Fashion has long been a way to express ourselves, but only in the last few years has sustainability in Fashion become a crucial part of the industry. I love new clothes as much as the next person, especially having worked in the Fashion industry for over 15 years, but I am worried about its impact on the environment.
Since 2000 clothing production has doubled worldwide, with the average person buying 60 percent more items of clothing yet only keeping them for half as long as 15 years ago. So it's really important that we consider if we need to buy new clothes, and when we do, where they come from and how long they’ll last.
I think it’s time we re-shape our wardrobes to be a collection of high quality, natural fabric, timeless pieces, that have a lower environmental impact and longer lifespan!
So here are my top 5 wardrobe staples and what to consider when buying them. From materials used, to manufacturing processes and countries of origin, if I buy pieces, my aim is always to have as minimum impact on the environment as possible!
1// The White T-Shirt
This is a staple piece in my wardrobe and can be dressed up and down for day to night looks. When I'm looking to buy a white t-shirt natural fibres are a must, so I look for it being made from 100% cotton and organic. Organic cotton is much better for the enivronment and ensures that the cotton was grown without the use of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, but with reasonable use of water and seeds that have not been genetically modified.
2// The Blazer
With a blazer, always choose a classic shape and not something that is tied in to the latest trend. That way, you’ll have a piece that lasts from year to year without needing updating. Black is a safe option as it goes with everything and gives you a layering piece with your outfits. Try to avoid polyester pieces as washing the synthetic garments contributes to microplastic pollution by 35 percent.
3// The White Shirt
A classic piece which noone should be without in their wardrobe! Woven cotton will give a lovely crisp look, or alternatively linen in a slightly oversized shape is a safe option as it would work with some smart trousers and a blazer, but also as a layering piece in the summer over dresses and even swimwear!
Again with a white shirt I always look for Organic Cotton and if it is labelled as BCI then even better. BCI is the Better Cotton Initiative which is a global not-for-profit organisation that exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment and better for the sector's future.
4// The Trench
This is a great layering piece which I love because it carries you through from Autumn to Spring/Summer. Be careful to choose a simple shape though and nothing too styled, so that this will work with all looks. Classic beige or camel is the colour to go for with your trench!
5// The Straight Leg Jean
Jeans are tricky to get right in terms of style, fit and wash, not to mention added detail. As a result, the straight fit jean with no added detail like ripping is your safest bet. I'm short and struggle with jean shapes but find the classic style jean works well and suits all body shapes whilst also working in all settings.
I wear a lighter wash for more casual looks or darker washes for smarter occasions, and also look for sustainability credentials. For example organic cotton, non-toxic dyes and transparency on how much water is used, because jeans manufacturing has a huge water footprint, so the less used the better!
I hope sharing my wardrobe staples and some pieces of each style with sustainable credentials has give you some food for thought. I'd love to hear if these are similar to what you wear on rotation or if you have some additional staple pieces and what they are, so please do share your comments!