Winter is officially upon us and for most people, a new season calls for a wardrobe upgrade. When it comes to sustainable and eco-friendly living, we rarely talk about how consuming fast fashion impacts the environment. Throwing forward to World Environment Day taking place tomorrow, this is an opportunity for us conscientize ourselves about the sustainable fashion movement and take practical steps to building a more fashion conscious wardrobe. 

Jessica Ramoshaba is a Fashion Stylist and Founder of Sustainable Fashion Magazine, Fouura, and she highlights the importance of being eco-conscious and making positive changes to helping with alleviation of fashion pollution. “Days such as World Environment Day are essential in bringing about awareness towards looking after our planet. Keeping that in mind, this links to fashion pollution because of a several global issues we are facing, for example, materials in a form of clothing, landing up in landfills and as a result, harming the environment as they disintegrate because they are made of synthetic fibres instead of natural fibres,” she explains.

In simple terms, sustainable fashion is concerned with four different categories, 

  • how fashion is made, 
  • how kind it is to the environment, 
  • how workers in the industry are treated (for example, working conditions of factory workers), 
  • how consumers dispose their clothing.

Ramoshaba shares four practical ways we can re-evaluate our wardrobes in order to build a more eco-conscious closet;

  1. Buy less. 

With the global population set to reach nine billion people by 2030, it has been reported that nature will struggle to meet human demands like never before if we continue to excessively consume fast fashion. We contribute towards fashion pollution by not wearing our clothing longer and discarding them too quickly. Buy quality and wear your clothes for longer. The intention is to get as many wears as you can from a particular garment. 

  1. Search for eco brands that make clothes out of natural or recycled fibers

The fashion industry is slowly making changes in ensuring they keep the environment clean through eco-friendly fashion products, and ensuring that fashion is disposed accordingly. However, the changes won’t adequately happen overnight, we too need to do our part in prioritising eco-friendly fashion products. Consider supporting brands that use recycled material. Home grown brands such as Lara Klawikowski are perfect examples of how you can make fashion exciting made out of recycled material. 

  1. Upscale your garments 

Consider doing clothing swaps with family or friends. Upcycling garments before you give them away gives clothing a second life. Selling and buying your garments to a second-hand shop is a great alternative way to upscale. Make sure they are in a good condition first before going this route. Personally, I would start with giving family and friends or anyone who is mostly likely to appreciate the garments, that is always a win. When all else fails, you can donate to a charity shop or consignment store. 

  1. Stop putting clothes off for a special occasions or when you’ve reached your ideal weight.

“Dress for your current self”. Avoid keeping too many clothes on standby for special occasions that only come once a year. In most cases that’s what influences overconsumption. Pick more versatile items and pair them in different ways instead of items you know will soon be outdated. Invest in trans-seasonal clothing.

Actress and Activist Emma Watson once said, “as consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful with what we buy”. What wardrobe adjustments will you consider making? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.