The 7R’s of Fashion begins with REDUCE, the first and by far most important of the R’s! Each year, 100 billion new garments are made. That is enough for 15 new garments for every person on the planet. Globally we buy 60% more clothing today than we did 20 years ago, and we keep our clothes for half as long
So, what can we do to REDUCE our clothing consumption?
1. Shop your closet! Before you go out and buy yourself something (new or used) first take a look at what is already in your closet. This is also a great time to do a closet audit if you haven’t done one in the past! We wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. Read that again. That means that 80% of our wardrobe is barely ever worn. Most likely these are items that you have forgotten about, that got pushed to the back of your closet and that are just in need of a new way to style, or maybe a slight alteration. Not only is this great for the planet, but your wallet will also thank you!
2. Choose practical items and wardrobe classics. What do you wear most often? Blue jeans, hoodies and t-shirts are great casual basics that never go out of style, but in a professional setting it can get more complicated. Look for neutral blazers, tailored shirts, pants or skirts, in colours that are not super trendy. Remember that classic pieces never go out of style. A great way to think about it is: “Will I wear this piece at least 30 times?” 30 may not seem like a lot, but the stats show us that the average garment is only worn 7 times before being tossed, so 30 wears should be an easy commitment.
3. Choose quality over quantity. Instead of buying 5 cheap trendy tees that will stretch, shrink, fade or come apart at the seams, invest in one great quality basic tee that will last for years. When we invest in our wardrobe we also take better care of our clothes, which leads to them being in use for longer (and out of the landfill). Aim to have a capsule wardrobe of a maximum number of pieces that you mix and match and style differently to make it appear as though you have more clothing.
4. Avoid impulse purchases. Yes, retail therapy is a thing. But purchasing something solely because it’s on sale, or because you had a bad day is only contributing to this mess we are in. We need to do a better job of stopping ourselves and asking if its something we truly need – and if the answer is still yes then maybe consider buying it second hand.
5. Reduce your laundry. Washing and drying our garments less often – and only when necessary (not after every wear), means we’re reducing our water and energy consumption and extending the life of our clothes. You can also reduce the temperature and wash your clothes in cold water AND hang your clothes to dry.