Small steps to making sustainable fashion choices
Many of us are incorporating sustainable swaps into our lifestyle and together we’re playing our part to help combat climate change.
We’re taking our own cups to coffee shops, buying reusable food wrap and being more conscious about eating less but better meat.
But have you thought about how sustainable your wardrobe is?
What’s the problem with cotton?
Around half of what we wear in the UK is made from cotton. Worldwide, 2.5% of all cultivated land is used just to grow cotton, and 16% of all insecticides sold are used on this one crop.
1kg of cotton takes between 10,000 - 20,000 litres to produce, making it one of the world's thirstiest crops. Cotton is grown in some of the most water-scarce countries on earth. In the face of a changing climate, water scarcity is considered amongst the top ten risks to society over the next 10 years.
But not all cotton is the same
Organic cotton works with rather than against nature. By using natural techniques, organic farmers are saving precious water, combatting climate change, feeding families and eliminating GMOs and toxic hazardous pesticides.
You can read all the benefits of organic cotton here.
The impacts of cotton and other textiles don’t stop at the farm – what happens in the factories is important too. For example, 20% of global water pollution results from the dyeing and finishing of textiles.
But textiles certified to GOTS (the Global Organic Textile Standard) not only contain organically grown fibres, they are made in factories where working conditions are safe and fair, and only low-impact dyes and inks are allowed. This means that chemicals responsible for causing cancer, birth defects and other serious illnesses are banned.
Read on for our top tips on making the sustainable choice when it comes to clothing…
1. Look for the logo
As well as saving water, organic cotton uses natural techniques that combat climate change, help farmers feed their families and eliminate toxic pesticides.
By buying clothing and other products made with organic cotton you’re protecting both people and the planet.
To be sure that your clothing is organic look for the Soil Association organic or the Global Organic Textiles Standard logos.
We’ve also put together a handy list of certified organic brands here.
2. Look after your clothes
There’s been a big shift in our clothes shopping habits, and lots of us are saying “no” to fast fashion. But we can buy even less by taking good care and looking after our existing clothes.
That means always reading the label and making sure you’re washing your clothes the right way. And that might mean you have to make a couple more trips to the dry cleaners.
It also means getting back to basics and learning how to sew and mend your clothes. There are lots of tutorials online, or perhaps a relative can give you some pointers?
3. Organise a clothes swap
Clothes swaps are a fun and sociable way to acquire new pieces for your wardrobe and pass on some of your pre-loved items to family and friends who will get more wear out of them than you are.
4. Don't forget charity shops and second hand retailers
Another way of getting your hands on some gorgeous pre-loved items is by checking out your local charity shops. There are so many hidden gems to be found, often still in perfect condition. Plus, you’ll be benefiting charity with every purchase you make.
There are also a number of online second-hand retail platforms (including eBay), as well as an increasing number of second-hand and vintage shops offering preloved goods at a fraction of their original prices.
5. Buy less but better
Around a third of the clothes in the average Brit’s wardrobe haven’t been worn in the past year. As a nation, we’re buying more and wearing it less. We can make a difference by reversing this trend.
Sometimes organic cotton can cost a little bit more, but if we buy less but better, given all the benefits for people and the planet we think it’s well worth it.
Embrace the capsule wardrobe and get creative with mixing and matching what you already own to create new looks. On Instagram, check out #iworeitagain for inspiration on changing up your outfits. The most sustainable item of clothing you own is already in your wardrobe.
6. Tell brands you want more organic choices
Join us in shouting about the benefits of organic cotton and tell brands and retailers that you want them to go organic!
If brands know that organic is important to you they’ll reconsider how they source their cotton and other textiles.
Use our post to tag your favourite brand or shop and ask them to go #OrganicForThePlanet
You can also browse tons of organic brands who are already certified here.