Written by Alina Gao
If you’ve ever wondered, how do I make my clothing more sustainable?, you’re in the right place.
Fast fashion is a huge issue, polluting the world and exploiting workers, so following these steps
may help the world more than you expect. While it may seem difficult at first, you’ll soon realize that it’s
not as hard as you think it is to incorporate these small lifestyle changes into your life.
- The first tip is not about buying, but about wearing. Wear a piece of clothing at least 30 times to
make it worth the environmental impact. That’ll also make you come up with new outfit ideas and
just wear your clothing more, causing you to buy less pieces! Overconsumption is a huge factor of
- Check your clothing label! Try to not buy countries like Bangladesh and because their workers are
often exploited. Also check the materials for synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and
spandex. These materials, derived from oils, often mean that the clothing piece is not sustainable.
- Resist impulsive purchases! Try to envision the piece in at least five outfits. Ask yourself, do I
really love this piece? This will help with buying too much, and then not wearing any of them,
causing them to be thrown away and added to the landfill.
Instead of throwing something away, try repairing, donating, selling, or upcycling it. Some
upcycling videos I love are by Bestdressed, a Youtuber who specializes in fashion videos! You can
sell your clothing on Poshmark or Depop, or even Facebook marketplace. It’s a great way to be
sustainable and make a little money. For repairing, Patagonia offers a service that repairs any
article of clothing you bought from them for free, no matter how long ago you bought it. Also, by
simply sewing you can probably fix most clothing problems, like holes or fallen buttons.
- Take care of your clothing to help them last longer, which reduces your need to buy more. Try
washing your clothing pieces less often (and only things that actually touch your skin, so to help
make your sweaters less linty, wear a tank top underneath). Always wash your clothing in cold
water, and air dry them. If you need to use a dryer, go with the lowest temperature and longest
amount of time. This saves energy and it’ll keep your clothing in the best condition.
- When it comes to shopping, the best way to purchase sustainably is to go thrifting. You can find a
local thrift store, or go to Poshmark or Depop. While sustainable clothing shops are better than
fast fashion, they’re still new and take up resources. They’re also usually super expensive and
unaffordable for many people. Thrifting does have a few controversies, but in general as long as
you actually need the pieces you buy and don’t take pieces that are in high demand, it is okay. For
example, plus size clothing is usually limited, so try to avoid thrifting those pieces. Everything else
is fair game!
- Check a brand’s sustainability rating by going to Good on You and searching the brand name.
They’re also a great way to find eco-friendly brands with a wide range of prices. You can also look
for these things, to see whether or not a brand is sustainable: How many pieces do they have on
their website/in store? Sustainable brands usually only have a few pieces per category, because
they try not to overproduce. How expensive are these pieces? Sustainable pieces are typically
more expensive. What materials is the clothing piece made out of? Do your research – see if it’s
sustainable! Overall, to see if a brand is sustainable, try searching up the brand name, and see
what pops up when you do.
- Do your best to limit your shopping to one piece per month. Instead of instinctively going to
clothing shops, or going to the clothing area, try buying something else, or doing something else.
Try another hobby! You can also try building a capsule wardrobe, where instead of buying a lot of
cheap pieces, you invest in a smaller amount of quality pieces. Slow fashion is all about focusing
more on quality instead of quantity, which capsule wardrobes are prime examples of. Here are
some videos to check out on this topic.
Why should you care? Because fast fashion can be deadly. Rana Plaza, a factory collapse in Bangladesh,
killed over 1,500 workers. Many workers are also being exploited and abused, while being paid far below a
living wage. Environmentally, fast fashion pollutes water with microfibers and dyes. It also leads to a
growing landfill and carbon dioxide being released in the process of making. If we allow fast fashion to
continue at the rate it’s currently at, our world will continue to become inhabitable.
Sustainable fashion is extremely significant in today’s day and age. Both the ecological and
social aspects of fast fashion negatively affect millions of people and the entire planet. And eco-friendly
fashion doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult! These small changes are super easy to incorporate into
your life, and even if you just educate yourself, you’ll find yourself making changes. You can modify these
steps to make them better fit for you. As long as everyone tries their best, even making mistakes, the world
will become better.
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it
imperfectly.” – Anne Marie Bonneau.