Eco fashion: Five easy ways to cut clothing waste

With the SS17 fashion season almost upon us and frosty days forcing us inside, now is as good a time as any to look inside our wardrobes. Not an open-the-door-then-force-it-shut-quickly type of look. But a good honest look at what you wear, and what you don’t.

I found out recently that the average UK home owns about £4,000 worth of clothes, about a third of which goes unworn. And between us we have £30 billion worth – yes, 3-0 billion – of unused clothing sitting in our closets. That’s a lot of clothes. It’s quite shocking isn’t it?

In my head, I’m a stylish stylish girl about town with mostly classic pieces that I spice up with a some quirky and original accessories (hah!). In reality, my wardrobe is bulging with a tonne of clothes I rarely wear, the drawer that contains my hats and scarves won’t close, and let’s not even mention underwear. Most days I just throw on faded jeans and a tee-shirt, layered with a jumper in winter.

But all this waste got my little brain spinning – we’ve got to do something about this people – so I spoke to Surrey-based personal stylist and eco fashion warrior Elena Daniilidou from Image n Style. Here are her five top tips on how to cut down on clothing waste.

1. Wear your clothes for longer

Restyle existing outfits and clothes with different accessories or trying new colour combinations can have great results. Ask the experts for new ways to mix and match your clothes and accessories. Elena offers a wardrobe detox service that can help with this. Or you can look online for style inspiration.

2. Swap clothes

Get swapping with your friends or find swapping events near you. The Walk In Wardrobe is a pop-up clothes swap event with locations in London, Surrey and Brighton.

3. Upcycle your garments

Think of clever uses for different items of clothing. Cotton vests make great dust clothes – they’re easy to wash and you’ll also save money by not buying the branded ones from shops. Wear faded garments as loungewear, while tops that are getting small are perfect for layering. A dress, shirt or trousers with a great pattern can be transformed into a cushion or a tea towel.  Scarves and tops that are not so flattering can be make into a statement belt. Or use the fabric and make children’s clothes.

4. Update or customise your clothing to create something different


Make denim shorts from an unwanted pair of jeans (especially if your pins look as good as those pins.) Change the buttons on a shirt or coat, or add a belt. If you can’t sew you can take them to a tailor for altering. You can also: raise the hems, change necklines, belts, add embellishments, remove sleeves, distress, over-dye, adjust the fit.

5. Recycle and donate


Finally, if you can’t do any of the above, you can still choose to recycle or donate your old garments/fabrics. Use the online service to locate your nearest recycling places.

Image n Style


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