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5 Tips for a More Earth-Conscious Wardrobe

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Geneva Vanderzeil, A Pair & A Spare / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Is your closet filled with clothes you don't wear (and probably don't like anymore)? Are you buying cheap and trendy clothing you only wear once or twice? What's up with all the excess? Shifting to a more Earth-conscious wardrobe can help simplify your life, as well as curb fast fashion's toll on people and the planet.


The fashion industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions per year than all international airline flights and maritime shipping trips combined. According to the documentary The True Cost, "Globally, we now consume about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year — 400% more than we were consuming just two decades ago."

If you're looking for ways to transition out of the dirty cycle of fast fashion, check out the following five tips.

1. Shop Ethical and Eco-Friendly Brands

Thomas Barwick / Stone / Getty Images

When buying new clothing, ask yourself, "Is this brand sustainable or not?" Consider what brands you have been supporting up to this point.

Getting educated on which brands to support is an important step in curbing fast fashion. To find out if your go-to brand is eco-friendly, check out Conscious Life & Style blog, which has a list of more than 200 ethically driven brands.

2. Take a Minimalist Approach to Your Wardrobe

Svetlana Khokhlova / EyeEm / Getty Images

By 2050 the fashion industry is set to consume a quarter of the world's carbon budget. Consumer overconsumption is harming the planet. A 2016 McKinsey report found that three-fifths of all the clothes produced gets disposed within a year of being produced.

Transitioning to a wardrobe that reflects quality pieces that last a long time, instead of cheap trendy pieces, can help make getting ready in the morning easier and is less of a strain on the planet. A quality over quantity attitude can lead to a more sustainable wardrobe over time.

The YouTube channel Heal Your Living by Youheum is inspiring people to live a more minimalist lifestyle. Check out her video below and see how Youheum, a former shopaholic, manages to own just 15 pieces of clothing and two pairs of shoes.

Are you looking for more tips? Check out @theminimalistwardrobe on Instagram. With nearly 200,000 followers The Minimalist Wardrobe is contributing to the growing minimalist movement.

3 - 4. Mend and Repurpose Your Clothing

Pedro Venâncio / EyeEm / Getty Images

Before you spend, make sure you mend. Mending clothes is a great option, and you'll avoid wasting your time shopping.

If you don't know how to patch up your clothing, support a local tailor instead.

You can also get creative with your clothing. For a simple start, change a pair of old jeans into new summer shorts and add your favorite patch for a fresh look. Upcycling clothing can be a fun way to maintain a sustainable wardrobe.

Check out these Instagram accounts for more upcycle inspiration!

5. Host or Attend a Clothing Swap

AleksandarNakic / E+ / Getty Images

One person's trash is another person's treasure. Attending a clothing swap or taking the step to host one is a smart (and fun) way to recycle clothing and get a new wardrobe fast.

Want to host a clothing swap? Here's how to host the ultimate clothing swap.

Irma is the associate editor at EcoWatch. She graduated from Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in Athens, Ohio.

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