It’s a topic on everyone’s agendas; how can we be more sustainable and mindful of the environment when newness is always ever-changing and thrust upon us?
Luckily, in the wake of the pandemic and a year of reconsidering how best we live our lives (plus a few words of stern warning by David Attenborough), it seems that 2021 can be considered as a year to make subtle lifestyle changes that have a big impact on the world we live in.
CUSTOMISE YOUR CLOSET
From rips to patches and even the simple switch up of a button, customising your own clothes, shoes and accessories breathes a new life into a pre-loved item that you might think you’re ‘done’ with. Maximise on current fashion trends by altering your pieces to make truly unique items that you’ll continue to love forever. Even fixing worn-out items improves the longevity of your clothes and will help reduce the throw-away culture of fast fashion. Rather than opting to replace straight away, look for other alternatives to make your closet last through innovative customisations.
FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH YOUR WARDROBE
After a year of living in loungewear and jogging bottoms, we have neglected our normal wardrobes. So, with things looking *slightly* more positive this year, allow me to get you reacquainted with your old clothes. Fall back in love with items you haven’t worn (or possibly seen) since pre-pandemic times, and relish in the joy of putting outfits together again. Chances are, that your style may have changed in the last year so you’ll be looking at your closet with fresh eyes. By making the most of your closet of yesteryear, you won’t be tempted to buy into fast fashion trends and add to over-consumption. Additionally, in a year that challenged the stigma of outfit repeating, wearing your looks more than once isn’t a taboo anymore; if anything it’s greatly welcomed. So show your previous pieces a little love and show them off more than once!
Veganism and vegetarianism have fast become more popular choices over the last few years. Restaurants, take-aways and even supermarkets have made accessing and buying meat-free items a lot easier and the stigma of not consuming meat is rapidly changing. Choosing a plant-based lifestyle, even just a couple of days in the week, will make a significant impact on the planet. It’s been well-documented that consuming meat contributes to deforestation, killing wildlife and climate change, therefore reducing your meat intake can help combat that. Plus, vegetables actually make some incredible tasting meals, making a fine substitute!
HAIL THE STAYCATION
The Covid-19 pandemic has stopped us from living normal lives in more ways than one. However, it doesn’t all have to be a negative response; we’ve all had to acclimatize to new regulations and one of those includes how to holiday. Last year, you were lucky if you made it to your neighbouring town, let alone a foreign country, so 2021 is set to bring back the love (and appreciation) for the humble staycation. With a plethora of gorgeous beaches, quaint towns and metropolitan cities, stick to homegrown soils for your vacation of choice. By not flying overseas by plane, you’re reducing your carbon footprint dramatically. Where possible, opt for train travel over cars (unless electric) to capitalise on a really conscious break!
Websites like eBay, Depop and Vinted have become more prevalent over the last few years and look set to rise even further. When the coronavirus pandemic first hit, clearing out your closet became a lockdown task to alleviate boredom, and with charity shops shut, selling items on these resale sites rocketed. One man’s trash really is another man’s treasure, so give your pre-loved items the chance to be loved again by selling them on.
Additionally, companies are also seeing the appeal and impact resale culture has. Cos, owned by the H&M group have recently launched their own platform where consumers can resell their own Cos items. An innovative move by the business and likely one that others will follow, emphasising the trend to reuse what has already been bought amongst shoppers.
Resale sites are also an ideal place to source your own wardrobe. Instead of buying into the latest, fad trend, consider that you might be able to get a better quality piece, for a better price, second-hand, without contributing to an unsustainable fashion cycle.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Fast fashion was once the queen of the catwalk, but the growing demand for sustainability and solutions to the eco crisis has called for us consumers to want to know more, if not everything, about where our clothes come from. Make a conscious effort to educate yourself on fabrics, company decisions and their general ethics about the manufacture to help inform better choices when it comes to shopping. Recognising greenwashing and shopping with better sustainable companies will help to reduce the consumption and production of throw-away fashion that ultimately ends up in landfills. Understanding what is ‘good’ makes for a savvier shopper. For a good place to start, download the Good On You App.
It’s been spoken about a lot during the pandemic and in some cases the only reality, but shopping local has a massive effect on the environment. Supporting local farmers and businesses reduces the amount of overseas produce being brought in, limits the number of miles you travel for necessities and often means fresher produce. Life used to be lived this way before technology, and it successfully lasted for hundreds of years. Even making little changes and commitments to buying more locally can contribute to big differences to the planet.
There’s no denying that the beauty industry causes a lot of environmental problems, and while they look to tackle that in new, innovative ways, there are lots of little changes we can make to maintain our skincare regimes without adding extra waste to the planet. Opt to use reusable flannels and cotton pads that can be washed and used time and time again. Most cotton buds are also now mainly recyclable so endeavour to choose this version over non-recyclable ones. Look for biodegradable beauty wipes that won’t clog up landfills. There is also a new wave of cosmetics companies that pride themselves on reusing old materials and ingredients in their products as well as their packaging (e.g. Up Circle), plus new ideas are becoming more mainstream like shampoo bars rather than bottles. Look good and know you’re doing better too!