When instant gratification swept through the fashion industry, it left an indelible mark on how people looked at clothes. Before the 21st-century, a major part of fashion design was sustainability. People built wardrobes around outfits that were designed to last physical and culturally for years, even decades at a time. Only the rich would swap out entire closets worth of last year’s trends to make room for the coming year’s fads. In 2017, accessible fashion shows and social media gurus have introduced everyone to the elite world of constantly changing styles and weekly fashion trends. Everyone dishes out for the latest designs as soon as they’re available, no matter how temporary their purchases are. It’s time to stop greedily chasing each new creation to hit the market. Save money and live simpler by integrating some sustainable fashion advice into your wardrobe this year.
INVEST IN QUALITY
Don’t let the voices of popular opinion convince you waiting it out for quality is a bad thing. You know durable trousers will serve you better than shredded jeans even if they cost a little more. It’s time to start applying the logic you know works so you don’t end up wasting money replacing pair after pair of trendy pants. Ironically, since operating under guidelines like this means you’ll purchase fewer clothes in a year, fashion brands aren’t all sold on the concept. They’d much rather you re-vamp your wardrobe every few months and spend your money on their latest creations. Because of this, many of the trendiest styles are never made to be durable. However, if you keep your eyes open, you can find the rare stylish piece that’s built to last. It’s worth the patience.
WASH WITH CARE
Many of the techniques we’re trained to use when cleaning our clothes are actually making them less likely to last. Any scrub is going to wear down the fabric a little, but washing your clothes in hot water and sending everything to the dry cleaning is less beneficial than you’d think. If you want to preserve your wardrobe, set the washing machine to use lower temperatures. Cold wash cycles use less energy and can extend a garment’s lifespan. Another technique to try is steaming instead of washing. Your clothes take a hard beating when they’ve spun around in a gruff machine. Airing them out on a clothesline or stringing them up to steam is a simple, less stressful way to keep your wardrobe fresh without tiring it out.
GO BIG ON RECYCLING
So many companies throw away piles of clothes when hyper-temporary trends die out. Don’t be like them. If you have outfits you don’t know what to do with, invest the time to research how you can repurpose them to match the latest styles. This isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it means deconstructing an old design and sewing it back together completely different. If that’s too complicated for you, try to imagine how you can layer and build a trendy outfit around the piece that’s out of style. Sustainable fashion is a great excuse to engage your imagination. Part of the problem with fast fashion is that it leaves no time for experimentation or invention. By recycling and updating older products, you’re killing two birds with one stone. You won’t be wasting fabric or your skills as a creative being.
REPAIR YOUR CLOTHES
We buy multi-hundred dollar jeans covered in holes and faux mud stains, but there isn’t time to think up creative ways to mend the clothes we already have. That’s truly sad. It isn’t that hard to sew on a patch or tweak a frayed hem. You just have to do it. If your wardrobe is suffering from a little wear and tear, use this sustainable fashion technique to add some kick-ass personality to your 2017 outfits. Patchwork designs made an impressive splash at New York Fashion Week, so you can be sure your inventive spirit is in good company.
It’s time sustainable fashion came back in fashion. If you integrate these simple techniques, you can be part of the movement. Let’s make fashion reasonable again.
— Julie Grossman