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Environmentally Friendly Clothes in My Wardrobe

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Fast Fashion has huge impacts on the earth. WHat do you think when you are eyeing-out a new top? You are most probably asking yourself if it really looks good on you, and then whether or not you can afford it, before deciding that it is most definitely worth splurging on because you just love it so much. We are constantly on the lookout for new clothing that keeps up with the ever-changing trends and fast-fashion that classifies today’s clothing industry. But what exactly are the effects that this consumerism has on the world around you?

The dictionary definition of a carbon footprint is the total Carbon Dioxide that is released into the atmosphere by any one person, business or community because of their activities. In this case, it would be the fashion carbon footprint, which would be the carbon footprint of the fashion industry and the production of clothing. According to the New York Post, the fashion industry creates more carbon dioxide than the amount that shipping and international flights create combined. When looking at the carbon footprint of this industry it is almost impossible to calculate this accurately as there are many factors to take into consideration: farming, harvesting and manufacturing of the materials to name a few. There are however solutions to reducing this carbon footprint.

Sustainable textiles are becoming increasingly more popular as many consumers and businesses are now far more aware of their impact on the environment. There are many alternatives to the cotton and polyester that are used extensively in the fashion industry. These textiles include hemp, bamboo and linen. There is also a new textile, recycled polyester, which is made from 100% recycled items, usually drinks bottles used to make hi-tech fleece jackets. These jackets are also able to be recycled themselves, which is again good for the environment. So, the next time you are looking at an item of clothing, think about whether or not you could alternatively buy it in a sustainable fabric, and help the environment in the process of being fashionable.

The term “fast fashion” may be a term that you are becoming increasingly more familiar with, and what it means is cheap designs that move quickly from catwalk to stores to capture trends and make them available to you, the consumer, at a low price. Because we are constantly wanting to keep up with the trends, we are buying into this fast fashion. These fashion ‘fads’ don’t last very long, and we end up only wearing an item three or four times before throwing it into the back of our cupboards. Or you rather dispose of it as you no longer have any use for it. Because of the constant purchasing and disposing of clothing, more and more garments need to be made, contributing to the strain on the environment. Once the clothing is thrown away, it usually ends up in landfills, where is takes an extremely long time to decompose if organic – or never decomposes at all if it is not – and can emit dangerous chemicals during this process. All of this adds up, meaning more space is needed for disposal of these garments, and more chemicals are therefore released, meaning more global warming and air pollution. So, think about that the next time you make an impulsive purchase that you know you won’t wear more than two or three times.

Fairtrade Mark

There is an alternative to buying this fast-fashion, and it is eco-fashion, whereby minimal harm is inflicted on the environment during the clothing production process. There are however a few issues with purchasing this eco-fashion. One of the biggest issues is that people are less willing to buy these items as they are usually far more expensive than regular clothing items because they are produced using low-impact organic crops, which are not genetically-modified and are not grown using pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, meaning that there is a higher risk of producing these plants and they also take longer to grow and so the price needs to be increased to cover costs. Overall though, eco-fashion is far better for the environment as it uses less water, produces less carbon dioxide and takes into account the environment and all the people involved in each step of the process, so rather try to buy eco-fashion in smaller quantities, than fast fashion in larger quantities as you will be benefitting your surrounding environment and the people involved.

In textile and clothing production, there are many ethics and social responsibility factors involved that you should consider when deciding on clothing to buy. The first is Fair Trade. This was established in 2009 and according to the Fairtrade website it “serve[s] the interests and rights of farmers, workers and producers in South Africa” and was created to help the producers in developing countries to achieve better trading conditions. You as a consumer can identify your clothing as Fairtrade by seeing whether or not it has the Fairtrade mark on it. The next one is the Proudly South African campaign. This campaign addresses the issue of job creation and the supporting of local goods and services by individuals and organisations and encourages people to buy local to improve the South African economy, create more jobs and restore pride in our country. To identify if your clothing is made in South Africa, look if it has the Proudly South African mark on it, meaning that “at least 50% of the cost of production must be incurred in South Africa and there must be ‘substantial transformation’ any imported materials, ” according to the organisation’s Karamba Jabbie. Proudly South African Logo.

