Sustainability: a topic widely discussed by government, schools and the fashion industry alike.

By now, we’re all aware we need to make a change in the way we consume, but while you obviously want to help the environment, it often seems too big of an issue to resolve on your own. And when it comes to fashion in particular, the issue just seems out of control.

The constant churn of “New In” sections online and on the high street literally fuels our environmental dilemma, instilling within us this careless, non-stop buying behaviour. And as a student –  specifically a fashion student – the pressure to consume everything new is even more present. At a recent lecture I attended from the Centre of Sustainable Fashion (part of the London College of Fashion) we found out that in the first 3 months of last year, nearly ¼ million pieces went to landfill.

What are we doing?! I realised we have got to stop throwing away our clothing, so I came up with 5 tips on how to be more environmentally conscious with your clothes:

Split it up

When I asked the Centre of Sustainable Fashion how, we can do our part as students, a representative suggested we ‘change the way we view our wardrobes.’ She recommended we split our clothes into three sections: one section for stuff to take to the charity shop; one for the more expensive, high quality or meaningful pieces we may own; and the other section for fast fashion (which includes all high street labels). Once sectioned, and old clothes taken to the charity shop, try to limit how many pieces of fast-fash you buy moving forward, and instead, build up the missing areas of your wardrobe with second hand stuff.

Restore

Lucky enough to own some designer pieces? Even these pieces are mortal to wear and tear (and even stains), so I recommend taking them to The Restory. This company is known for its repair and colour restoration services for your valuable items. Some of the services are a little pricey, but if the existing damage to your collectables is getting you down or even stopping you from getting any use out of them, then it may well be worth it.

Give

I have a friend who is lucky enough to receive numerous pieces of clothing for free because she works in fashion, but she generously gives them away to her friends instead. However, you don’t have to receive freebies or work in fashion to take part in this activity. We all have items of clothing buried at the bottom of our drawers that we need to get rid of, so why not give them to our nearest and dearest? Who knows, they may surprise you with something in return.

Save

It’s not only us shoppers that are trying to be wary of our carbon footprint, the high street stores are also trying to do their part and the H&M group are one of the best at doing it. Take a bag of your unwanted pieces of clothing to any &Other Stories, Monki or H&M stores and you will be rewarded with a voucher (usually 10% off your next purchase.) Why not invest that voucher into something you know you’re going to get a high wear return from? For example, a timeless coat or chunky woollen knit.  

Earn

As a student, it’s a bonus if you can help the environment and earn a few pennies while you’re at it. There are so many clothes-selling websites and apps to choose from, but the downside to all of them are that you have to wait to get rid of your clothes, meaning they take up space in your home until someone places an order. Thrift+ on the other hand is different. They do all the admin for you in terms of image taking and accompanying descriptions – plus you actually receive 25% of the profits. All you have to do is order a Thrift box for free, fill it with your unwanted items and choose one of the local drop off points to return it. Easy.

Fashion is supposed to be fun – one of its advantages is that we can fluctuate between styles without committing and be whoever we want to be on any given day. But with this freedom in dressing, our buying should be done with more thought and consideration. If we all did something as small as reducing our trips to the high street and increasing our visits to a charity shop instead, perhaps not as many pieces of clothing will be reported dumped in landfill at the end of this year and the year after.  H

Words: Emilie Hill