January: The time of year for taking stock and making a fresh start, setting out the new year with the best of intentions.
We may try to break old habits, or make new ones - but one of the habits we should all be looking to make is how to act more sustainably in 2022.
Whether that involves flying less frequently, taking fewer car journeys, or eating less meat there are plenty of improvements we can all make to our lives.
And the great news is shopping in a more sustainable way is one of the easiest things we can all do to help address the environmental crisis we are facing. Our wallets are one of the most powerful things we own.
This may mean buying vegetables in season, or food that’s organically-produced, or increasing your number of purchases from small local producers. All simple things you could start right now, today.
And clothes shopping - for yourself and your kids - is no different.
A 2020 report by the Global Fashion Agenda suggests that the fashion industry’s emissions are set to rise by around a third to an estimated 2.7 billion tons of CO2 a year by 2030.
It’s already deemed as one of the most polluting industries globally, so discovering the situation is only going to get worse is pretty stark.
Here are My Little Green Wardrobe’s top 5 tips on how to be a greener - and better - shopper in 2022:
1. Take Stock
I’m all for a spring clean, but January is a great time to evaluate what you actually have in your wardrobe.
There’s no more sustainable wardrobe than the one you already own. And if we’re talking about the littles, it’s a fantastic time to see what fits them and what they’ve grown out of.
What has fallen down the back of the cupboard and been completely forgotten? What needs replacing after having been worn out / grown out of?
Use this info to inform any future purchases rather than making impulse buys, only to discover you already owned something similar anyway (we’ve all done it!).
It also means you can clear out the things that no longer fit and either sell, give to friends and family or donate to charity the things you no longer need.
A decluttered wardrobe makes for far easier dressing - and not just for you. Think about the morning struggle trying to get preschoolers ready for nursery!
2. Shop Your Own Wardrobe
It’s time to breathe new life into the clothes you have. It’s practically a given that we’ve all been wearing different set of clothes over the past two years, than in times pre-Covid.
And it’s almost definitely the case that there are a few items of your wardrobe being worn A LOT - and others hardly at all.
But why not dig out that silk blouse and give it an outing - just don’t forget a top or vest underneath (it is January, after all).
Spend a morning putting together different outfit combinations to see what works - as you would in a shop. Actually the best kind of shop because you’re guaranteed to like most of the stuff; every item fits you, and it’s free!
If, like me, you don’t have time in the morning to figure out what goes together, this will stop you from reaching for the same old combinations time after time.
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- Shop Ethical and Organic Kids' Clothes
Now this may be a radical thought, but have you considered repairing items that you love, but which have got broken or ripped?
If it’s an item you bought because it was awesome, then why not cherish it by looking after it? The repair will be a memory of how you’ve worn it in the past and will become part of that garment’s story.
If your kids rip a hole in a t-shirt or dress climbing a tree, then either patch it or get it altered. They'll love telling their friends about the time they were hanging out of a tree except for the threads caught on a branch.
It’s true you might have to spend some money getting it repaired, if you're not handy with a needle yourself, but then you’d have to spend the same money or more on getting a new one anyway.
Not only will you be saving a garment from being consigned to landfill, but you’ll be supporting a local alteration business, which could be as nearby as your local dry cleaner - who will undoubtedly be grateful for your business.
4. Go Vintage
Ok, so you’ve had your clear out. You’re wearing the clothes you didn’t even know you had, and breathed new life into that gorgeous top with the rip.
But you and/or your kids do actually need some new stuff. Fair enough.
If you have an idea about what it is you need eg. the brand you want / material etc - then why don’t you see if it’s available second hand?
Vintage stores and apps have come a long way in the last few years and you may be surprised by what you find. Apps like Depop are perhaps the most obvious, but you can find plenty of websites with beautiful curated collections eg. Rokit London, which stocks everything from skiwear to lingerie, and the Vestiaire Collective which specialises in designer items.
Just because it’s not brand new, doesn’t mean it’s not new to you. And how long does the adrenaline rush of a new purchase actually last anyway? With a vintage purchase, you’re buying something totally unique and are helping the planet by not being the cause of a new garment to be made.
That feeling will keep you warm at night for much longer.
5. Shop Organic and Sustainable Clothing Brands
If you do need to buy something new - make sure it’s something you actually need, and that the purchase isn’t an emotional response to something else.
Consider the 30 wears test. Will you wear this item at least 30 times? That doesn’t sound a great deal, but that’s at least once a week for six months. Ask yourself when and where you’ll wear it and what it’ll go with in your existing wardrobe.
How useful will it be to the life you actually lead? Be honest with yourself and it will help curb impulse purchases.
Buy better quality and buy fewer things. Support small brands that aren’t churning out millions of garments that may never get bought. Choose natural materials over synthetic and organic fabrics where possible.
For kids, it may seem pointless buying them better quality things when they’ll grow out of them, but consider the wear and tear a child’s clothes have to put up with. Wouldn’t you rather buy a pair of quality leggings that last a whole winter rather than having to replace them several times at a greater cost?
The Home of Sustainable Kids' Clothing Brands
At My Little Green Wardrobe we only stock high quality, organic children’s clothes - which are more durable, and are less damaging to the environment. Our brands also use recycled fabrics and design garments consciously, considering every stage of the production process.
Not only that, our brands support higher pay and welfare for the people who make them. Sustainability is about looking after people, planet and animals in a more holistic approach - and if each part of this equation flourishes then we all do.
So there, you have it… Kick start your sustainability goals for 2022 - this isn’t a manual, but some ideas to help you in your journey. And if you only do one of these suggested tips, then you’re on the right track.
After all, the key thing is progression not perfection. And that’s a resolution we can all keep.