Fashion is one of the biggest polluters on the planet and has a hugely negative impact on the environment, from textile waste to the production of carbon emissions. But what can we do to make a difference? Read on for style-savvy tips…
Sustainability was a (not so) hot topic last year and if like many you want to start living a more sustainable (yet still fashionable) lifestyle, but don’t know where to start, there are plenty of amazing initiatives to help you make smarter decisions going forward. They’re fun, too.
1. SELL YOUR UNWANTED ITEMS
(and buy pre-loved pieces)
A wardrobe clear out is not only seriously satisfying, but it can make you money too. Whether you’re looking to sell your unwanted high street pieces or designer fashion that’s gathering dust, there’s a resale site suitable for anything you’re looking to sell and they’re super easy to use. There’s also amazing deals to be found buying pre-loved pieces, often hardly worn and in great condition for just a fraction of the price. So next time you’re tempted to log on to your favourite high street store and buy those jeans everyone is wearing, see if you can find it second hand first.
Got a designer bag sitting in the back of your wardrobe that hasn’t seen the light of day in 2 years? List it on Vestiaire. They have a worldwide community that helps sell your pieces faster. Just submit an item for sale using the simple seller form and once your item has sold, you will receive a pre-paid shipping label to send the item to its new home. Once your item passes Quality Control you will receive payment directly into your bank account. www.vestiairecollective.com
Vinted is open to everyone who believes that good clothes should live long and is particularly popular for buying and selling high street items. There’s also no commission and zero selling fees like most resale platforms. Yes really. Just download the app for free, take photos of your item, describe it, and set your price. www.vinted.co.uk
Depop is the fashion marketplace app used by new-gen consumers who are looking to discover unique items. With a global community buying, selling and connecting to make fashion more inclusive, diverse and less wasteful, you can list (and buy) everything from vintage to streetwear. It’s perfect for those after something special. www.depop.com
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There's amazing deals to be found buying pre-loved pieces, often hardly worn and in great condition for just a fraction of the price.
View this post on Instagram
Many of us are turning to hiring services for special events like weddings and parties rather than buying something specially for the occasion.
2. RENT FASHION INSTEAD
There’s so many amazing rental platforms available now, many of us are turning to hiring services for special events like weddings and parties rather than buying something specially for the occasion. Looking for *that* Reformation dress but know you’ll only wear it once to your best friends wedding this summer? Find it, rent it, wear it, return it.
Onloan operates on a slick monthly subscription where you can pay as little as £69 per month to hire 2-4 designer items worth up to £1000. Simply choose your subscription, wear and use for the month and then return for someone else to enjoy (or keep them for longer). You don’t have to pay for dry cleaning or repairs either which means you can just focus on styling your new clothes for the month. Win. www.onloan.co
Founder of HURR Victoria Prew wanted to give women the option to still get their kicks from the latest luxury trends and pieces, without burning a hole in their pocket or the planet. HURR is now a tech-first platform with thousands of renters and lenders building a smart solution for fashion. They have everything from Ganni to Rixo and you can even shop IRL at their pop-up in Selfridges Oxford Street. www.hurrcollective.com
When founder Eshita Kabra-Davies witnessed the first-hand effects of textile waste during her honeymoon to her motherland Rajasthan, India, she immediately knew that something was wrong with one of her passions in life: fashion. By Rotation is a social fashion rental app with access to designer fashion at a fraction of the retail price. If your wardrobe is brimming with luxury pieces you can’t quite part ways with, why not rent to someone else to enjoy? Your wallet will thank you (as will the planet). byrotation.com
3. UTILISE OR UPCYCLE WHAT YOU ALREADY OWN
Did you know that extending the life of clothes by just nine extra months of active use reduces our carbon, water and waste footprints by up to 30%? We didn’t, but The Seam’s founder Layla has created a platform in order for us to do so. If, like us, you have pieces that no longer fit, need repairing or a 2022 revival, The Seam matches you with tailors in your local area who specialise in the type of project you need doing. It’s like cupid but for clothes. We love it. www.theseam.uk
SAVE YOUR WARDROBE
Encouraging you to buy less and make the most of what you already have, Save Your Wardrobe allows you to build your wardrobe digitally so you can see everything you own via an app on your phone. Smart. You’ll discover pieces you forgot about, put new outfits together and resist impulse buys. A genius initiative for serial shoppers. They also have eco-friendly services to upcycle and extend the life of your garments including dry cleaning, repairs and more.
Hannah Rasekh, Director of Communications at Save My Wardrobe tells us more below…
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What is Save Your Wardrobe and how can we get involved?
Save Your Wardrobe is a unique digital wardrobe platform with a mission is to streamline and disrupt the after-care booking experience through an ecosystem of service partners (repairs, alterations, donating, cleaning etc.) The platform uses AI powered technology to instantly collect fashion past purchases and upload new garments to your digital wardrobe. Save Your Wardrobe brings more mindfulness to the shopping journey by extending the narrative beyond the purchase with hyper-personalised services and a drive to sustainability.
What are your tips for shopping smart?
First off, buying better quality means you’re also buying for longevity and have no need to replace garments, which means less shopping, and consequently less spending. Secondly, shop from brands that are incorporating sustainable materials and practices and who put planet and garment workers at the forefront of their brands. Take a closer look at labels to avoid synthetics, Thirdly, shop secondhand. I love collecting vintage, as it adds a retro flair to my wardrobe. And lastly, shop smart and invest in your permanent wardrobe instead of giving in to seasonal purchases.
How did your own journey in being a sustainable fashion advocate begin?
I had been working in the fashion industry for a decade before I decided to go back to university and deep dive into fashion sustainability and circular solutions. I could see the impact the fashion industry had on people and on the planet and quite simply, I just wanted to make a change. I noticed how excessive and fast it had become. And how much waste it was the industry generating and I really wanted to do something about it. In recent years I’ve made it my mission to become more of an activist and a changemaker and use my platform for good. Promoting more mindful consumption and investing for quality and longevity. www.saveyourwardrobe.com
4. BUY SUSTAINABLY
Conscious shopping means purchasing from brands that have sustainable practices, from the fabrics they use to their manufacturing processes. E-commerce giant Net-A-Porter launched NET-SUSTAIN in 2019, a curated platform that offers you the opportunity to invest in sustainable luxury. Championing brands that are leading the eco-friendly charge, each product selected meets at least one of its nine key sustainable requirements. www.net-a-porter.com
Worth knowing about…
This London-based label creates luxury, elevated basics whilst using sustainable practices. If its name wasn’t any indication, it vows to distribute 90% of its profits between those who make the garments and charitable causes – you even get a chance to decide which causes the funds are donated to. Their organic cotton loungewear is top of our wish list. www.ninetypercent.com
This cult favourite made a name for itself at the start of the pandemic, delivering brightly coloured, eco-friendly loungewear. Fast forward two years later and they’re offering recycled cashmere and a collection of denim made from Himalayan nettle or rain-fed hemp. Fusing nature and science, Pangaia is one to watch for the foreseeable. www.thepangaia.com
Others we love: Stella McCartney, Veja and Reformation.
The products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however, The Handbook may make a small commission on some products purchased through affiliate links.