The living planet can not sustain the rate of overproduction and overconsumption. As we face an unprecedented climate crisis we cannot continue making and throwing out clothing at the rate we have done for the last 3 decades!
We are seeing a huge shift in consciousness right now. Every small step you take has an impact on our environment and the kind of world you are choosing to live in.
Why reuse, recycle or repurpose?
- It reduces greenhouse gases
- It saves landfill space
- It conserves energy, water and precious resources
- It benefits people in developing countries
- It’s creative and fun!
Here are some different ideas and ways I use to reuse, recycle & repurpose items of clothing and accessories.
Think before you throw
Spring is always a good time to detox our wardrobes, realign with our style and refresh our clothes.
However, it is important to be strategic and conscious when getting rid of items that no longer serve you.
Did you know that every single year, 12 million tons or more of clothing ends up in landfills where they take up a massive amount of very expensive space?
I always tell my clients before throwing anything out or buying anything new to look at what they have with fresh eyes.
With each item, ask yourself:
How can I wear this differently?
How can I align this piece with my style story?
By combining perhaps with accessories or wearing something in a different way, you’ll see it in a new light. And if not, then ask yourself “what can I do with this item before I give it away or discard it”?
Landfills cost millions of dollars to build and millions more every year to operate. Recycling keeps landfill costs down for cities, thereby increasing their available budget for other municipal needs.
Repurpose for a new lease of life
I love to repurpose and think of ways I can adapt an item, especially an item I love but is perhaps worn out, ripped etc. Look beyond the actual piece itself.
What can I do with this piece so I can still wear it?
How can I use it?
Perhaps it’s a midi-skirt and you turn it into a mini-skirt or jeans into jean shorts.
You don’t necessarily have to do it yourself. Dry cleaners often do repairs or you may even have an alterations service nearby.
If an item is impossible to repurpose into a different item of clothing you can look at how you can upcycle it into something useful for the home.
You could turn a white shirt into cloth napkins. Or perhaps a pair of jeans into a cloth bag for grocery shopping. You’ll find so many tutorials on creative ways to give your clothes a new purpose before throwing them away.
If you can’t think of a way to reuse, you can always cut the item into rags for cleaning. See, there’s always a way!
Do you really need to buy new?
We all like to inject some new life into our wardrobes in springtime. But does that mean you have to buy things brand new? Now it’s easier than ever before to find pre-loved clothes and accessories.
Thrift and vintage
Just one thrifted t-shirt can save up to 700 gallons of water, and a secondhand pair of jeans saves up to 1,800 gallons more.
If you’re not one for rummaging around in charity shops and flea markets, thrift and vintage shopping has gone online, making it really easy to hunt down specific items.
ThredUP – buy (and resell) used clothing, based in the USA.
Etsy – great for vintage. Search by country, city or even postcode for items near you.
Ebay – for used and vintage clothing. Filter your search results by location.
Higher quality & designer second-hand
There are so many second-hand options available, which includes pre-loved designer and luxury items.
The ‘resale’ market is an upscale subset of the second-hand market, it’s a more curated selection of goods, picked for their ability to retain value after being resold repeatedly. This industry has grown by 21 times faster than other types of fashion retail over the last 3 years.
I personally love preloved and resale. You can get a designer bag or items that perhaps you would never buy at full price and also contribute to a positive effect on the planet.
And it’s a great way to give others the opportunity to enjoy your items and make some money back.
TIP: As with all online purchases, avoid shipping over long distances from abroad. Not only will it increase the carbon footprint, you may need to pay import tax (depending on the value of your purchase and your country’s laws).
Clothing subscription services and renting is becoming more of the norm these days, especially for those who love to be on-trend but are more conscious of the environment and wasting money.
Companies like Rent the Runway rent high-end fashion for fancy events, those dresses that you will probably never wear again.
Go local with clothes swapping parties
I love clothing swap parties because you get to have a party, offload some items and take something ‘new’ home at the end! They’re great fun – I’ve come home with some really good stuff as well.
In this moment of change, it is really important to assess how you are showing up in the world as a consumer and how you contribute to this planet.
It’s time to change perspective on how you use your wardrobe, where you buy your clothes and what you do with them when you don’t use them anymore.