By Alyssa Couture
There are many ways to make your wardrobe sustainable, but here are a few specific steps to transform your current wardrobe, and your future wardrobe, and make it more sustainable, and more helpful to you and the environment. Here are 5 mindful ways to achieve a sustainable fashion wardrobe:
1. WEAR PLANT-BASED FABRICS
There are several things to do that will help support a sustainable wardrobe, and the most important is to wear fabrics made of natural, plant-based fibers. Additionally, wearing more plant-based fabrics will help us to connect with the Earth, and be more sustainable. When we purchase more plant-based fashions, we will need to harvest more and more plant crops. This naturally supports the environment– when we grow more plants.
Why should we wear cotton, hemp, bamboo, lyocell, linen, and other plant-based fabrics? Well, they are simply more comfortable to wear. At this point, plant-based fashions are a luxury. We need to introduce the magic and wonder of wearing plant-based fashions and put them back into our fashion industry and back into our lives. Plants are supernatural. They are not only earthly in appearance and aesthetics. Plant-based fabrics are futuristic and can be produced in all types of styles– for everyone.
My wardrobe is full of mostly cotton and linen fabrics. However, I do wear some coats, jackets, and shoes made of synthetic fabrics. Additionally, some of my sweatshirts are made of polyester/cotton blended fabrics. I don’t like to purchase first or second layer garments made from polyester, but if I love the design of the garment, and the blended fabrics feel comfortable to wear I will buy natural/synthetic-blended fabrics. It is really hard to get away from synthetic fabrics at this point.
In order to be considerate of the Earth– wearing plant-based fabrics will slow down synthetic textile production immediately, and this will create a healthier, sustainable environment. When companies harvest new and more plant crops all over the world: plant-based fabrics like pina– fabric made from pineapple leaves, or coconut-based accessories like buttons and trims made from coconut shells. Even the fibers of the coconut can be used in some insulating fabrics and shoes. This all will help to create a healthy environment.
Additionally, fabrics made from the ramie plant and the nettle plant are great additional plants to cultivate more into the textile and apparel industry. Ramie and nettle are two different types of plants that can be produced into extra comfortable fashion fabrics. They should be produced more predominantly soon.
The more variety of plants we wear, the less stress we put on one specific plant. It is especially good to choose fabrics that are multi-purpose plants. Multipurpose plant crops function to produce more than one product like coconut for example– its shell, its fibers, its coconut flesh, its water– all parts of the coconut can be turned into multiple products. This will help the environment flourish.
2. WEAR LESS SYNTHETIC-BASED FASHIONS
The number one most polluting industry on Earth is the oil industry. The fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting industry. This is because we are drilling into the Earth for oil, and using petroleum oil to make apparel fabrics. Petroleum oil is the predominant ingredient in polyester, nylon, and acrylic fabrics. It is not the healthiest ingredient used to make fabric.
Plants are renewable, petroleum oil is non-renewable. We can help save the Earth and support the environment by producing more fabrics made from the plants that cover the surface of the Earth. We can also cultivate more aquatic plants from our oceans and other bodies of water. For example, water lily stems are currently being tested and produced into apparel fabrics.
We should purchase and produce fashion fabrics that can be burned or biodegrade naturally. In ancient times, burning a piece of clothing was a ritual, and it was something that was therapeutic. For the person, to purge and get rid of the product by burning it– it was a holy, spiritual act.
We can’t burn polyester, acrylic, or nylon without threatening the Earth or ourselves. Additionally, when synthetic fabrics sit in the landfill, they slowly release the toxic chemicals into the air and soil.
Synthetic fabrics are the leading cause of “fast fashion.” A spinnerette that spins yarn made of petroleum oil and synthetic chemicals is much quicker, too quick to produce. That is why fast fashion is predominantly made of synthetic fabrics. The process of planting, growing, harvesting, and producing plant fibers into sustainable yarns and fabrics is more holistic.
