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Wear Clothes To Last

Wear Clothes To Last

If you only buy clothes when you really need to, and spend your money on better quality or second hand items, you can reduce your carbon pollution, make your money go further and support the causes you believe in.

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WHY

From farming materials to dying, cutting, sewing and transporting clothing, the fashion industry is responsible for vast amounts of carbon pollution, water pollution and water consumption - about 5.4% of total carbon pollution in 2015. Buying better-made new and second-hand clothes will reduce your carbon pollution and encourage retailers to behave responsibly across the supply chain.

It’s not just carbon. The fashion industry is water-intensive too. For example it can take up to 2,720 litres of water to produce one cotton t-shirt. That is about the amount of water that an average person drinks over 3 years.

Wearing clothes to last has other benefits too. High quality clothes can be expensive but often last much longer and fit better. Buying second-hand means you can enjoy quality clothes at very low prices. Finally, if you chose to buy second-hand from a charity shop, you’re also donating your money to causes you believe in.

HOW

Buy it second-hand

Explore charity shops, online vintage outlets or platforms like eBay for second-hand hidden treasures.

Swap it

If you want to avoid buying new but still need a different outfit there are a few options. Consider borrowing from a friend, or setting up a clothes swap party with your neighbours. If you need something more regularly, consider a clothing subscription service where you can borrow outfits each month, return them and swap for something different.

Buy to last

Sometimes we all need to buy new clothes. If you do, make sure it’s made to last, and produced using sustainable practices. A polyester shirt has almost double the carbon footprint of a cotton shirt, so buy natural and organic where you can.

Pass it on

If you get tired of wearing something or it just doesn’t work for you any more, don’t throw it away. Find a loving new home for it, either by donating it, selling it or finding a completely different use for it.

References

Fashion Industry accounted for 5.4% of global emissions in 2015:
Global Fashion Agenda

Water consumption of a T Shirt:
Environmental Justice Foundation

Impact metric calculations:

Carbon footprint of clothing based on data from Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) (2017) 'Valuing our clothes', combined with data on clothing consumption by HoC Environmental Audit Committee (2019), 'Fixing fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability' (p40).

We interpret buying new clothes ‘occasionally’ as the national average (4.45 kg of clothing bought in two months), with ‘rarely’ assumed to be 30% and ‘frequently’ being double the average.

We assume that how you dispose of your clothing doesn’t significantly alter the carbon or water footprint, but it does impact the waste savings.

By buying second hand clothes, we reduce the clothing carbon footprint by 50%, as you can’t fully ignore the impact on the clothing system, even if you aren’t buying brand new.