The last factor that considers social and ethical responsibility is organic production. Organic clothing is clothing that is produced using materials raised or grown with the organic agricultural standards in mind. It also means the materials are grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides which damage the soil and surrounding ecosystem. It can be cotton, silk, Ramie, Jute, hemp or wool. A fabric is considered organic if it is 95% produced with organic fibres and materials. If you want to rather make a positive impact than a negative one when you throw away your perfectly-wearable-worn-twice-clothes, recycle this clothing. Recycling doesn’t necessarily mean sending it off to be pulled apart and made into something completely different, it can mean a number of different things. The first thing you can do is resell. If your clothes are still perfectly wearable, it is pretty easy to sell them, by taking them to a thrift shop, or even using social media as a platform to sell to the people around you. Another way is one in which you can benefit the lives of more underprivileged people by donating your clothing to a homeless shelter, organisation, or to your local church where they send them off to people in need. You can also upcycle your old, torn-up clothing by cutting it up and making it into rags to clean your house or your car with. You can also easily make other items of clothing using your old clothing and it is very easy to find these ideas all over the internet. There is, however, also the option of actually recycling your clothing, and there are many places that can do this for you. There are large organisations, such as H&M – where you can drop off your clothes at any store globally and it will be recycled –, Nike – who make any of your old shoes into courts, fields, tracks and playground – or North Face who recycle your clothing from any brand at their stores. There are also a number of other business who will recycle your clothing for you.

Recycling your clothing is far better than turning it to refuse! There are plenty of celebrities who are trying to create and awareness for eco-fashion and looking after the environment with your clothing purchases. Many people look up to these celebrities and so if they are promoting this, then others will join in too. Emma Watson is one of the most prominent celebrities in this eco-fashion movement. She has a site that promotes sustainable fashion and natural beauty, Feel Good Style. She has also worked with high-end designer Alberta Ferretti to design an eco-range called Pure Threads in 2011. Stella McCartney is an eco-friendly designer and possibly the most well-known one. Her fashion house uses eco-friendly and sustainable business practices such as the use of organic fabrics and renewable energy, as well as not using leath er or fur in any of her designs. She shows other designers and people in the fashion industry that it is possible to produce eco-friendly fashion that people will buy, and also promotes other less-known brands who are environmentally-friendly. Another environmentally-conscious celebrity is supermodel Christy Turlington Burns. Although she does not have an eco-fashion line, she is creating awareness through a series called ‘Threading: Driving Fashion Forward’, which is about the living and working conditions of garment workers and the change that need to happen.

Emma Watson is a leader in eco-friendly fashion. Even though you are not a celebrity and cannot influence hundreds of people, there are still ways that you can make a difference as a consumer. Instead of buying multiple items of clothing, rather buy fewer, high-quality items that will last a long time – quality over quantity. Also buy clothing in classic styles, such as the little black dress, a blazer, a pencil skirt, a button-up shirt or dark wash jeans. These items will always be in fashion and can easily be paired with multiple other clothing items. This way you will save lots of money and consuming far less. Another way is to buy from the eco-friendly clothing stores – although they are more expensive, buying the classic styles that are often sold there will benefit you and the environment in the long run. Also, don’t buy clothing made from cotton as it takes a lot of water to produce and so is not environmentally-friendly, rather choose one of the textiles listed previously in the article.

Now that you are armed with all of this over-whelming information, about carbon-footprints, eco-fashion and sustainability, remember it the next time you go shopping. Think about the environment and your impact that you are having on it – surely you would rather have a positive impact than a negative one? And you can have the satisfaction of telling your friends that not only do you look fashionable, you are helping the environment by buying the clothes you are wearing – the true definition of ‘guilt-free’ shopping!

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Environmentally Friendly Clothes In My Wardrobe. (2020, July 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from
“Environmentally Friendly Clothes In My Wardrobe.” GradesFixer, 14 Jul. 2020,
Environmentally Friendly Clothes In My Wardrobe. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 Aug. 2022].
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