INFO: SUSTAINABLE FASHION CONSUMPTION
Many people would like to be more conscientious and make sustainable choices when following fashion trends but it is easier said than done. Many companies are less than transparent in matters of their delivery chain and working conditions of those in the garment and textile trade. There are two levels of sustainability to consider: social and environmental. Unfortunately, too few companies concentrate on both. While we recognise that the attitude of big fashion manufacturers must change, we consumers must also adjust our thinking when it comes to fast fashion.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
REPAIR AND UPCYCLE YOUR CLOTHES
Don’t throw away your jeans because of a small hole. The many Repair Cafes in Switzerland will quickly repair the damage for free. The boring black t-shirt can be easily transformed into something new; creative ideas readily available on various online platforms- Manuflicktur and Wirkerei are useful addresses for those interested in repairing and upcycling.
RESPECT YOUR CLOTHES
Take good care of your garments. Know what you have and take the time to mix and match creating new outfits.
Overwashing not only wears out your clothes but it is also not eco-friendly. Jeans/jumpers can be hung out to air.
Items smelling of smoke can be hung over a radiator or outside
If moths are a problem or smells linger simply put the garment in the freezer overnight.
SWAP NOT SHOP
Clothing swaps offer a second chance for your unloved items and give you the chance to find something new to you. Clothes stay in use for longer. Along with Walk-in Closet Switzerland there are many smaller swap meets. Together with friends you can organise your own events or become one of our helpers.
HIRE FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS
Occasions such as weddings or birthdays often require a ‘special‘ dress. Instead of buying something that will be worn just once and then hung in your wardrobe why not hire that ‘something special’. There are many choices open to you- Kleihd, sharealook, storyteller dresses, peppermint dress. You might even have the perfect dress that a friend can borrow.
BUY SECOND HAND
Existing items of clothing are eco-friendly and can continue life in the fashion cycle. Second hand and vintage clothing shops are on trend. In recent years these thrift shops have attracted a younger market buying and selling used items. On the website getchanged.net you will find shops in your area. On Kleiderberg you can buy and sell online.
BE A SELECTIVE AND MINDFUL SHOPPER
Only buy what you really need. Don’t be swayed by trends and advertising, buying only what suits you and will give you pleasure for years to come. If you do buy something new choose fair fashion products to be socially and environmentally minded. On getchanged.net you will find many fair fashion shops. Also, Public Eye provides a good overview and guide in their brochure, Label Jungle.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE MATERIALS
1. Make sure when buying clothes that they are made of pure material. If it contains blends of materials, they should consist entirely of either natural or synthetic fibers. This way they can be recycled.
2. Clothes made of more sustainable materials and processing often last longer: organic cotton, organic linen, hemp fibers, Ecovero, Lyocell (Tencel).
3. Avoid buying new clothes made of polyester and other plastic-based materials: They are not easily recyclable. Moreover, plastic is made of petroleum and the extraction of the raw material is ecologically very questionable. Also, they give off microplastic when washed.
4. An organic cotton t-shirt is not necessarily more sustainable than a nylon leggings if you wear it only once!
Therefore the most important of all tips: Buy less new. Think about what you really like and how long it will last. Take care of the clothes you have.
ENGAGE AND INFORM YOURSELF
Support initiatives and organisations that promote sustainable clothing consumption: gather signatures demanding fair trade - Konzernverantwortungsinitiative. Get yourself up to speed with the latest developments and research. Regional groups of Public Eye or City Chapter involved in the fashion revolution are always looking for volunteers.
BE PROUD OF YOURSELF
Don't try to do everything at once and be proud of yourself if you have reached something new. Small steps can have a big effect. It is nearly impossible to own a fully sustainable wardrobe.
SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Tell your friends and family about the research you have done or the pre-loved jacket you got from a thrift shop. Use social media to spread awareness about the disastrous consequences of the fast fashion industry. The pressure on big fashion firms to produce more sustainable clothing will become greater as soon as more people engage with conscious fashion consumption.
FILMS & BOOKS OF INTEREST-
RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING
Kirsten Brodde & Alf-Tobias Zahn:
(only in German)
Das Antikapitalistische Buch der Mode
320 Seiten, Rotpunktverlag, Zürich, 2016
(only in German)
Jana Braumüller, Vreni Jäckle, Nina Lorenzen, Lena Scherer
Fashion Changers - Wie wir mit fairer Mode die Welt verändern können
(only in German)
The film is set in the southern Chinese city of Shaxi, known for its large number of clothing factories. This documentary examines one of the factory's harsh conditions, in which workers are paid as little as 6 cents an hour for shifts that can last up to 20 hours. Here, 15-year-old Jasmine begins working to send money home to her family but quickly grows tired and sick. Meanwhile, Lam proves to be a bad boss, endlessly delaying paying his workers.
Sweatshop Deadly Fashion is as ominous as it sounds. The story focuses on a group of youngsters — Frida, Ludvig, and Anniken — who are placed far outside their comfort zones, and challenged to live and work in a sweatshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for a month. They are exposed to some of the harsh realities that keep workers caught in a vicious cycle of poverty: low, low wages; insane working hours; and insufficient living conditions.
The True Cost is a 2015 documentary film that focuses on fast fashion. It discusses several aspects of the garment industry from production—mainly exploring the life of low-wage workers in developing countries—to its after-effects such as river and soil pollution, pesticide contamination, disease and death. Using an approach that looks at environmental, social and psychological aspects, it also examines consumerism and mass media, ultimately linking them to global capitalism. The documentary is a collage of several interviews with environmentalists, garment workers, factory owners, and people organizing fair trade companies or promoting sustainable clothing production.