Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 17, 2021

If you have never given thought to the idea of having a sustainable wardrobe, creating one from scratch can be a daunting task. Coupled with the fact that the fashion industry has not been historically eco-friendly or sustainable, you may not know where to begin with the project. 

In fact, the industry represents one of the biggest contributors to negative environmental impacts. However, some of the best fashion trends in 2021 are inclined towards sustainability.

This year saw the fashion industry accelerate its efforts in creating eco-friendly products. This shift could be attributed to the pandemic, which forced people to face reality and accept the need to embrace sustainability on many fronts. The industry has attempted to promote sustainability by focusing on resource-efficient production and using eco-friendly materials. 

Some eco-friendly fashion trends you can borrow from to create your own set of habits as far as fashion is concerned are as follows.

Capsule and Minimalist Collections

Also known as the capsule wardrobe, the trend is not necessarily new but has gained much popularity in the recent past. Influencers and bloggers are drawn to the shift, because it supports sustainable fashion habits.

Embracing a minimalist collection requires that you cut down your wardrobe to the bare essentials. It’s more about having a streamlined approach to fashion. The aim is to look for functional yet versatile clothing that can fit in various situations. You end up with a concisely curated collection of clothing that never goes out of fashion. The best pieces are those you can wear to work, parties, and also use them for casual wear without looking out of place.

However, it can be more complex than you think, primarily if you're used to extensive wardrobe collections. Experts recommend throwing out, giving away, or recycling anything you’ve not worn in six months. The less you become engrossed in materialism, the less stressed you’ll be. Materialistic people are less likely to be happy.

Second-Hand Clothes Have Become Stylish

Buying second-hand clothing has continued to rise in popularity in recent years. Much of this was because of the recession a decade ago. Many consumers saw the benefits of something they previously considered a niche area. The attitude has not gone away yet, and the niche is significantly expanding as people look for reusable and sustainable clothes.

It is no wonder that brands are looking for ways to capitalize on the niche. As you shift towards building a capsule wardrobe, consider selling your gently used pieces for profit, which can be helpful to the environment. Instead of throwing them away and contributing to the textiles that pile up in landfills, find your way to a thrift store and have them give your old clothes a new life to keep them from the trash. Alternatively, you can swap them or consign them.

Invest in Trans-Seasonal Clothes

One eco-friendly fashion habit you should embrace is buying only the items you know will work for you throughout the year. For example, if you live in cold and rainy London, don't shell out the entire summer wardrobe each year. Instead, spend that money on a few pieces you are likely to wear for more than one season. For example, classic dresses, jeans, t-shirts, trench coats, and jackets make for much more suitable trans-seasonal wear.

Donate The Clothes You Don’t Wear

Don't leave the clothes you don't wear hanging in your wardrobe for years on end. Donate them for a good cause, and you will likely feel good about it. You will also help other people who are less fortunate to have more sustainable yet fashionable clothes. Instead of buying something new, they will invest in your old pieces. Live by the policy of donating one of your fashion items whenever you buy something.

Take Care of Your Clothes to Make Them Last Longer

It sounds obvious at face value, but you must remember to take care of your clothes. Whether you bought brand-new clothing or acquired it from second-hand stores, you need to treat everything in your wardrobe with some tender care. Taking good care of your clothes means:

  • Washing them less
  • Washing at low temperatures
  • Cutting down on dry cleaning
  • Paying attention to care labels

Doing this, you will replace your clothes less often. From washing your denim inside out to caring for your cashmere, make the extra effort to care for your clothes to make them last longer.

When your clothes rip or your heels break, you don't have to throw them away. Learning how to make minor repairs on clothes and accessories or paying a professional to do it for you will reduce wastage.

Choose Quality over Quantity

It’s a better decision to buy a few quality fashion pieces that will last for a long time than cheap clothing that will require replacement sooner than later. While this may cost you more at the time, it will save you money in the long run as you will reduce the frequency of acquiring new stuff. Buying 10 high-quality and fashionable items a year is better than buying 50 less eco-friendly pieces. You will dramatically help to reduce the overall carbon footprint and help you save more.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Eco-Age: “How to Care for Your Clothes- and Keep Them for Longer.”

Geneva Environment Network: “The Environmental Cost of Fashion.”

Greater Good Science Center: “How Gratitude Beats Materialism.”

Green America: “Finding New Life for Old Clothes.”

Planet Aid: “Five Ways to a Sustainable Wardrobe.”

Sustainable Fashion: “Fashioning Sustainability: How the Clothes we wear can support Environmental and Human well-being.”

World Economic Forum: “These facts show how unsustainable the fashion industry is.”

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