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Wondering if your wardrobe can curb climate change? Yes, it can!

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Wondering if your wardrobe can curb climate change? Yes, it can!

The fashion industry produces almost 10% of manmade CO2 emissions – more than aviation and shipping combined. These alarming facts went unnoticed as we got swept off our feet by the charm of the fast fashion industry. New fads right off the runway, sometimes even picking up from the high-fashion streets at bargain deals was something we could not turn our heads away from. It was not long before this started to have an extreme downside on the people and the planet. Reaching zero net greenhouse gas emissions will require far-reaching changes in human activity, which in fashion terms includes changing both the way we produce clothes and how we consume them. Where can we as consumers begin to do our bit for the planet?

Invest in your wardrobe
Quality over quantity. Invest in timeless pieces that will last you across seasons and occasions. Functional basics can be paired with each other to create a unique style statement. The key is to buy less but buy better and treasure what we own. Our grandmom’s saree is still an artistic piece of beauty and surprise when our moms wear it and perhaps we did too. But how many of our clothes can be handed down to generations to come? The artisanal and intrinsic value in thoughtfully crafted clothing vows to stand the test of time. Reusing those clothes can also enable us to get off the seasonal treadmill. By knowing what you should spend on, you can start to build a timeless wardrobe that can save you money and have you feeling amazing.

It has also become essential to be mindful of the materials that we buy. A regular cotton T-Shirt takes up 2,500 litres of water to be made. Even as an agricultural crop, cotton’s carbon footprint is lower than that of polyester, but fertilizer use releases nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas with 300 times more warming power than CO2. Polyester, as a plastic, is made from oil, and extracting and processing the raw material to make it is highly energy-intensive. Polyester is non-biodegradable which means all the discarded clothing ends up in landfills which pile up on our planet Earth with nowhere to go. Of the vast majority of clothes in the waste disposal stream, roughly 70% end up in landfills. They outlive us and possibly will, the entire planet Earth. Decomposing clothes also emit toxins that are released in the air, water, and soil harming the flora and fauna of the neighborhood.

It is worth investing in alternate natural plant-based fabrics that consume less water and fewer chemicals across the value chain. Hemp, Tencel, organic cotton, linen, banana fabric, and other such fabrics are skin and planet friendly fabrics. They have a lesser carbon footprint on the planet and are biodegradable.

Invest in Wear and Care
The necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can also be made possible if we not only buy a lot less but also get much better at handling the end-of-life stage of garments. We must stop thinking of clothes as disposable, and adopt circular fashion principles that treat the life-cycle of a garment as a closed-loop.

Taking good care of an item of clothing can help to significantly increase its lifespan. Pay careful attention to the instructions on the label of each garment. They advise you best on the wash and care instructions for the particular garments, the maximum recommended temperature an item should be washed at, etc. Try to wash your clothes as less frequently as possible, not that you should wear dirty clothes, but the more you wash them, the more they lose their quality. Learning to complete basic repairs on your clothing — such as replacing a loose thread or a missing button — can make them last longer and save you a tonne of money.

Considering the afterlife
When the outfit is at the end of its life for you, consider handing it down or donating it. Donating clothes helps the environment as it cuts across all steps of the value chain to make a new product. Clothing donation will ensure that all the water and energy that was used in the creation of new garments will not simply go to waste. The longer used clothing is in circulation, the fewer clothes will be produced and discarded at landfills. Pre-loved clothing is now also sold at thrift stores and has high value.

We have an opportunity in front of us to bring the fashion fraternity to the forefront of the global sustainability debate and show the world the vast potential our contribution could make towards achieving these goals. Let us make it count!

Let us join hands in this monumental shift and learn to adapt our lifestyle to sustainable choices. Collaborate with UPCYCLELUXE and join our sustainable community. Make that transition today!

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