5 Steps to start your Sustainable Fashion journey
So you’ve been influenced by the sustainable fashion corner of Instagram and are probably wondering if you should hop onto the bandwagon. The answer is yes, yes and YES! Although the shift from fast to slow fashion may seem overwhelming at first, it gets easier and feels better once you start!
First, if you are clueless about sustainable fashion and why it's so important, check out our guide to help you understand the concept better.
Here are some easy ways to help you jump right into the world of sustainable and ethical fashion -
image courtesy: https://www.bunastudio.com/
1. Educate & Learn
Learning can be as simple as watching documentaries, listening to lectures and podcasts, reading books, following people who support and advocate for ethical fashion. This process also includes unlearning the toxic habits of overconsumption and retail therapy, that lead to part of the waste problem (don’t worry, corporations are still majorly responsible for the planet's destruction). Only by educating yourself will it be easier to ditch fast fashion and avoid falling prey to planned obsolescence.
“Watching the documentary, The True Cost, led to an awakening that opened my eyes to the horrors of the fast fashion industry. Never did it once cross my mind that a mere t-shirt I was wearing, harmed not only the environment but also cost the people behind its creation. This made me want to learn more about the problem, its causes, and possible solutions that would help me make more conscious decisions”, says 18-year-old Mahima from Kolkata.
2. Understand your closet
Being sustainable does not only mean adding more ethically-made pieces to your wardrobe, but also analysing and understanding what you already own. Sustainable fashion in its true sense calls for maximum utilization of existing belongings. Decluttering and reorganising your closet is the first step to help sift out what you need, what you no longer wear, what could undergo a possible revamp, etc. It's high time to bring out those clothes in the corner of your wardrobe that haven't seen daylight in a long time! You'll be surprised to find pieces in brand-new condition, desperately waiting to be loved. This will allow you to increase the life cycle of your clothes, that would have otherwise been discarded, as well as avoid new purchases.
3. Support organisations & campaigns
Another indirect way of supporting sustainable fashion is by participating in campaigns and strikes, elevating the voice of organizations that are already working for this cause, signing petitions, donating for fundraisers, and lastly doing everything in your power to spread awareness.
- The #NoNewClothes campaign by Slow Fashion Movement is a great way to start. This is a fashion detox where participants pledge not to buy any new clothes for a period of 3 months, from July to September.
- Sign Remake’s #PayUp petition that demands brands to pay their garment workers and treat them fairly.
- Donate to Clean Clothes Campaign, an organisation working for garment worker rights, improving working conditions, eradicating poverty and holding brands accountable.
4. Mend, Upcycle & Swap Clothes
Most of the clothes we end up throwing because of the slightest defect still have a lot of life left in them. We’ve become so used to the buy-and-throw cycle that we would rather spend money for a newer replacement when it costs 0 to get the earlier one mended. Mending and upcycling do not require any elaborate mechanised hard labour. It could be as simple as dyeing, painting, embroidering, cutting and attaching patches. If you happen to sew and own a sewing machine, then that's even better - you have the power to turn your clothing into anything you want! After all, sustainable fashion is all about reusing and giving life to old, worn-out clothes to avoid them from ending up in landfills.
Another fun thing you could try with your friends and relatives is clothes swapping. If you have something that you don’t like, but your friend does, you can always go ahead and swap them! This way you won't be spending money or throwing anything out.
5. Shop sustainable (only when you have to)
While an ideal situation would involve not buying at all, there are certain times when you just can't avoid it. Even for desperate times like these, there's always a solution! You can shop from sustainable brands like One Less that are using environment friendly materials, ethical and closed loop manufacturing processes, and even plant a tree for every purchase. You could even thrift, go for second-hand or vintage clothing, support small handmade businesses and rent if it's for a one-time occasion.
So now that you know how easy it is to be sustainable and fashionable at the same time, go get started already! Your clothes, pocket and the planet will thank you.