Reducing the environmental impact of your clothing choices

What exactly does that mean? How can you work towards this without forgoing the things you love in exchange for sack cloth and vegetable dye? Well – there’s great news where this is concerned. You don’t!

Earth Day is a great time to have a re-think about the way we buy, sell and use our clothes. It’s an annual celebration that honours the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations. These easy b.kinda tips are here to get you started.

How to ‘grow’ a sustainable wardrobe

Good news….the most sustainable wardrobe you can own is the one you already have! To ‘shop your wardrobe’ and get as much as you can from it, to re-use, up-cycle is the most environmentally impactful thing.  

Clothes are so very important to our identity, aren’t they? Even when you decide you want to ‘not care’ about what you wear and look like – that’s also an identity – a choice. 

Having ‘new’ things to wear is a wonderful feeling because it helps to boost our self-esteem and express ourselves in a different way. However, re-looking at your wardrobe and seeing how you can wear things differently can have the same effect. If there are things that you don’t wear and don’t love, that maybe aren’t relevant to the person we are now, then it’s time to hand them over to someone else. Donate them to charity and at that point, you could also replace them with something pre-loved. 

Keeping things fluid

This is called having a ‘fluid wardrobe’.  The idea is that we try to keep our wardrobe full of only things we love and therefore are happy to keep hold of for as long as possible. Then we bring new-to-us items of clothing in to compliment them. It’s a circular economy and the engine behind the circular fashion movement. 

What do you wear most and why? A favourite well fitting pair of jeans, a long-sleeved top that seems to go with everything? These are the items that you should keep an eye out for when you shop pre-loved, something that is similar is bound to be a hit.

What about the things you’re not wearing. Why don’t you were them anymore? Are they the wrong length, too small, too big, old fashioned? Then donate them – and make a note not to re-buy that style again. You’d be surprised how we are drawn back to the same looks, despite them being a thing of our past.

Pay better attention

The next key thing to building a sustainable wardrobe is owning items that are well-made and looking after them as well as you can. Other than repairing holes and cleaning marks and stains, it is also worth paying attention to the care labels in the clothes. Don’t over-wash items if you can help it. Try to air dry them, saving on electricity, and reducing wear and tear. Washing puts stress on the fibres of the cloth, so often hanging something to air after wearing can be a better sustainable solution.

Suck it up

Try to pack away your out-of-season clothes. If you have the space to store them, then this is an excellent way of being able to see what you and have and what you do or don’t need. Vacuum pack bags are a brilliant (and great fun) way of reducing space and often are able to tuck away under your bed once the air is taken out of them. This is also a great time to check the clothes and see if there is anything you need to do to alter them. Ensure the items you pack away are clean and dry – you’ll be pleased you did when you unpack them next season!

Get thrifty

If you do decide to pass items on, then there are several ways to do it. Sell them via Depop, Vinted, ebay, facebook marketplace or any other clothing apps and websites. Donate good quality items to your local charity shop, but please don’t overwhelm them – if you have had a large clear-out then try to spread them around multiple shops. If the clothes are not good quality, then you can take them to your nearest recycling centre and put them into their clothing bins or look out for the same clothing bins at your local supermarket. 

Some local authorities will also accept clean textiles as part of their household waste collection.  Almost all textiles (even underwear and socks) are recyclable as long as they are clean and dry.

New clothes – or new to you

Next, mindfully introduce new clothing into your wardrobe. This doesn’t have to be brand new – but new to you. At b.kinda we offer boxes of four items that will be bound to give you something new to add to the mix. By using our short questionnaire, you can steer us as to what sort of clothing you are looking to add; basics, fitness wear, party clothes or something special for a holiday. 

You cannot avoid buying new altogether, of course. But we can be thoughtful about the choices we make from here on in. It is not always easy to tell how sustainable a brand is but the obvious thing is not to buy fast-fashion but spend some time finding brands that are clear about whether their practices are sustainable, where they source their fabrics and how they are made. 

If you are not buying clothes as much, you might be able to afford to make more expensive choices. Buying pieces that you love, that are well made and ensuring that they are well cared-for means they’ll last – giving you excellent value in the long-term. 

Good luck!

Hopefully this has helped you to think about how you might make your wardrobe more sustainable. This isn’t a quick fix, but takes some time and dedication – and sometimes, a little imagination. 

We hope that b.kinda might become a part of your sustainable wardrobe routine and that using this circular economy will give you the ultimate sustainable wardrobe.

Tell us what approach you use to be more sustainable – have you got a website or resource you’d love to share to help others on the path of an environmentally friendly wardrobe?  If so, please share it via our social media comments.