Talking sustainability in fashion in 2022

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Sustainability seems to have taken the world of sustainability in fashion by storm! It’s a new way of thinking about our clothes and about how we shop, as well as being a major part of the conversations designers are having with their customers.

Everyone has a passion for something, mine just happens to be the sustainability in fashion industry. As a sustainability consultant, I spend most of my time studying how companies can implement sustainable strategies in their day-to-day business practices. I recently spent some time analyzing what brands I wanted to add to my wardrobe and realised that some of these were not the most sustainable options on the market.

The more I explored, the more I realised that there are not many companies out there truly dedicated to making consumers aware of their environmental impact. This inspired me to create Gotsmart.me, a platform that offers insight into where you can shop and what products will have minimal impact on the environment.

Think about all phases of the garment, not just its production.

Fashion is an incredibly complex industry. For example, when you purchase a garment at a store, you are only seeing the end result of many steps in the supply chain. These steps include raw material sourcing, shipping, dyeing, cutting, sewing, trimming and pressing before it is finally ready for sale in a store.

When we think about clothing manufacturing, we often only consider the production step. But think about all phases of the garment’s life cycle. This includes where and how raw materials are acquired and processed; how the garment is produced and distributed; what happens to it after it is discarded; and even where it goes if it can’t be sold.

A good rule of thumb is to wear your clothes 30 times.

I recently read a post on a blog that did some math and figured that the average person only wears 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time.

That means that 80% of our clothes are taking up space in our closets, rarely (if ever) getting worn. And that’s an awful lot of wasted money, energy and space!

A good rule of thumb is to wear your clothes 30 times. I’ve been trying to apply this “rule” to my wardrobe for a couple years now, especially when considering making new purchases, and it really has helped me with my closet organization and style.

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Buy less items but better made sustainability in fashion.

The first rule of sustainability in fashion is to buy less. It’s a tip that applies to the high-street too but I think in this instance it’s particularly important because sustainability in fashion can be quite pricey. If you’re going to spend a lot on an item, it should last for a long time and you need to wear it enough to justify the cost.

This isn’t just about buying less, it’s also about buying better. A quality item will go further than a cheap one. So you may want to look at spending more on a coat or shoes for example that will last for years as opposed to buying multiple, cheaper versions of these items that all break within a year and end up in landfill.

Make your own clothes, visit a sewing circle or get in touch with a local sustainability in fashion designer.

  • Cathy Bell loves clothes, but the 49-year-old Toronto woman has never spent more than $10 on any article of clothing. And she doesn’t go on sale days or to discount stores.
  • Bell is a member of a sewing circle that meets weekly in the basement of St. James Town United Church near Parliament Street and Wellesley Street East.
  • They make garments out of donated materials, and they’re often so good you wouldn’t know they came from a garbage bag, said Bell.

And if you think sewing is for old ladies, think again. The group attracted a lot of new members with hipster cred this summer when it held a series of workshops for young people at the Kensington Market Flea market.

Thank You For Reading

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