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Too Many Clothes & Nothing To Wear? Time to Inculcate Sustainable Fashion Habits


Sustainable Fashion - How to build sustainable wardrobe
Too many clothes and nothing to wear? This is a battle fought by most of us nearly every day of our lives.

The compelling habit of shopping is too hard to resist. Easy access to cheap clothing {fast fashion}, coupled with irresistible deals (think discount codes, free shipping with free returns) makes things worse. The temptation even leads us into buying things we don't need. Result? Our wardrobes are bursting with clothes, expensive real estate is wasted on cheap fashion items, we have piles of things with the tags still on..... and a planet that's suffering.

The abundance of fast fashion has created an environmental and social justice crisis. We have a serious problem of rising landfills due to textile waste (where do you think all your clothes go when you discard them?), unavailability of clean water and clean air, and rising pollution. Of course, there are other issues. Fast fashion = low quality, cheap clothing, but someone is paying the cost for us. Yes, I mean the people who make them. Textile workers are often paid minuscule wages (as low as $50 a month) and are forced to work for long hours in appalling conditions.

Having too many clothes, shoes or bags do not make it easy for us either. In fact, it becomes difficult for us to decide what to wear and also harder to create outfits that we really like. After all, all that clutter is not easy to manage or process. And even if you have the means to keep it well-organized, do you really think it is making your life more fulfilling, or creating an endless desire for more, leaving you feeling empty inside?

Its time we rethink our fashion habits. We can't continue to spend mindlessly on things we don't need and disregard the environment and people in the process. As consumers, we need to stop supporting brands that don't consider the environment, the people who make them and the animals.

It's time to bring a sustainable change in our fashion habits.......

  1. We need to declutter our wardrobesGo back to your closet and really clean it out. If you don't know where to start, then get a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo to guide you through the process and if reading isn't your thing, watch her series on Netflix to give you a head start.
  2. We need to build a capsule wardrobe that has signature, classic pieces within easy reach to make our life easier when it comes to making sartorial choices every morning (or noon or evening). When you are heading out for job interviews, the last thing you want is to waste time rummaging through your wardrobe to find a suitable outfit. Constructing a well-organized capsule wardrobe with minimal number of quality, functional pieces that you love and can wear all-year-round is the perfect solution and can make your life much easier. However, invest in things that are beautifully made, using sustainable fabrics, without using toxic dyes and by paying fair wages to people who made them. Shop from conscious brands who are high on ethics and style.
  3. Not just clothing, we need to sort our shoes, handbags and other accessories too. You don't need 20 pairs of ankle boots when one or two stylish versatile pairs can do the trick. Plus, when you are not constantly buying shoes, you can be sure the ones you do get are as high quality as possible.
One of the most important things about creating a more streamlined wardrobe is thinking about how you're going to mix and match various items. Rather than falling into the trap of thinking that you need a new outfit for every different occasion, having staple items that you can combine in different ways is not only going to give you the chance to try plenty of different styles but it means that you're a whole lot more likely to actually wear everything that you have in your closet. This way, you aren't just simplifying your life but are also helping the planet by investing in fewer items and buying things that are sustainably produced with the least harm.

However, when you really "need" something, you can shop but more mindfully this time. Before you actually venture out, make sure to prepare a list of items you need and stick to it.
Sustainable brands - Sustainable shopping haul
The next question on your mind could be, where can I find sustainable brands?

For those who are just starting on a sustainable fashion journey, finding sustainable brands to shop from can be challenging. Finding brands that are ethical and align with your values can be a little harder than heading to your local mall and picking up whatever you like. However, it's much easier than you think.

Shopping from vintage stores or pre-owned clothing stores is a great way to update your wardrobe with least harm to the planet {and people}. Renting and cloth swaps are other great options.

If you want to buy new, consider referring to ethical fashion directories like The Good Shopping Guide to discover ethical brands. There are some amazing ethical online stores that curate fashion from multiple brands to make your shopping easier. Some of my favorites include Address ChicRêve En Vert, Amour Vert, Loveco {if you visit Berlin make sure to visit their store} and Well Made Clothes.

Many fast fashion brands like H&M and Zara have also launched their own sustainable fashion lines that are crafted using eco-friendly fabrics. However, there is no information about how are they produced, and whether the people who made them are paid fair wages or not. This leaves a question mark on how sustainable these collections really are.

However, there are plenty of brands that have been sustainable and ethical in their approach from day one, like Stella McCartney, its just we need to do our research and stay informed. 

Next time you reach out to your wallet to buy new fashion items, stop and think - whether you really need this item? If you do, can you buy it from a vintage store, thrift it or rent it? If you can't, find out if it was sustainably produced {fair wages, eco-friendly materials)?

On the top cover image I am wearing ethically produced organic cotton denim from Armedangels, Thought bamboo t-shirt, Reiss blazer, apple leather vegan handbag from Alexandra K and vegan heels from Hexa Bangkok

Photography by @kate_dubaiphotographer
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