8 Tips to Green Your Wardrobe

Posted on January 30, 2016

Have you heard about the environmental impact of standard clothing production, including toxic dyes, large amounts of water use and unethical labor? The stats can be alarming but there are things you can do to build a more sustainable wardrobe while still being fashionable:

1. Minimize: A great way to have a sustainable closet is to start a capsule wardrobe. This means purchasing fewer clothes, but ones that you know look great, are timeless and will last.

2. Consignment: Local consignment stores are treasure-troves for finding affordable and stylish pieces. Keep in mind clothes you will need in the future, so you can watch out for them while shopping. Also, let storeowners know to give you a call if what you’re looking for comes in.  

3. Local: Use the money you save from shopping at consignment stores to buy a few high-quality versatile items from a local clothing producer. REAP has a list of local clothing boutiques, and Patagonia is great for active wear.

4. Swap: Schedule a clothing swap with your friends each season to freshen up your closet. You can also check out a larger clothing swap in Calgary organized by groups such as The Swap Team

5. Ask For the Story: When there’s something you can’t find from your friends, or locally, do a quick search on the big company you decide to buy from. Does their website tell you where their clothes are from? If not, try asking them through email or social media. This is the mission of Fashion Revolution. Visit their website for more info on how to find out where your clothes are from and how they're produced.

6. Repair it: If one of your clothes gets a stain, rips or loses a button, try repairing it. Here are some natural stain remover ideas, and if all else fails, turn it into a kitchen cloth or use it for crafts!

7. Donate: Currently, there's really no facility for recycling textiles in Calgary.  So it will likely end up in the landfill unless you donate your good serviceable clothing to a charity that can re-sell it. If you’re looking to get rid of old clothes consider donating the clean and gently used ones. Here’s a map of the clothing donation bins and charities in yyc.

8. Connect: Get help keeping a green closet by connecting with friends, and local businesses. Keep an eye out for REAP’s Sustainability for Style event taking place during Down to Earth week in April. This event brings together local fashion producers, retailers and shoppers!

You don't have to give up being fashionable to maintain a sustainable wardrobe. By incorporating some small changes in the way you add to your closet, you can create a stylish wardrobe that looks good while being a little kinder to the planet.