Building a wardrobe based on sustainable principals is not only kinder on our planet – it opens up the doors to discovering a new depth of personal style, too. If dressing sustainably has been on your radar, but you don’t know where to start, then we’ve got a mix of achievable New Year’s resolutions to help you along your eco fashion journey. Let’s dive.
No more than 5 new clothing items a year
When you take on a sustainable lifestyle, reducing your consumption is a top priority. Looking at fashion, this means being more selective about which garments makes it into your wardrobe.
Not everything cute deserves a spot in your cart, especially not if it comes from a fast fashion retailer like Shein. Turn and run when you see the name, no matter how cute that cheap pink tulle top is.
Limit the amount of new clothes you’re allowed to buy for the year, and be choosey about where you buy these clothes from. There are so many options when it comes to shopping sustainable fashion locally, it’s a real treasure trove.
Look out for local
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When shopping fashion, consider local designers first. Browsing Instagram is a great way to find local pre-loved gems, like Dear Prudence Vintage, as well fashion designers with sustainability at the core, like Sindiso Khumalo and Daisie Jo.
Brands at the forefront of circular fashion in SA, like Style Rotate focusing on rental fashion, offer new, innovative ways of keeping on the pulse with fashion, whilst adhering to sustainable methods of doing so. Instead of buying that gorgeous designer dress, why not rent it instead?
Make pre-loved a priority
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Owner of Dear Prudence Vintage and pre-loved queen Tmasyn Jade says:
“Shopping preloved offers the most style-wise, with just a little more patience and effort! Thrifting makes way for us to develop and explore our personal style beyond what’s trending. There will always be a trendy new garment available at your local charity shop, but there’s also that incredible biscuit-coloured, mohair, vintage jumper with swirls of small pearls, detailing the collar and cuffs. There’s just one of them, and now it’s yours for a steal of the original price! And it’s an absolute treasure, you should covet it. Then suddenly, “oh my gosh, what’s that!?” You just found the matching skirt!
Building a style with pre-loved garments forces you to discover and build on what you like, beyond what’s on the rack at a major retailer. You become the main character.
Make a mends
When your favourite denim is sporting a rather large hole, or your sweater’s looking a little shabby, don’t chuck them away. Instead, let’s lean on the rich history of Japanese culture. In Japan, even imperfect objects have their place. Broken vases are mended together with gold, and end up looking more beautiful than they ever did before.
When it comes to mending clothing items, the traditional Japanese practice of Sashiko is a hand embroidery technique that the Western world now coins as ‘visible mending.’ It’s an artistic, expressive way to breathe new life into your damaged garments. It’s time to dig up those embroidery needles and thread.
Up your game by up-cycling
Now’s your chance to get creative. Dive into your wardrobe, pick out the items you haven’t worn in a while, and get creative with up-cycling or recreating them into something new. One era’s maxi skirt is another era’s strapless dress. Tear off the tulle from the OTT princess dress you haven’t tried on in years, and get creative with how you can make it a functional piece in your wardrobe. Sewing not a skill of yours? It’s never too late to learn…
Up-cycling is a great way to have your personality peek through your style. No other person will have the same upcycled garment as you, that’s what makes it special. I always feel fabulous when I can sport something I’ve worked on myself, even if it is a small up-cycle project.
Walk, don’t drive
Spoil yourself with a new pair of trainers to carry you from a to b. Opting to walk instead of drive when you can, cuts out harmful gas emissions from traveling via car. The fresh air, scenic route and opportunity to show off your outfit all make it worth taking a stroll, instead. Remember to bring a friend along for the journey.
When it comes to shopping fashion, let’s do it on foot. Visit your local designer’s brick and mortar store, pop in to browse through the racks and try what you like on. So often, we’ll fill up our online carts with items we’ll never wear. Why? We never had the opportunity to try them on before buying, and making a return is effort. Make a ritual of taking a day to shop for your new garment in person, it adds to the experience!
Feature Image: Pexels