Sustainable Fashion

The issue with fast fashion

Fast fashion is the quick production of cheap and low quality clothes in line with changing trends, encouraging customers to regularly buy new clothes.

The UK throws away 300,000 tonnes of clothing every year, which amounts to 1/3 of clothing going to waste rather than being reused or recycled.

With 1 pair of jeans and 1 t-shirt estimated to use up to 20,000 litres of water (that’s 13 years’ worth of drinking water) it’s clear we need to fight our thirst for fashion and reduce how much new clothing we buy.

By following the hierarchy below, starting with buying less, we can reduce the amount of clothes that go to waste.
Buy less
When being sustainable with our clothes, the best thing is to make the most of what we already have in our wardrobes. It is estimated that around 30% of our clothes haven’t been worn in the past year.

Turn off subscriptions - To buy less, it helps to turn off email or post subscriptions to fashion retailers, avoiding that temptation.

Swap it - If you fancy something different to wear, that doesn’t involve spending money or buying new, throw a clothes swap event. Swap with those closest and dearest to you.

clothes rail

Create a capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is having only the essential items that you can mix and match to dress up or down, allowing you to make lots of outfits from less clothes. 

How to create a core wardrobe for women
How to create a core wardrobe for men

If you do need to buy something new, find out the best way to choose well below.

Make your clothes last
3.3 years is the average amount of time people keep their clothes in the UK before throwing them away or passing them on. Just wearing clothes for an extra 9 months can have big environmental benefits.

80% of our clothes today are made from plastic, such as polyester. Each time you wash them, many tiny strands of plastic, called microplastics, shed into the water.

But there are some simple things you can do to extend the life of your clothes, whilst reducing microplastics at the same time:
- Air out or spot clean clothes, washing fully only when you need to
- Wash at a cooler 30 degrees
- Air dry your clothes

These top 5 simple laundry hacks will take a load off your mind!

Get to know your care labels

laundry labels

Take the quiz to check what the symbols on your clothes really mean. Simply knowing the best way to wash, dry and iron your clothing is the key to making your clothes last longer.

Repair or upcycle

Whether you need to sew up a hem, alter the waist or mend a hole, Love Your Clothes has some short step-by-step video guides to help give your clothes a new lease of life.

If you want to update your wardrobe, here are some ideas for re-styling basic clothes items in a few simple steps.

Even clothes too worn to wear can be turned into something new:
Useful things to turn your old socks into
Turn old fabrics into bags, cushion covers, a laptop case and more

But there are also plenty of clothing repair and alteration organisations across Hampshire

Thread, measuring tape and scissors

We all feel that desire to get something new for a special occasion, whether that’s for a wedding or prom. But how many of us will wear that item again?

An alternative to buying new is to rent instead! The benefits of renting clothes are clear – as well as reducing your wardrobe clutter, it let’s you be adventurous and try new styles all for a fraction of the cost.

You can find plenty of occasion wear rental shops in Hampshire, specialising in formal wear and wedding dresses and suits. See our map of where to hire clothes in Hampshire.

There are also plenty of online shops where you can rent the latest fashion, including designer dresses, handbags and accessories.

Shop second-hand
Within the next decade, sales of second hand are predicted to exceed fast fashion. That means more and more of us will be hitting the charity shops and using online platforms.

When you buy second-hand clothing, four things happen:
• Compared with buying new clothes, you are helping our environment by saving water, reducing use of raw materials and cutting CO2 emissions.
• Extending the clothes lifespan by saving it from going to waste
• Encouraging a sustainable community
• Supporting a charitable cause

Find your nearest shops to buy second-hand clothes in Hampshire.

If you do have unwanted clothing, be part of the Donation Generation.

we're part of the donation generation

You can help a good cause rather than chucking your clothing in the bin where it’s lifespan ends. Even clothes that are too worn, including holey socks, can be recycled into something new if you bring it to a textiles bank.

As well as charity shops and textile recycling banks, many retail high-street shops also have take-back recycling schemes.

Choose well
When buying new, finding something that you really love will mean you’ll get much more wear out of it. Find timeless items that won’t go ‘out of fashion’ and are made to last.

To help you buy less, recognise your preferred style and fit of clothing. If there’s anything in your wardrobe that you rarely put on, think why that is and only buy clothes you know you feel comfortable wearing.

How can I tell if clothes are better quality?

When you do buy new there are some simple tell-tell signs which show us whether clothes are better quality, wherever you shop. Easy to do at first glance too!

If you’re keen to find a specific high quality item of clothing, Love Your Clothes have a detailed best-buy guide.


Maternity and children's clothing

As maternity clothing doesn’t get worn for long, and children grow up fast, see if you can find any second-hand items first.

Find out the best way to shop for fast-growing kids and make their clothing last for longer and be suitable for passing on.

Bundely is one example of a place to buy and sell children’s pre-loved clothing and accessories, as well as maternity wear. You can also find Little Pickles markets happening regularly across Hampshire where you can buy and sell baby/children’s items, prams and maternity wear.

And keep an eye out for NCT’s nearly new sales happening near you. It’s another great way to find high quality clothing at a bargain price.

Feel inspired to step away from fast fashion? Share your comments with us, your local waste prevention initiative, on Facebook (smartliving-hampshire) or Twitter (smartliving_hcc).