A while back we set up a blog swap with Anna at the simply delicious sustainable fashion brand RAILOclothing. We went first, with a post for RAILOclothing on why reclaimed fabrics are a must for the style-conscious fashionista.
And now, we are delighted to share with you Anna’s post for us – take it away Anna!
7 CLOTHING TIPS THAT WILL SAVE YOUR MONEY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Hi guys and gals! I’m Anna and I run my own small business of sustainable fashion, called RAILOclothing. I design and sew clothing and accessories and I only use sustainable materials; leftover pieces of fabric, vintage curtains, thrifted garments – pretty much anything I can find that is usable. I save all the buttons, zippers and cuffs when I take apart an old piece of clothing to create something new and fashionable again.
This way I try to make sure I’m producing as little waste as possible both in my business and in my personal life as well. I even have a compost in the backyard so nothing goes to waste in this household!
I live in Finland where we have a pretty good recycling system for all kinds of waste. Starting 2016 it’s mandatory to recycle textile waste as well. Although it sounds like a really good thing, there are still some issues. For example there are no separate bins for recycling textiles. Consumers (unless they are very conscious recyclers) would still throw their old clothes into the garbage bags and they would only be sorted at the waste disposal facilities. It would be a better idea to donate clothes for charity or sell them at a secondhand market instead.
In the UK 350,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill every year. ”If we changed the way the UK supplies, uses and disposes of clothing, we could reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of clothing consumption by 10-20% each. This could cut around £3billion per year from the cost of the resources we use to make and clean clothes.”(WRAP)
Wow! That really makes you think, doesn’t it?
While it’s really awesome that we are moving forward and finding ways to reduce the environmental costs of the fashion industry, the best and most nature friendly way of doing that is to actually wear our clothing for as long as possible. In other words – we should only buy clothes made of high quality materials, repair them when they’re broken, and when we’re done with them make sure the material is either being used to make something new, or recycled into fibers for new fabric. Read more about recycling textile fibers here.
So what can an environmentally conscious consumer do? Lots!
Let me give you 7 tips for starters.
-> Only buy clothes that you really need. If you’re buying a new jacket every year, chances are you don’t wear all of them too often. How about actually looking into your wardrobe first, to see if you already have a jacket or two (or five) that are perfectly wearable.
-> When you buy new clothes pay attention to the quality of the garment. You might feel tempted to get that £5 shirt but it’s probably not going to last very long. Besides checking the materials teach yourself to check the quality of the sewing, too. Check the seams, the buttons, the zippers etc.
-> Try to purchase all of your garments in sustainable clothing stores. Make sure you know the story and vision behind each boutique you buy from. Ask them about their materials, the manufacturing process and their waste management. When more people become interested in sustainable fashion there will be more options to choose from, more inexpensive eco-friendly clothing and less textile waste in the end.
-> Avoid buying garments that have only one purpose. By this I mean clothing that are hard to combine with several outfits. If you need a new shirt you should try it on with different things to make sure you can wear it for many occasions and it still looks fresh every time.
-> Before you rush into clothing stores, no matter how sustainable they are, go through your wardrobe and see if there are things you never wear that could be easily altered into something you really like. If you can’t sew (and don’t want to learn) take them to that local shop I was talking about – like Stitched Up, for example! I’m sure they’ll help you out.
-> Consider buying garments from thrift stores and only buy new clothing if you can’t find what you’re looking for in the second hand stores!
-> When you’re done with a garment but it’s still wearable, think of how you could alter it to make it feel new again. If you can’t come up with anything, you can organise a clothing swap with friends, donate the garments to charity or take them to local shops that use old clothing as materials for their new products.
All the pictures in this blog post are showing items that I’ve made of 100% salvaged and upcycled materials.
Re-using garments and other fabric pieces does not mean your clothing will look old, worn out or out of fashion.
Huge thanks to Anna for sharing these tips with us, and the beautiful images of your upcycled makes – stunning!