Women are the shoppers of this world. They constantly evaluate how their purchases impact the people they care about most, how they can make the most of every purchase.
But, do we really think as much about the environment while shopping? Do we give a thought about what our constant desire for wanting more does to our surroundings? Well, it's time we did.
Why, you ask? For starters, the fashion industry is responsible for producing 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions. This is more than the emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
Being the second most polluting business after oil, fashion has a direct impact on the environment. From the vast amount of water wasted in processing raw materials, to the emission of greenhouse gases, every cloth that is produced leaves a negative imprint. Amazingly, the industry is not addressing this issue head-on.
Fast fashion has become so prevalent that clothes are produced on shorter timeframes, using low quality, synthetic fabrics, and chemical dyes that contribute to their lower price and shorter lifespan. All to satisfy the rising demand.
We buy quick and discard even quicker. Gone are the days when people would buy a shirt and wear it for years.
"North Americans alone send over 10 mil tonnes of clothing to landfill every year - 95% of which could be re-used or re-cycled."
Credit: WRW Canada
Remember those scarves and sweaters you got as gifts for Christmas?
How many times have you worn them before throwing them out? Probably, fewer than you think. It's the case with almost every piece of clothing we own. Clothes aren't worn enough before being disposed, and this shorter lifespan means more wastage.
As consumers, we have to understand that every action has a repercussion.
Every choice we make, every piece of clothing we buy, takes away something from our environment. Last year saw a pair of devastating hurricanes hit the eastern US, while record wildfires ravaged Australia. The rise in the global sea levels, warmer oceans, rising average global temperatures, every disaster is a result of simple choices that we have made over the years.
"The World Bank estimates that textile dyeing and treatment contributes up to 17-20% of total industrial water pollution."
Credit: WRW Canada
This brings us to the question -
What does mindful shopping look like, and how do we get there?
What are the dos and don'ts of shopping consciously?
Sustainability is all about futureproofing the world around us. It's about protecting our environment for the next generation.
We need to educate ourselves and everyone around us about Circular Fashion - where we buy less clothing, and when we do, we make sure that it's environment-friendly and of higher quality.
Here are a few tips that you can follow to shop mindfully:
- Before buying, ask yourself - "Do I really want it?" "Am I going to wear it to it's worth?" If the answer is yes, then buy it.
- Buy only what you need, and wear it as much as you can. Re-wear it, style it in as many ways as you can, by pairing it with different other pieces you already have.
- Instead of buying cheap and short-lived clothes, invest in good quality garments that will last.
- Most of all, take good care of what you already have. Read the care instructions of your garments. They are there for a reason. You don't need another reason to send your clothes to the dump-yard.
- Upcycle as much as you can. Use the worn-out clothes to make bags, scarves, handkerchiefs, etc.
- Don't throw away the good clothes that you aren't going to wear. Donate them. This way, it will get re-used or upcycled, rather than being dumped.
- BYOB (bring your own bag) on your Shopping Expeditions. Don't ask for paper/plastic bags from the store.
We need to turn to slow fashion, with higher quality garments that have longer product life and utilization. The ideology of re-use and re-selling is the key here. We need to re-think our fast-fashion buying habits. We cannot continue to make clothes that don't consider our environment.
While a shift in consumer behavior is inevitable, we also need to ask for transparency in production from the manufacturers. We need brands that are committed to a more conscious approach to their production and sourcing. It's imperative that a no-waste economy be applied to the fashion industry, as it is in the food industry.
At SeamsFriendly, we do our bit towards sustainability by using only plant-based materials. Using high-quality natural fabrics in our collections, we make elegant, timeless designs. We also minimize waste by having a 'made-to-order' model in place. Plus, any waste sample fabric is utilized to create packaging for our products. All our buttons are made from natural materials like coconut shells, sea-shells, wood, metal scraps, etc.
Propelling towards greater sustainability, we help make environment-consciousness cool. Let's strive for a better future together. Let's leave a positive impression for the generations to come.