CEREX ADVANCED FABRICS were developed by Monsanto in 1965. Most of us are all aware of this company. Along with other chemical companies, they have changed and manipulated the soil in several ways. They produced genetically modified plant crops like BT cotton, they used chemical products in the production of cultivating plant crops. Monsanto was the creator of BT cotton- a genetically modified cotton.
Monsanto was one of the first producers of nylon. They have contributed as being “the largest manufacturer and global leader of specialty nylon fabric solutions” as it is stated on their company website: CEREX ADVANCED FABRICS. Nylon– if it is not plant-based rubber, it is not healthy for the environment, or to wear, (unless, at this point, it is worn in small amounts, like lycra in leggings, for example.) Additionally, in 1956, Monsanto created and produced Acrilan, their patented acrylic-based fabric. Acrylic has been labeled “carcinogenic.”
3. LOVE YOUR WARDROBE
We all want a wardrobe that is charming and precious to us. It is wise to wear out the clothing pieces that we already own until they are loved so much that they are too worn out to wear. We should love our clothes like they are personally supporting us, and give away the garments that we don’t wear often– unless they are a piece from our collection. When we purchase clothes that we will wear for a long time, we are helping by not putting additional stress on the environment. However, disposable fashion (made of fabrics that biodegrade very quickly and are quick to make) will be a future trend. This is a fast-fashion product that doesn’t threaten the Earth.
Sometimes we feel we need to wear the trends and fads in fashion, but fashion really is an attitude. You can typically turn any garment into a modern look if your attitude is fresh and new. Karl Lagerfeld wore the same look when he went out for many years, but his fashion look never appeared dated. It was his attitude that made his fashion always in style.
4. SHOP SECONDHAND
There are still a lot of polyester-based fashions in thrift shops. 75-90 % of fashion in the stores are either synthetic or synthetic/plant-based blended fabrics. I don’t “hate” synthetic fashions- because they have kept us safe, warm, and fashionable. Many synthetic fashions are still practical to wear.
So, if you shop second-hand and can’t find all your favorite clothing items in cotton or linen, choose synthetic fabrics that are ergonomic. Choose synthetic fabrics that are ultra-comfortable to wear. Garments made from polyester should preferably be worn as the second or third layers of a look. Unless it is very cold out. The synthetics fabrics trap heat to keep the body warm.
5. CREATE YOUR FUTURE WARDROBE MINDFULLY
When you go to buy new clothes, choose a selection of innovative brands with futuristic concepts, and new, fresh ideas. Brands that are sincere about sustainability and passionate about fashion design.
Choose to purchase versatile fashions from a variety of trustworthy brands and companies, whether they are local or not, or mainstream or not, or whether they produce high fashion or low fashion, any fashion brand should be included in your wardrobe if they produce fashions you love. Try on the clothing, make sure it feels perfect on. If you shop online– try to find similar designs in stores and try them on to make sure you like the shape and look of the garment.
You can also try styling apps where you can upload a photo of yourself, and try on different styles virtually. Zeekit, for example, is a fashion styling app where everyone can be a model, and try clothes online as virtual models. This is a great way to get to know your style and personality more. It will make it much easier to shop for new clothes too.
So, these are 5 easy ways to build a sustainable wardrobe, and these are a few of my personal favorite things to do, in order to build a sustainable wardrobe. I hope it may inspire your current and new wardrobes.
Alyssa Couture is a fashion author and fashion entrepreneur. She feels fashion is an opportunity to attain health and healing. She claims the existence of fashion can be interpreted and experienced with a deeper purpose: fashion as an alternative medicine for mind/body/spirit. Her sole motive is to bring fashion into its course as a therapeutic, healing tool. To awaken the consciousness of the human spirit via fashion into its transmission of divine activity for overall human wellbeing and ultimate planetary awakening. You can buy her book on the website: Healthy Fashion https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/ayni-books/our-books/healthy-fashion