organic cotton © luminastock - Fotolia.com A\J AlternativesJournal.ca Photo © luminastock \ Fotolia.com

1. Buy less

Shop only when you absolutely love or need something. Use your newfound free time to pursue other interests. 

2. Shop your closet

Get organized: separate items that can be repaired or updated, which don’t fit, or are beyond rescue. Experiment with new ways to wear old items, such as layering tops, combining casual and dressy pieces, or adding colours and patterns with accessories.

3. Go for classic quality

The fashion industry thrives on people’s need to have the latest and greatest. Unfortunately, the trends change faster than the planet can deal with the waste they create. Stick to pieces that will never go out of style.

4. Go treasure hunting

Look for pre-loved, second-hand, vintage and recycled garments. Buying these means diverting items from landfills and spending less money. On the flipside, don’t toss your unwanted clothes in the trash; sell, swap or donate items that are still in good condition. 

5. Do it yourself

Don’t cast a garment aside because the zipper’s broken. Visit a tailor or make your own adjustments. Put your own spin on worn or outdated items and make true statement pieces. Change jeans into a skirt, add lace to the collar of an old shirt, or glue sequins to your favourite shoes. There’s probably an online tutorial for whatever you’re imagining. 

6. Purchase low-maintenance garments

Reduce the environmental impact of your wardrobe by cutting down on cleaning resources. Save energy by doing laundry in cold water and drying clothes on a rack (which also reduces wear and tear). Avoid buying anything that must be dry-cleaned, or choose a dry cleaning service that uses an environmentally friendly solvent instead of perchloroethylene, a toxic chemical.

7. Read the labels

Pay attention to the “Made in…” verbiage on a garment’s tag. The product’s origin gives insight into its carbon footprint and details about where and how it was made.

8. Look for sustainable fabrics

Get savvy about ecofriendly textiles. Skip chemical-laden and synthetic fabrics and opt for healthier, more sustainable alternatives like organic cotton, hemp, linen and wool. Hunt down innovative fabrics like Eco-fi, made from recycled pop bottles; Lyocell (aka Tencel), made from wood pulp; and SeaCell, made from cellulose and seaweed. Pick products dyed with low-chemical or vegetable colourants, and look for “free trade” and “cruelty-free” on tags.

9. Vote with your dollar

When you buy environmentally friendly clothes, you’re supporting sustainable fashion. Until recently, eco-fashion wasn’t exactly on the style map, but it’s gaining popularity and even going upscale, including brands like Stella McCartney and H&M. Look for stylish, well-made pieces from homegrown Canadian talent too, such as Nicole Bridger and Thieves by Sonja den Elzen. 

10. Talk about it

The future of fashion lies in all of our hands. Spread the word by talking about conscientious clothing choices, sharing resources that prolong the life of garments (such as online sewing tips, clothing swap meets and donation centres) and telling manufacturers that you want more sustainable materials and manufacturing. 

Green Living Online is a property of Green Living Enterprises, a full-service, one-stop solution for environmental and cause marketing. Our services include product and program development, custom publishing and event marketing. Green Living Enterprises also includes the Green Living Show, North America’s largest consumer show dedicated to living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

If you liked this article, please subscribe or donate today to support our work.

A\J moderates comments to maintain a respectful and thoughtful discussion.
Comments may be considered for publication in the magazine.