From renting clothes to ditching the tumble drier, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the environmental price tag of your wardrobe
1 June 2022
If your wardrobe contains items of clothing you bought on the high street for relatively low cost, you are a participant in the fast-fashion industry. But don’t feel too guilty. Everybody needs clothes and dressing sustainably can be complicated. With a little know-how, however, there are things we can all do to look good without the environmental price tag.
The first step is to think long term, says Kirsi Niinimäki at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland: “Short use-time of garments is really harmful for the environment.”
She suggests you start by liking what you have. Go through your wardrobe and dig out any long forgotten garments that you can start to use again.
If you want a change of look, or need a particular item, consider using flea markets, buying second-hand or holding clothes swapping events with friends. Apps and websites that allow you to lease clothes from others, and get more use out of your own pre-loved items by renting them out, are increasingly common. Some fashion labels are also working with the makers of the apps, so you can rent clothes directly from them, with the quality control that comes with it.
Shopping for new clothes requires a shift of mindset away from the budget-friendly lure of fast fashion. “If buying something new, see garments as an investment,” says Niinimäki. “Think about the quality and if the style is something …