The Three R’s Of Sustainable Clothing: Reduce, Reuse, Repair
The modern-day era has seen the fashion industry taking a bend towards fast-changing fads and throwaway culture. It comes with a huge environmental impact as trillions of tons of waste is generated. It is estimated that around 80 percent of fashion apparel produced found its way to landfills and pits.
With the advent of fast fashion, the life cycle of clothing items has shortened. Cheap clothes have flooded the market diminishing their quality and value. Consumers are willing to get rid of these cheaper clothes after a short while thus leading to increased waste.
In recent years, pressure has been mounting on the fashion industry to lower its impact on the planet. The fashion industry has left a remarkable footprint on the environment leading to the development of new consciousness and awareness in a section of society to lessen the harmful impact.
Certainly, there are a set of challenges both for the industry and consumers and a comprehensive approach encompassing all the stakeholders is the need of the hour. The three R’s of sustainable clothing that encompasses the Reduce, Reuse, Repair approach provide us a hint of a holistic solution to the problem.
In this blog, we will discuss in detail the concept and ideas behind the approach, how it provides solutions to the problem, and how it makes our planet more liveable.
The first R is Reduce. It has different meanings in different contexts. The first and foremost is to reduce the impact on our planet by reducing the quantity we are consuming. The fashion industry is filled with overproduced supply lines leading to greater wastage and pollution. If we reduce the overall demand for consumer goods then we can limit overproduction to some extent. The demand reduction will have a cascading effect on the whole fashion ecosystem and will lead to just enough production to meet the demand.
Here we see in the following points how the concept of ‘Reduce’ augments the efforts of sustainable clothing.
We have to make a fundamental shift in our thinking if we were to reduce the overall consumption. Often a momentary desire makes us hooked and nudges us to engage in the shopping spree. There is no end to desires. One desire will lead to another and the other will lead to another forming a vicious loop of endless production and consumption.
If we make a conscious effort to keep our desires and nerves in check and consume only what we need then we can significantly reduce the amount of textile wastage. Buying high-quality timeless clothing items that have a longer shelf life is a step in the right direction.
A capsule wardrobe is a carefully selected collection of essential clothing items that can be curated to create various outfits. A capsule wardrobe reduces the overall number of items you own but it doesn’t leave you behind in fashion sense and style. The trick is to invest in clothing items in a planned manner holding versatile, durable, timeless, and unique pieces that can be logically combined to form various new styles. If every one of us engages in capsule wardrobe then up to 30 percent reduction in wastage is possible.
Make a habit of buying from brands that prioritize sustainability. Your go-to companies should be the ones who minimize their environmental footprint by using eco-friendly materials and practicing ethical manufacturing. A responsible consumer will mend the industry in their operating ways.
The second R is Reuse. When possible, engage in the practice of reusing the items. Don’t throw away them at a whim. This will result in overall reduced production.
The following points will illustrate the concept of Reuse more clearly.
There are thrift stores and online resale platforms that offer used and refurbished clothing items at cheap rates. It gives the clothing items a longer life span thereby again reducing the production of new clothes. The concept of circular economy is in vogue which supplements the concept of sustainable clothing. Also, you can save much more by being part of the circular fashion economy
Many NGOs organize clothing swap events where you can swap your used clothes with other items you need. You can swap your clothes with your friends and family to reduce the burden on your wardrobe. This way you won’t be compromising on the style quotient and your wardrobe will remain minimalistic.
You can experiment with clothes you no longer are willing to wear to make them come back to life again. You can transform the pair of denim into fancy shorts or can add embroidery to your t-shirt. DIY is an approach that lets you being creative with your wardrobe. Implementing DIY ideas into your old clothing upcycles them.
The third R is Repair. Repairing your old clothes is the most vital concept of sustainable clothing.
In the old times, people had the habit of repairing their clothes and using them to the course of their lives. We need to take cues from the habits of the past if we were to reduce the burden of textiles on the environment. Here we see why a habit of Repair is a step in the right direction.
Basic Repairing Skills
We all should make an effort to learn basic sewing skills if we were to promote the idea of sustainable fashion. Basic skills come in handy to let you repair the loose buttons, small tears, and frayed hems.
Consider the services of a tailor for all your fitting issues rather than downright discarding the clothing item. Alterations will make the apparel not only fit beautifully on you but also make its life long. A properly fitting item has a longer shelf life as it has less wear and tear.
Professional Repair Services
You should often rely on professional garment repair services for all your wear and tear needs. A professional not only will repair the garment but also add a new leash of life to the clothes. All your high-end clothes need delicate handling as it requires a high degree of precision to make amends. By engaging and employing artisans you chose to support the already dying art.
Your small contribution will help in raising their families and sustaining the craft for generations to come. Repair services are a waste-proof method of enhancing the life of clothing items. Getting repairs done to your wardrobe is an environment-compliant method of enhancing the longevity of your apparel. Moreover, you can experiment with new style quotients by altering texture, print, and type during the repair of your apparel.
These three R’s of sustainable fashion are interlinked and interconnected. When you choose to reduce you automatically develop a habit of reusing the items which in turn will let you take repair services as well. As you can see one R will lead to another and the other will lead to another. Inculcating the strategy of the three R’s will pave the way for less wastage and a clean and healthy environment for all.
The sustainable clothing best practices are not just limited to individuals. Businesses and brands can incorporate the practices and strategies to their models. The fashion industry needs to reduce its negative impact on the environment by designing timeless and durable apparel.
In a world marred with endless fads and trends, it is of paramount importance to promote and practice sustainable fashion habits for the larger goodwill of all.