There was a time when things were valued and respected a lot more. Clothes, pieces of jewelry were cherished. There were memories attached to them and it almost gave them a life of their own. They sort of got treated like sentient beings.
When the clothes were not fit to the growing kids, younger siblings, cousins or anyone else would have them. When eventually they will come to an end of their lives, they would be recycled into quilts, napkins or in any other way. They were not just wasted or chucked away.
Capitalism taught us to have more and more and eventually the things started to lose that value. They were no longer valued possessions but something to use and throw. Instead of quality, we started focusing more on quantity. You wanted to have it so badly but as soon as you had it, it lost its charm and you were chasing after another shiny object. When they would get old, they would be use roughly instead of occasional use or given away to a beggar or a poor person in the locality.
Fortunately things have started to turn around even though it’s a slow process. The words like sustainability, ethical, fair trade that were optional once are becoming more mainstream and necessary as consumers demand more and more of them.
As consumers, we really have a lot of power. Yes, the enchanting adverts and clever algorithms can be convincing but in the end, it comes down to how and where we spend our money that would determine the direction we take collectively.
It is exactly because of this change in collective behavior that more and more brands are trying to incorporate sustainability into their campaigns whether they like it or not. More and more people are looking at the labels to see if the products they purchase are sustainable or not.
But it seems like it is just not enough anymore as many who claim to follow sustainable practices don’t really weigh up to their claims. It has become such an issue that EU has to step in to start the process of ensuring that such claims are not false. Greenwashing has become the new dirty word in the industry.
It is a great news. We want those in power selected by us to ensure that our interests being take care of. But what is it that we can do on our end to ensure that we are using our powers for the positive change we want to see for greenwashing?
- Buy less
Shopping for the sake of shopping is really like consuming empty calories. You don’t need a big wardrobe bursting with clothes that you would rarely use. Instead be kind to your wallet and planet. Focus on quality instead of quantity.
- Buy high quality stuff
Nothing feels like wearing a well-made piece of garment using a fine fabric. You get what you pay for. High quality stuff doesn’t only look great but will last a long time too for greenwashing.
- Multifunctional garments.
Buy the clothes that can be incorporate in various styles and mixed and matched with existing wardrobe pieces. It will give you a lot more diversity and options.
- Small Ethical brands.
Buy from smaller brands or places you can trust instead of big chains notorious for greenwashing. Eventually you can have a list of your favourite ethical brands and you can keep adding to that list.
The clothes you buy made someone who spends their days working hard, just like you to earn a fair living for their families. They deserve fair wages just like you, right? A little research on the brands you like, to see if they are offering fair wages or not will not cost you a penny but tremendously help those unnamed workers who helped you look so stylish.
- Fabric Choice
Not all fabrics and materials are sustainable alike. Fabrics like Bamboo, hemp and linen etc. for example, are a lot more sustainable than others like nylon or those dyed with harmful chemicals. You don’t have to stick to them but, again, a little research into what you plan to buy will go a long way.
- Natural Dyes and process.
Some brands use natural dyes instead of chemicals and processes that use a lot less water and a lot more sustainable than mainstream brands. Buying from them not only helps them but encourages such practices.
- Buy local
Buying from local small brands not only helps them but also reduces the carbon footprint. Your dress does not necessarily have to travel across the world to get to you if you can just source it in your own city.
- Help communities, Revive Old Ways
Many small local brands are using local craftsmanship, production techniques and methods that are not only more sustainable in greenwashing but also help the local communities. Some even help revive almost extinct local practices and give them a much needed life line. Check some out before your spending spree.
- Upcycle and recycle:
A little creativity can go a long way in giving a facelift to your wardrobe by simple upcycling and recycling projects. Not only they can give a new life to your existing clothes, they give you the satisfaction of creating something yourself.
- Buy from charity shops and donate to them.
Charity shops are full of high quality pieces at a fraction of the original price. And if you love shopping, they are a great place to browse through the racks full of clothes looking for unexpected surprises. When you finally are ready to say good bye to the clothes. You can always give them back to the charity shops about greenwashing where they can be re-adopt.
- Renting clothes instead of buying
Renting clothes is not just for prom dresses. If you really like to keep changing your wardrobe regularly, renting clothes can be an excellent idea. More and more small platforms are cropping up now that offer excellent choice in rental clothing. Your custom will ensure these idea become more widely accepted and popular giving you even more choice in the near future.
- Avoid single use items like special occasion dresses or costumes. Fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters anyway. And such cheaply items that are rarely use again create the worse part of the fast-fashion. Instead, be creative and use your existing wardrobe pieces to create a look. That not just suits the occasion but the pieces used later on as well.
- Wash with care
Wash using cold water and air dry clothes instead of using dryers. This can significantly reduce the water and energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission. It also increase the lifespan of the clothes. Washing with cold water reduces the release of microfibers that pollutes our water sources.
Checkout our post about London walks.