5 ways to start your own all-ethical wardrobe

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Fashion is always changing, and there are always new trends and styles to try. But, with throwaway fashion on the rise, your clothing and accessory choices can have a substantial impact on the environment.

In fact, a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation showed that there’s been a steady growth in clothing sales, which has been accompanied by a decline in clothing utilisation per item. This fast fashion trend has led to huge amounts of waste — equal to one rubbish truck full of textiles — being dumped or burnt every second.

So, if you want to learn how to keep up with the latest trends responsibly, read on to find out five top tips for starting an all-ethical wardrobe.

Shop around for ethical clothing brands

The first step in reducing your environmental impact is to familiarise yourself with brands that have ethical considerations in mind when designing their products. For example, brands like Monkee Genes use organic materials in all their clothes, including super-sustainable bamboo, which has been heralded as the world’s most renewable material. Other eco-friendly brands, like Earth Kind Originals, regularly use organic cotton, which not only uses far less water to grow than standard materials, but also helps to maintain soil fertility through the absence of any toxic growth chemicals.
And, even if you’re a designer-lover, you don’t have to give up your lavish lifestyle so soon. There are many luxury brands that are making the switch to become more ethical. Big names like Stella McCartney are keeping sustainability at the forefront of their brand’s values. In particular, their recycled polyester garments have an environmental impact that’s 24 times smaller than leather styles.

So, take some time to identify the brands you should be wearing: you can find out more in this ethical clothing directory from Ethical Consumer.

Look for ethical accessories

As helpful as it will be to the environment for you to start buying ethical clothing, you can have a more significant impact if you’re consciously choosing ethical accessories as well. Buying pre-loved jewellery, like these rings from Est.1897, will ensure you’re not increasing demand for the destructive diamond mining industry, while still enjoying the beauty and luxury of real diamonds and precious metals.

Even handbags can be produced ethically. As well as being completely vegan, the lining of all these bags from MATT & NAT are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. So, you can do your bit in saving the oceans, as well as the land.

Buy into second-hand fashion

Second-hand and vintage shops are great ways of finding gems that nobody else will be wearing. And, as they’re being reused than thrown away, the environmental impact is sure to be reduced. So, you can feel a sense of pride, both about securing a one-off item, as well as taking an additional step to an all-ethical wardrobe. Local markets are also a good way of getting your hands on some pre-loved treasures, particularly as these tend to be quirky and unique pieces.

And, don’t forget charity shops! As well as donating your clothes to be sold on, browsing the charity shops yourself will help you to revive someone’s unwanted pieces, while paying contributions to various charities and associations. So, find your nearest charity shop with the Charity Retail Association here.

Swap unwanted clothes with a friend

If you’re fed up with your clothes, there’s no need to throw them away. Chances are, your friends will be happy to swap them for some of their own unwanted pieces. So, why not suggest hunting through each other’s wardrobes? You might even find your new staple items!

And, best of all, this doesn’t have to cost you a penny. So, grab a couple of your closest friends and invite them for a swish party to get started. For more information on how to run your very own swish and encourage more people to get involved, read this guide to swishing from Get Swishing.

Re-style pieces in your wardrobe

Before giving up your unwanted clothes, you should bear in mind that many pieces bagged up from your wardrobe will eventually make a comeback. Items like full dungarees, vinyl skirts and ruched tops are just some of the examples of clothing materials that have recently come back into fashion.

But, if you want to give these items a modern update, there are plenty of ways you can do just that. Whether it’s transforming your long trench into a summer-ready cropped jacket, or adding some length to turn an old mini skirt into a smart work-ready piece, you have plenty of options. If you’re struggling to get creative, Love Your Clothes has plenty of guides to refashioning and upcycling to follow, so you can get designing sooner.

We all love keeping up with the trends, but for many of us this can mean buying into cheap throwaway fashion. Make more responsible choices with our five top tips. You’ll have an all-ethical wardrobe before you know it!