Fashion is the world’s second most polluting industry, following oil production, and now the impact of years of fast-fashion cannot be ignored. In the UK alone, an estimated £300 million worth (around 1 million tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill every year!
The staggering issues with fashion may seem too huge to combat, especially as a penniless student, but being a better consumer doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming! Extending the life of your clothes by just three months can lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints, while also saving yourself a bit of dollar. So here’s a few simple guidelines to making the most of your clothes:
With all due respect, those gorgeous Primarni boots will fall to pieces as soon as it rains and you know it! Sure it’s a bargain now, but if you have to replace it constantly then those bargains start adding up, so don’t waste money continually buying things that fall apart and save up for something that will last. Quality goods can also be mended more successfully, a decent pair of shoes can be taken to the cobblers and last you twice as long! In the long run you’ll spend about the same without the waste.
Don’t Let Trends Dictate What You Wear
You made it to uni, you can cook and clean for yourself, you’re basically a proper grown up now so why on earth are you depending on the high-street to tell you what to wear!? Shops aren’t your friends, they tell you flares look good on you… terrible friends!
I’m not saying don’t shop at all, but slow down your pace, there’s little point in buying clothes with an expiry date. You are your own person and your style should reflect that, not changing your look to the whims of fashion.
Make Your Wardrobe Work
We all have that top that’s a little too short and only looks good with that one pair of trousers, but those trousers are a little too formal for the pub so you’ll just wear something else, maybe a dress tonight? Not this dress though as you’re feeling a little bloated, but those shoes don’t really go with that dress. Oh dear!
Instead of you compromising for your clothes, your clothes should work for you. Don’t buy things that only match with one other garment, as when it’s dirty you’ll have “nothing to wear” and need to shop again! Be more mindful about the different outfits you can create with your clothes. If something is right, but just a little bit wrong when you wear it, then alterationist’s are only a couple of quid, and it means clothes you love will suit you much better!
Simply devastating when that pair of jeans that go with everything and make your backside look fantastic wear out at the crotch! Suddenly you’re faced with public indecency or settling for a sub-par pair that’ll never fill the void.
As we’ve established, you’re basically a grown up, and as a (sort-of) grown up you have no excuse for not knowing how to replace a button, and you should be able to sew a basic patch. If not you then surely you can find someone who will know how! Brighton Uni has a wide array of Fashion and Textiles based courses as well as a Stitch & Bitch society, so there’s plenty of students who know how to thread a needle, one might be able to show you how to patch up your favourite pieces.
Give Clothes An Afterlife
You loved that sweater, you had a good run, but you are both ready to move on. Luckily there’s so many things you can do to lengthen you clothes’ lifespan.
Have a clothes-swapping night in, or give them to younger siblings or cousins who’ll think they’re the coolest. You could let your mates go through your unwanted stuff, but be warned this does come with the risk of them looking better in it! Brighton is brimming with charity shops and charity shoppers, but if going in-store sounds like a mission then each campus conveniently has Traid collection bins nearby, so you can drop off a bag on your way to a lecture.
Additionally, old jeans, t-shirts and (clean) boxers make great wash cloths for around the house, if and when you clean!
So in 2016, save the planet while saving yourself a few pennies on clothes!
Written By Sarah-Mary Geissler