by Araceli Gallego
There are many ways to be stylish and eco-conscious at the same time. It doesn't have to be one or the other! Here are some tips on how you can have a more sustainable wardrobe without sacrificing your style:
1. Use what you have
The most sustainable fashion piece is the one already hanging in your closet. So, if you feel like you have a closet full of clothes and the feeling that you have nothing to wear, it's time to do a closet audit. For that, you will need to know what you actually use and what is just taking space.
A trick is to put all the hangers looking outwards and once you have used that piece and you put it back in the closet, make sure you position the hanger the other way. At the end of a month or two, you will know what pieces you are using, and which ones are not by the position of the hanger.
2. Find your personal style
Fashion is a matter of self-expression, but we are heavily influenced by the media, the influencers, and the industry as a whole. With age, I learned that trends are not always for me. My advice, disregard trends that don't suit you. At the end of the day, it is a matter of understanding what colors and silhouettes work better for you, your body type, and your lifestyle. If you are clueless about where to start, I suggest you get help from a stylist like Silke Styles or Justyna Robinson.
3. Look at second-hand alternatives or rent clothes instead of buying them outright.
In the UAE we have some amazing second-hand shops like Retold or Thrift for Good that besides helping reduce the amount of fashion that ends up in the landfill, are more affordable and in the case of Thrift for Good or Hope Amel UAE have a social project behind them. Luxury has its own platforms of second hand like The Luxury Closet, Reem's Closet, etc.. Check them out!
4. Invest in quality pieces
Rule number 1 if we are ready to embrace a more conscious lifestyle is to start investing in quality rather than doing impulse buying. You can find amazing brands that do proper stitching and care for the material selection; many are local.
Limited Edition Silk Shirt AED 1,500
5. Support sustainable fashion brands & designers
There are a lot of angles to sustainability. Some designers upcycle, others might use zero-waste patterns, or embrace slow fashion doing small batches of each piece or even made to order. In general, natural fabrics are better for the environment as they biodegrade. If they are organic, much better.
Sustainability is complex with economic, social, environmental, and end-of-life scenarios to be taken into account. To facilitate and make your life easier, I created Goshopia.com. An online boutique with a curated selection of fashion, accessories, beauty, and even home decor following as values the 3S's: Slow, Sustainable, and Socially Responsible. Whenever you are looking for a special piece, avoid the uniformity of fast fashion brands and check it out. You will not be disappointed!
Hana Dress AED 557
You can style up or down any outfit with accessories. You might have seen influencers and stylists showing you how to style a skirt in three ways for example or how to adjust your sleeves or use scarves or belts in a zillion different ways. Experiment with different options to get more mileage out of your clothes and have fun while doing it!
7. Avoid impulse buying
Before I became more fashion-conscious, I would have a bad day and see aimless shopping as a solution. Our emotions are linked to our behaviors and when things don't go the way we want, we might resort to retail therapy. The sales, the FOMO, and the scarcity of certain promos might make us buy items we don't need at all and might end up sitting in our closets taking space. Don't! Just buy what you need and what you know is going to be easy to combine with the rest of your items.
8. Work on your capsule closet
A capsule wardrobe is a limited selection of interchangeable clothing pieces that complement each other. These are often classic silhouette pieces with neutral, muted colors that do not go out of style. You can combine the pieces in different ways. And, because these pieces do not go out of style, you do not have to think about whether or not you will wear them a year later. This type of closet helps us in terms of versatility while minimizing storage space and making sure we use the clothes we own as much as we can.
Blue Linen Co-Ord Top AED 290
9. Take care of your clothes
Taking good care of your clothes will ensure they last longer. Wash them only when needed, use a gentle detergent and follow the washing instructions. When ready to dry, don't use a dryer, just let them air dry. When storing them, make sure they are in proper hangers, and they are keeping their shape. If a button is loose, fix it before it gets lost or mend it if required. A little bit of love goes a long way.
10. What to do when you don't need your clothes anymore
If you put on weight, get tired of a particular piece, or are relocating to another country and can not take all your stuff along, see if friends or family might want some of your pieces. I cherish some hand-me-downs from some of my friends. They remind me of our time together. Alternatively, you might want to sell it through Depop or Retold, or some FB groups, or donate it to local groups. Thrift for Good or Hope UAE will accept your pieces and give them good use.
Are you ready for some DIY summer project?
We need to avoid fabrics reaching landfills. You might have seen the Chilean desert full of clothes many of them donated and discarded again. Before tossing our pieces away, let's try to give them another use. Maybe they are good as cleaning cloths, or we can do some upcycling or DIY projects. In the UAE there is no real fabric recycling places as yet. Some companies gather it and send it to third-world countries to make soft furnishing fillings, but that has a high carbon footprint. So, it is not the perfect solution.
In conclusion, only buy what you need, but buy better. Look for quality and natural organic fibers, and think about ways you can style, combine, and wear that piece for as long as it can be. Sustainability is embedded in the process of doing the garments and our behavior towards our clothes. Switching to a more sustainable style is just a mindful decision.
If you have questions or want to learn more about how to transition to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, don't hesitate to send me a message. I will be happy to help!