It’s no secret that the industry still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to sustainable fashion. The industry currently accounts for a whopping 10% of all greenhouse gases emitted globally AND uses more energy than both the aviation and shipping industries combined.
Why is sustainable fashion so hard to achieve?
A combination of complex supply chains, inefficient disposal, and lengthy transportation certainly contributes, but the biggest factor has to be the way we as consumers interact with fashion – an industry which, by default, relies on consistent mass overconsumption.
The frenetic pace of fashion is spurred by heavily marketing ‘new season trends’, and, when powered by social media’s potential to capture and influence consumers on mass, we see an explosive cultural shift in buying habits. This leads to major brands and e-retailers clabbering to produce more items, more cheaply, and more often. The result? An industry entrenched with environmental degradation, worker exploitation, and waste in astronomical proportions.
Fashion shouldn’t cost us the Earth
So how can we help make more sustainable fashion choices? We spoke to some of our favorite influencers on ways to help reduce our fashion footprint.
Reuse, Reuse, Reuse!
If you’re anything like us, you’re in a constant battle between striving to buy less and falling in love with every new clothing range you see. Rose Rush (AKA @eco_granny) tells us her secret to reducing is to ensure she invests in quality pieces she knows she can wear again and again for years to come. Try to look for classic, timeless designs and neutral colours to create a foundational wardrobe, and then shop for one or two ‘on trend’ items a year.
Do your research!
Consider where your clothes are coming from. Most brands will publish their material sourcing and supply chain information on their websites, so you can make an informed decision about where to buy from – and where to avoid. Generally speaking, it’s greener to buy from independent, local brands as opposed to the big online retailers, and you will often get a more unique piece. Some of our favourite sustainable fashion brands are Fabrikstore, People Tree, and Bibico.
Not new, just new to you!
Some of our favourite all-time items have been second-hand finds. Instead of heading to the high street, try spending a day treasure hunting in vintage and charity shops – it’s cheaper, much more exciting and you never know the kinds of gems you might stumble upon! And if you have an item you no longer love in your wardrobe, consider giving it to a friend, donating it, or listing it on sights such eBay or marketplace to ensure it doesn’t go to waste.
Slow down on fast fashion
This one is a little trickier, we know. Fast fashion sites are intrinsically designed to encourage you to go from ‘I’ll just have a little look…’ to ‘thank you for your order!’ in a small amount of time as possible. Before you add that item to your cart, think to yourself – do I ABSOLUTELY need this? Will I want to wear it in a year’s time? Have I already got something similar? Will it fit me? Spending that little bit more time considering your purchases will result in less waste, fewer returns, and a wardrobe filled with pieces you absolutely adore.
Rather than throwing out a pair of shoes with a broken heel or a dress with a stuck zipper, Rose recommends shopping around for ways to fix your items. Rose tell us that she always takes her shoes to a local cobbler or repair shop to help them last longer. There are also some great videos on youtube on how to repair your own clothes or turn unworn dresses into skirts – DIY-ing it is so satisfying!
Invest in Quality
No matter how tempting the allure of shiny new styles may be, the speed of turnaround and cheap production costs results in items that are just not made to last (handy for the fashion brands, as they can then sell you the same item again in 3 months time!) Although it may feel paradoxical, investing in more expensive pieces will actually save you money in the long run as the quality ensures it will outlast it’s fast fashion counterpart many times over.
How can we help?
As a fashion brand, Solely Original is extremely conscious of our impact on the environment and we acknowledge that we ALL need to be doing more. Some of the changes we’ve made already include sourcing high-quality vegan leather options and perfecting our bespoke PrecisionFit to ensure that your shoes will be the perfect fit. Our brand is built on the ethos that our bespoke, handcrafted shoes will last you a lifetime, and that to tackle the inherent issues of mass-overconsumption requires an authentic commitment to sustainable production, ethical sourcing, and, above all, a love and appreciation of genuine quality.
We are always keen to hear your feedback! If you have any suggestions on how we can improve the sustainability of our brand, please feel free to get in touch!