To Make Our Wardrobes Sustainable, We Must Cut How Many New Clothes We Buy by 75% – PART 2

Fast fashion is being replaced by ultra-fast fashion, and many sustainability efforts do little to confront the sector’s consumption.

If things don’t change fast, the fashion industry could use a quarter of the world’s remaining global carbon budget to keep warming under 2C by 2050 and use 35% more land to produce fibers by 2030.

To better understand, visit PART 1, To Make Our Wardrobes Sustainable, We Must Cut How Many New Clothes We Buy by 75% – PART 1 – Earth5R.

Here are four things we can do to tackle the situation.

1. Limit Resource Use and Consumption

We must have serious conversations between industry, consumers, and governments about limiting resource use in the fashion industry. As a society, we need to talk about how much clothing is enough to live well.

On an individual level, it means buying fewer new clothes and reconsidering where we get our clothes from. Buying secondhand clothes or using rental services are ways of changing your wardrobe with a lower impact.

2. Expand the Slow Fashion Movement

A person mending a pair of socks
Photograph: Zvonimir Atletic/Getty Images/EyeEm

We must give renewed attention to repairing and caring for clothes we already own.

The growing slow fashion movement focuses on the quality of garments over quantity and favors classic styles over fleeting trends.

We must give renewed attention to repairing and caring for clothes we own to extend their lifespans, such as by reviving sewing, mending, and other long-lost skills.

3. New Systems of Exchange

The well-being wardrobe would mean shifting away from existing fashion business models and embracing new exchange systems, such as collaborative consumption models, cooperatives, not-for-profit social enterprises, and B-corps.

What are these? Collaborative consumption models involve sharing or renting clothing. At the same time, social enterprises and B-corps are businesses with purposes beyond making a profit, such as ensuring living wages for workers and minimizing or eliminating environmental impacts.

Some methods don’t rely on money, such as swapping or borrowing clothes with friends and altering or redesigning clothes in repair cafes and sewing circles.

4. Diversity in Clothing Cultures

A model walks the runway during the First Nations Fashion + Design show during Afterpay Australian fashion week 2021
Photograph: Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images

We must recognize the cultural value of clothing.

Finally, as consumers, we must nurture a diversity of clothing cultures, including incorporating the knowledge of Indigenous fashion design, which has respect for the environment at its core.

Communities of exchange should be encouraged to recognize the cultural value of clothing, rebuild emotional connections with garments, and support long-term use and care.

What Now?

Shifting fashion from a perpetual growth model to a sustainable approach will not be easy. Moving to a post-growth fashion industry would require policymakers and the industry to bring in a wide range of reforms and reimagine societal roles and responsibilities.

You might think this is too hard. But the status quo of constant growth cannot last.

We should act to shape the future of fashion and work towards a wardrobe good for people and the planet – rather than let a tidal wave of wasted clothing soak up resources, energy, and our limited carbon budget.

What is Earth5R’s Home Equals Planet project?

Home Equals Planet is an initiative comprising 15 tangible actions citizens take on an individual level. These are a step toward a sustainable planet and a healthier lifestyle. The actions promote simple actions like eating home-cooked food, segregating waste, spending time in nature, etc.

Home Equals Planet: 15 Actions to Change the World

Buy Less and Save Water

On average, we only wear garments 7 times before getting rid of them. 

The carbon emissions during the production of a t-shirt are 12 times more than the weight of the t-shirt itself.

Apparel production accounts for 10% of worldwide carbon emissions. 

Manufacturing new products are energy and resource-intensive process. 

The amount of water consumed and polluted in the processing stages of a product – called its Water Footprint or virtual water – is a looming threat our world can not afford in the face of dire water scarcity experienced by billions around the world every year. 

A single cotton t-shirt requires over 2500 liters of water.

And the carbon emissions during production are 12 times more than the t-shirt’s own weight. 

Add to this the shipping emissions from importing or outsourcing items, and you have a recipe for environmental destruction. 

1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water 

In a world with increasing consumerist instinct where the product you desire is a click away, one needs to understand the impact of this single click. 

Be a responsible buyer, 

  • Realize wants are different from needs. 
  • Repair what you have. 
  • Opt for resale, refurbished, or thrift options.

To read more of such articles, please visit

Source: The Guardian

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