Type to search

Sustainable Fashion Consumption – Will 5 New Fashion Pieces a Year Satisfy Your Needs? 

Sustainable Fashion Consumption – Will 5 New Fashion Pieces a Year Satisfy Your Needs? 

Sustainable Fashion Consumption - Will 5 New Fashion Pieces a Year Satisfy Your Needs?
Listen to this story:

According to Berlin based think thank Hot or Cool Institute – managing sustainable wardrobe means buying not more than 5 fashion pieces a year (this is with the objective to stay within the planetary boundaries set in the Paris Climate Agreement)

How would you do, you think? Would 5 new fashion pieces a year be a realistic target? Could this be your challenge for 2024?

On average a US consumer purchases one mid-priced item of clothing per week and generally we only wear our clothes a handful of times. In the UK, its often quoted that a piece of clothing is only worn 7 times, before being disregarded. With ultra fast fashion brands like Shein and Temu, the speed is accelerating. The key indicators still show increased production of new clothing and more spend on fashion. This speed of consumption is harmful to the environment but also, I would argue, to our mental wellbeing. So here are a few ideas on how to fall in love with slow fashion and the advantages it can bring to our life and well-being.

(Re)Discover your personal style and your real needs: Slow fashion implies that we consume more consciously. If you :

  1. have a wardrobe that is bursting with clothes and still you feel like “I have nothing to wear” most mornings and you end up wearing the same set of clothes all the time feeling dull and uninspired
  2. you do not feel quite yourself with your clothes and your (rather frequent) shopping sprees end up with random pieces you maybe wear a few times

….. you are sure to benefit from more conscious approach!

Managing a conscious and sustainable wardrobe means that there are only pieces that fit you and correspond to your personal style, your wardrobe is joyful and includes pieces that fit your different needs and roles. Less time stressing about what to wear and more time getting joy from wearing pieces that truly reflect your personality. There are different ways to reach this goal.

RELATED ARTICLE: How AI is changing the Sustainability and Circularity in Fashion industry?

You might benefit from style coaching or style advice. Starting your conscious identity with getting clear about your personal style (including best color tones and right bodytype for you) can make a huge difference in feeling confident with your choices. It is also important to be honest about your needs, if you mostly work in an office or home office, spend time in a park with your young children and go for walks or runs to keep yourself fit – you might not need tens of party dresses hanging in your wardrobe. So it’s important to stop and reflect what type of wardrobe best serves you in the current life-style?

Once the basics is covered you can start thinking how to actively keep your wardrobe inspiring in a conscious way :

Give preference to Resale / Secondhand items : Shopping secondhand has become trendy and also so much easier. Many major brands offer resale pieces – so really no more excuses to not embrace this cheaper, more green way of consumption.

Rent occasion / special wear : You have perhaps already used rental services for special occasions like weddings or anniversary parties – but there are increasing number of platforms and services that offer rental items for day-to-day wear. Renting can be a great way to try out styles and play with ideas. As a mother, I find emerging kids clothing rental platforms a great way to manage kids wardrobes. Kids grow out from their clothes quickly, so it is logical to rent out their wardrobes. It is also a great way to install some understanding of the fashion industry’s environmental and social impact to older children and teenagers.

Try to Repair & Upcycle :

My absolute go to method for updating my wardrobe and keeping me under the 5 pieces purchases per year is to transform pieces that I no longer wear. Statistically up to 80% of our wardrobes is dormant and polluting our storage spaces. Why not make use of the pieces sitting in your wardrobe for different reasons: can the dress you are already tired of be transformed into a skirt? Can you add a new twist to your shirt by modifying its sleeves? The opportunities are endless and if you speak to a seamstress, you can probably create a couple of more! Using repair services and local tailors or seamstresses is also a great way to support local professionals. Overall, caring for your clothes, airing them, brushing knitwear (and shoes), washing with care and with correct products is both mentally rewarding and environmentally positive. For example a large part of the microplastics in our oceans and in our drinking water are coming from washing of oil-based materials like polyester.

If you follow these approach, you are likely to create a deeper connection with the pieces in your wardrobe, and you start to see more clearly where the real needs are and how they can be met in a more sustainable and more rewarding way. When you will need a new item, you will be able to make a conscious choice and invest in quality.

This article is contributed by Riikka Olli. Every week ESG News delivers smart commentary from ESG practitioners and experts to unpack issues of the day. Submit an article for editorial consideration for the ESG News Sustainable Fashion series here: [email protected]


Related Articles