It can be hard to tell where to really start making changes when you first begin your green journey. Today, we hope to make those first steps a little easier by sharing our best tips on how your closet can be more sustainable - and many of these you can do right now by just going through the closet you already have!
To begin, let’s define what a conscious closet means.
A conscious closet is one that is composed of pieces that benefit our environment and/or communities in some way, whether that’s due to how it is made or how it is utilised.
Like Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, has stated “Clothes could have more meaning and longevity if we think less about owning the latest or cheapest thing and develop more of a relationship with the things we wear.” - essentially, if we all take the time to understand how our clothes are made and how they affect the world around us, we can more effectively make choices that do more good than harm.
Here are some key ways to create a conscious closet that helps our planet become greener.
- Wear what you already have and use your imagination! It’s an incredibly simple step but, we promise you, it’s also very effective. In our day and age, fashion is driven by trends, by the need to stay on-trend and wear the latest, ‘hottest’ styles. There’s no shame in appreciating innovative silhouettes and craving something new, we only ask you to consider if it’s something you will make use of regularly.
Which is why, when you’re putting together an outfit, we urge you to really make use of pieces you have already attained. Sort through older garments that you may have forgotten and pair them with newer ones, you may find you have more to work with than you initially thought.
Jainee here is a great example of someone who does just that! Here, she wears our Sunny Palms tube top to complete her saree look - she got creative, paired ‘unlikely’ garments together and achieved a unique and elegant look.
- Take note of what silhouette and fabrics you particularly like and are drawn. By doing so, you’ll be able to make more conscious decisions when you are browsing racks in clothing stores or online. This will ensure that you avoid buying something just because it’s in trend, something that you ultimately will not make much use of.
Wise word to live by: “Think of yourself as a curator, rather than a consumer.” – Christine Koh, author, co-host of Edit Your Life podcast.
- Aim to add quality basics to your closet that you can mix and match in many ways. Never underestimate the power of a great basic, they definitely stand the test of time in terms of aesthetic and are always there for you if you need to put together a quick look.
By investing in good quality basics, you are also ensuring that your pieces live a long life and accompany you through every season, every year. A basic tee works wonders in the summer to keep you cool, it also can be paired with cozier vests as autumn comes along and then can be easily layered with jackets and scarves in much colder months.
Our founder, Mahima, gives you a little demonstration of a few SUI basics she loves to style.
- If one of your garments gets a little worn, don’t throw it away, mend and repair! You can always do a little DIY fixing at home for any tears you create on tees or jeans etc. All you need is a little help of a needle and thread and then that item can remain in your closet for a little longer. If the repair needs a bit more expertise to fully get it back in better shape, drop by your local tailor if you can to do so.
Increasing the longevity of items you already have is incredibly important due to how much clothing and textiles is wasted each year. In the US alone, approximately 85% of all textiles (around 13 million tonnes) were reportedly thrown away in 2017 - meaning they were either dumped in landfills or burned. Globally, that number comes up to about 92 million tonnes.
When we waste clothing like this, it affects our environment in a huge way. Landfills full of textile waste will poison animal habitats as the dyes or plastic fibres can leech toxins into the earth or water bodies. It could also be ingested by various species who grow ill or die because of it. By burning this waste, carbon emissions increase and contribute to global warming. And so, we definitely recommend you think twice before completely discarding your pieces.
- Don’t waste, get creative. It’s normal to grow bored of pieces you have owned for a long time but, like we keep mentioning, we urge you to view throwing away clothing as a last resort. Other than ensuring you take care of your clothing and repairing them, another way to keep interested in the closet you already have is by giving your pieces a little makeover.
If you are a lover of slow fashion or secondhand clothing, you may have come across terms like upcycling, refashion or thrift flip, all of which describe a kind of do-it-yourself crafty approach to reimagining clothing you already have. This encapsulates things like herbal dyeing, hand embroidery, patchwork and just simply restitching items to give them a whole new, fresh look.
Here’s a video to give you a little inspiration.
- Practice your values through your fashion. When buying new pieces, be sure to buy from brands/NGOs who share the same ideologies in terms of sustainability/ethical practices etc. which will then support policies and practices you want a more sustainable world to have.
More wise words to live by: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” – Anne Lappé, author, educator, and sustainable food advocate.
- And last but certainly not least, do your research! Look into the brands you are interested in buying from, understand their conscious outlook (if they have one), see if they are transparent about their process and who crafts for them.
By only choosing to invest in brands who you have found to be truly earnest in their sustainable values, you are choosing more conscious practices to become a norm, you are choosing to give workers fair recognition and the right to an ethical standard within their workplace, you are choosing a world that understands how each action makes an impact.
We hope this helps you in your green journey and gets you to reconsider your relationship with your current closet. Here’s a final video that also encapsulates a lot of these tips that you can go back to:
All these little steps may seem small but they can help change our world if we all do our best to dedicate ourselves to any of these conscious acts each day.