oil products, don’t biodegrade and are usually made with many chemicals and toxins. That is the reason why synthetic fabrics are toxic to human body and can negatively affect your health and the environment.
Some of the synthetic materials common in clothing:
- Polyester – very high level of toxins, it is made from dihydric alcohol and terephthalic acid
- Acrylic – it contains carcinogens which means it may cause cancer
- Rayon (Viscose) – recycled wood pulp that has to be treated with chemicals to survive regular washing and wearing
- Acetate and Triacetate – made from cellulose (wood fibre) and chemicals
- Nylon – made from petroleum
Another reason to avoid synthetic fabrics is that they are bacteria catchers. The result is your body odor which is mixture of sweat and bacteria in the armpits. With natural fibres, the bacteria are not developing as much.
Swapping and recycling old clothes
Swapping is a type of meet where people exchange their valued but no longer used clothing for other clothing. It is a great way to change your wardrobe without paying any money. Nowadays it is becoming more and more popular among people. It reduces the clothing waste at landfills and thus help the environment.
Ways you can recycle clothes:
- If the clothes are wearable, you can donate it
- You can drop them off at animal shelters (blankets, towels, rugs)
- Natural fabrics can be compostable
- There are many recycling programmes you can join
- You can upcycle your old clothes into new fashions: https://www.minimalismmadesimple.com/home/recycle-old-clothes-into-something-new/
- You can arrange garage sale or a swap party
About the Author
Sarah Gáliková is a Slovak girl with a passion for writing interesting articles and photography. She studied Economics and business, however her true affection is the english language. Sarah’s free time mostly consists of nature, great books, and a camera.