New year new you Do not be absurd. The only resolutions you need to make this year are those to serve the planet. With the news flurry of forest fires, droughts, floods, tornadoes, and melting ice shelves, as we go into 2022, most of us (with the exception of oil giants and governments, it seems) would like the environment to be easy, knowing how to be difficult doing that while still designing, creating, buying and participating in fashion; an industry so often – and rightly – called the main culprit of ecological collapse.
With that in mind, whether you’re thinking about shopping better or having trouble understanding the sustainability issue as a designer, here are 10 ways you can start the new year with the planet in mind.
1. Use what is already there
It is estimated that between 80 billion and 150 billion Garments are made every year. Granted, there’s a huge gap between these two characters, but whichever you choose, a lot of clothing is being made for a planet home to nearly 8 billion people. And that’s just clothing, of course – not taking into account the many meters of fabric that are produced every year and either wasted with leftover pieces or simply never made into wearable pieces.
The world is already bursting with incredible fabrics and clothing, so it makes ecological sense to use what is available instead of putting more pressure on new, virgin resources. Get inspiration from those who have taken more innovative approaches. Duran Lantink joins and sews unworn garments to create new creations. Nicole McLaughlin makes clothing and accessories from tennis balls, Haribo packages, and everything in between. American design house Collina Strada Mix deadstock fabrics with innovative biomaterials. And then there’s The resuscitation and The slum studiowho use both their design skills and creativity to recycle clothing waste left on their doorstep due to the colonial practice of dumping clothing from the global north Kantamanto market, Accra.
2. Borrow and swap
Using what you already have goes into creating outfits, not just the clothes themselves. When you don’t have the right piece for a particular occasion, or just want to try a new look, our first instinct is often to buy something new to to complete it. However, the perfect item is likely to be in someone else’s closet. Ask friends and family if you could borrow something from them that you love (and be willing to return the favor in the sharing economy sense), attend a community clothes swapping event, or even organize an event or one of the new ones Try out rafts of peer-to-peer sharing apps. Nuw allows you to swap clothes with other users while By rotation is the social rental app that lets you rent items straight from other people’s closets. Even designer stores like Selfridges get involved.
3. Do what you sell
the combustion, destruction and Landfill the unsold inventory proves that fashion overproduces. To (over) simplify why this is happening, brands are essentially risking an estimate of how many units they can sell and manufacture accordingly, and often this leads to them sitting on it Billion pounds Value of shares not sold. If you are a fashion retailer, perhaps the easiest way to avoid this is to revisit how fashion works and just make what you sell.
A tailor-made business model not only saves waste and resources, but you can also offer individual options such as tailor-made fits or individual colors to further personalize the relationship between the garment and the wearer. On-demand makes a lot of sense for small batch manufacturers, but even if you want to expand, you can still use the model. Thanks to innovations in manufacturing technology, there are now many factories that offer this service.
67% of consumers say high prices are daunting when buying sustainable products, and fast fashion brands capitalize on the perception that sustainability is priceless by saying that they are democratizing fashion with “accessible” products. Of course, everyone needs clothing, not just to keep warm, but to express themselves and gain social acceptance. However, we are buying more than ever, and throw away more than eversuggesting that we often buy more than we really need – or actually wear.
The average UK buyer spends â¬ 40 per month when shopping for clothes online, so if your income allows, instead of buying multiple cheap items that you only wear a few times, you save for one – or a few key pieces that you will cherish forever. That said, if you don’t have the extra income to save and buy fast fashion because you can afford it, you shouldn’t feel guilty about working with what you have. We can make changes that go beyond our shopping cart.
5. Think about the end of life
The fashion industry rarely thinks about the end of life, such as what happens to a product when it breaks or a consumer is done with it. That’s why we see clothes stack across the globe. The rules of “extended manufacturer responsibility” try to change this by making manufacturers responsible for the disposal of their products. But while some brands are throwing money into the problem, there are far more creative solutions.
The key is to ask yourself a few questions during the design process. Could that be easily taken apart? Could that be made into something else? Am I willing to take this back when my client is done with it? Am I just aggravating the waste problem? From there you can work out the answers. Let yourself be inspired by Repair fashion and create online tutorials to make something new out of your garments, sell garments you no longer need to be returned to you, or design your pieces so that they can be easily disassembled for reuse and recycling without the need to avoid using adhesives and mixed materials.
6. Do things with multiple uses
Most people buy based on the occasion or use; let’s say a sequin dress for a party or a tote bag for shopping. The need for multiple things that suit our lifestyle only speeds up consumption. So think about how you can develop products that meet more than one need. Petit pli specializes in making garments that will grow with children and has expanded into adult clothing to accommodate maternity wear and fluctuating sizes. Emre Pakel, on the other hand, creates trench coats, pants and dresses that turned into bags.
Push the limits of your cutting and design skills to create adaptable, modular, and versatile pieces that guide users through a variety of events and stages in life, and reduce the need to constantly purchase new products.
7. Experiment with biomaterials
âEverything you do returns to earth as food or poison,â says Celine Semaan from Slow factory, and if you’re working with fossil fuel-based plastics that end up in landfills, the latter is most likely. It is estimated that plastics account for 69% to 73% of total fiber production worldwide 2030, with polyester accounting for 85%.
We’re at a point where we have to leaving fossil fuels in the ground Fortunately, there are a number of exciting new bio-based fabrics and fibers to experiment with. Collina Strada used Rose sylkmade from the waste of rose bushes and stems; Nike and Chanel have used PiÃ±atex, a “leather” made from pineapple leaf fibers; Stella McCartney made a co-ord out mushroom leather grown in the laboratory; and Vollebak has developed a t-shirt from Seaweed.
8. Make second hand your first choice
As mentioned earlier, billions of items of clothing are made every year, which means that if you have something new in mind, an exact version of it probably already exists somewhere in the world. Given that fashion works in cycles and everything is pretty much a repetition of something that used to be, why not buy the original instead of the modern copy?
The existence of charities, Depop, Vinted, eBay, vintage shops, Vestiaire Collective and TheRealReal as well as a variety of private label resale platforms such as Mara Hoffmann and Levis, means there is an option for all budgets. Before clicking buy something brand new, be sure to check out the thrift platforms. It may take a little longer, but it will ease the pressure on the planet and most likely save you some money too.
9. Offer service as a product
Service as a product (often abbreviated as SaaP) is a central principle of the circular economy, as it displaces the production of new goods. Of course, the goal of many creative people is to produce things, but services can be just as creative and satisfying.
Helen Kirkum is offering ‘SaaP’ with her heritage Line that combines the coveted sneakers of customers into a new, completely unique pair. Renting out clothes is ‘SaaP’, as is repairing clothes. Selling patterns instead of clothing, hosting workshops, teaching people to sew, embroider or crochet, and adapting existing clothing or accessories are all services that require skill and creativity but do not require the manufacture and sale of new products. Offering services makes you no less a designer or a creative than a manufacturer – you just take a different path.
10. Literally do nothing
The great thing about protecting the environment is that the less you do, the greater your impact. As Orsola de Castro of the fashion revolution saidâThe most sustainable garment is the one that is already in your closet.â So instead of buying used or sustainably produced clothing, you can justâ¦ not buy anything. It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it will help you completely reevaluate your relationship with clothing and consumption.
Buying nothing may sound extreme (and there may be some absolute necessities that you can’t do without), but buying that much is a new invention normalized by brands that want your money. It doesn’t take any time, money or effort which makes it perhaps the easiest action you could ever ask for.