Slow Fashion: How to Clear Out Your Wardrobe Responsibly
In part 1 of Stylecamp's #slowfashion series, What is Slow Fashion?, we looked at the definition of slow fashion and what it means for both consumers, brands and ultimately the environment. With creating minimal waste in mind, in part 2, we take the first step into creating your own slow fashion wardrobe with Stylecamp's guide to sorting your wardrobe with minimal impact on the environment.
1. ASSESS YOUR WARDROBE
If reading those manufacturing statistics from the first article made you stop and think about your shopping habits, then you've made the first steps towards a conscious-fashion wardrobe already.
Next is to take a good look at the items you already own. As these statistics from Fashion Revolution show, the appeal of cheap, fast-fashion items has caused many of us to excessively hoard clothing that has no meaning, leaving items unworn, unloved and taking up space in our wardrobes.
Pictures c/o Fashion Revolution - a donation was made to the charity to use this imagery
If you're looking to clear out some of that clutter, start your wardrobe asessment by sorting it into sections: KEEP, NOT SURE and LET GO*. The KEEP pile is for all those pieces you cherish, including items you wear regularly and ones that serve a clear purpose. Your NOT SURE and LET GO piles will need a bit of closer examination.
*Important: Don't feel like you have to clear everything 'fast-fashion' out in order to be 'greener'. There's no harm in owning these items if you genuinely love and wear them often; the idea here is to simply assess what you have and work out what you no longer wear. It's also a great way of learning how to avoid those impulse purchases in the future.
With your NOT SURE pile, the easiest question you can ask yourself is 'does it fit?'. Be honest with yourself and if it's a no in the long term, move that item to your LET GO pile.
With your remaining NOT SURE items, consider if they are reflective of your personal style. Is it particularly useful? Is it versatile? Can you style it at least 3 different ways with the items in your KEEP pile? If your answer is yes but you're still not sure, think about if an item has sentimental value to you or if you will ever realistically wear it again. Move to the KEEP and LET GO piles as appropriate.
2. LETTING GO - WHAT TO DO WITH UNWANTED CLOTHING
We all have to admit to having excess, damaged and unworn items in our wardrobes, however, the most important thing is to clear the clutter in a responsible way. As these statistics show, a lot more needs to be done when it comes to textile recycling.
Pictures c/o Fashion Revolution
Now that you've sorted your wardrobe, the next step is to avoid sending it to landfill at all costs. Assess what's left and look at whether you can repair, upcycle or re-purpose something. I love the idea of something that has sentimental value but can no longer be worn being turned into something practical and personal like a new top or even a cushion cover.
For good quality items that haven't had a lot of wear, consider selling them on one of the many marketplace apps that are out there - a little extra cash for yourself is never a bad thing. Ask friends or family if they would be interested having any of it, you never know, they may have been eyeing that piece up for ages - better still, organise a swap session with them!
If you don't have the time for selling apps, then donating good quality items to charity is always a good option, with the knowledge of them going on to help good causes. As an alternative to charity shops which are often overloaded with stock, you can try churches, homeless shelters and womens' refuge centres where you can be sure the clothing goes directly to those in need.
For anything else that's well worn or damaged beyond repair, take it to textile recycling (note, this is not part of household recycling!). You'll often find textile recycling containers at supermarkets and local amenity tips or some retailers even have points in-store where you can donate your unwanted clothing.
Even old undies can be broken down into fibres and used again, so whatever you do, don't send anything to landfill!
Next in Stylecamp's #slowfashion series, we'll look at ways to be more conscious with your fashion choices to keep that wardrobe in check.