Sustainability and fashion can sometimes be an awkward match, and trying to make the right choices as consumers is not cut and dry. For instance, some studies have found that up to 59% of eco-friendly claims by fashion companies are greenwashing tricks of one kind or another. With the festive season approaching, let’s explore sustainable fashion and how you can make confident choices to make a big difference.
First, some sustainable fashion fundamentals:
- Ethical production: making clothes in a way that treats workers fairly and keeps them safe. Shopping guides from organisations like Baptist World Aid can help us to choose such companies who do a better job protecting their workers
- Circular fashion: think of your clothes as long-term friends. Circular fashion is about designing things that last, encouraging repairs and reusing, and finding responsible ways to get rid of items you don’t need anymore. Places like Reunion in Newtown, or Uturn in Rozelle, and charity shops such as Vinnies, Red Cross, Save the Children and Salvos are some great examples in the Inner West.
- Minimal waste: sustainable fashion aims to use as little as possible at every step – cutting patterns efficiently, using up scraps, and thinking about how to get rid of clothes in a way that’s good for the environment. Do your research on the products/brands you are thinking about buying, for instance by using the Good On You app.
Fashion has a big impact on the environment. You’ve probably heard that the fashion industry is responsible for a up to 10% of global carbon emissions, which is more than the shipping and aviation industries combined. Here’s what you can do.
- Get savvy: know how to use what you already have at home. Come along to our upcoming Dare to Wear workshop to get connected, informed and have fun with others. Get in the in the loop about practices, materials, and slow fashion. There are also some excellent podcasts out there like Questioning Fashion, Threads and Wardrobe Crisis to stay in the loop
- Timeless pieces: pick classic basics that won’t go out of style fast. This way, you won’t feel the need to buy new stuff all the time, and that’s a win against fast fashion. Our collaborators at Slogue and Bell St can help you with this
- Avoid brands with poor green ratings: find them and give them some love. Supporting these brands helps push the fashion world toward being more eco-friendly. Explore the offerings of organizations like Fashion Revolution Australia to find options
- Pre-loved shopping: buying second-hand means you’re not adding to the demand for new stuff, and it’s a cool way to give old clothes a new life. Check out platforms like the Clothing Exchange and ThreadX for sustainable choices. The Trashed Markets by Replace/Village Project are a great place to find these hidden gems too
- Stay competitive: organisations like Dress for Success can really help to get your eye in style-wise, and they help to empower women and equip them for competition in the workplace
Whether you are navigating the fashion scene or just need a new pair of undies, your choices can make a difference. Opting for sustainable fashion lets you be stylish while doing something good for the planet. For more ways to explore this excellent topic of sustainable lifestyle choices and more, check out other events and programs happening at the Inner West Sustainability Hub.