It’s trending to be eco-friendly these days and for that, we’re thankful. While we’re all aware of the importance of taking steps to be more environmentally conscious, what we don’t talk about is how much our shopping and clothing care habits play into our Earthly impact. With the process of fast fashion and waste already being a huge issue for the planet, here are some easy ways to help make your wardrobe as eco-friendly as possible, including how to care for your garments, which ultimately makes them last even longer.
Why you should care about fast fashion
Fast fashion is made as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Fast fashion brands make hundreds of millions of garments per year, bringing new looks into stores every single week. It goes so quickly, you feel out of style after only one wear! Unfortunately, those pieces don’t last longer than a week anyway. These companies make low-quality pieces so they can keep up with the high volume demanded and entice customers with low prices. Why keep spending money on pieces that don’t last when you can invest in ethical, high-quality clothing instead? Items that you can actually care for?
The artisans who make ethical clothing put time and attention into their craftsmanship. At Passion Lilie, our artisans handle everything from the creating the fabric prints to sewing the clothes, many times employing ancient traditions alongside contemporary practices for best results. These beautifully made pieces will last for years to come with proper care (more on that below).
Lastly, many fair trade companies use high-quality and eco-friendly materials—but more importantly, they avoid using harsh chemicals, dyes, and other unsafe materials. Passion Lilie uses organic, non-GMO, pesticide-free cotton as a part of our efforts as a fair trade company, and we also use pant and vegetable-based dyes, organic dyes and azo-free dyes.
How to care for your sustainable garments
While this may not be something we think of very often, the way we wash and dry our clothes not only impacts our carbon footprint but it also affects the long-term usage of your actual clothes. Being more mindful of how often we wash and dry our clothes will help reduce your use of energy and water while also giving your clothes a longer life. As you start purchasing more eco-friendly clothing made from high-quality materials, you can use these tips to help make sure your clothes last longer:
- Wash your clothes on a lower temperature. This gets them clean while also extending their lifespan. Not to mention, you won’t be wasting as much energy.
- Use an “eco” or gentle wash setting. Most clothes, unless they’re very dirty, can use a shorter washing time than the average washing machine runs. This can reduce your energy usage and water consumption while helping to preserve your clothing.
- Invest in an eco-friendly detergent. Avoid harmful chemicals in detergents, which could negatively impact your health, the environment, and the color and texture of your clothing.
- Hang clothes to dry on a drying rack. While some items, such as wrinkle-prone shirts, need to be dried in a dryer, many do not. Air drying your eco-friendly pieces can help keep the colors bright and your clothes intact for years to come, so always check the care instructions on the label.
- Avoid washing clothes until you absolutely have to. If you wore a shirt for the day but it still smells fine with no stains (were you in the office vs. doing yard work?) put it back into your closet instead of the washer.
It starts in the store
We don’t often think about the life after our clothes and the importance of supporting natural fibers. We all may not be able to buy environmentally friendly cars or solar panels on our home, but we have a choice in the kinds of clothing we can buy. Cotton does not rely on the further extraction of fossil fuels which contribute directly to climate change for manufacturing. When cotton does need to be disposed of, it can break down in our world naturally.
So the next time you are picking out that perfect dress or top for a night out, think to check the tag of the item to see what material it is made from and try to find pieces that are made of cotton. Your money will go farther and the earth will thank you.
- Non-Toxic: Because Passion Lilie uses only natural- plant or vegetable based dyes, there is no risk of toxic materials seeping into your skin. If you wouldn’t eat it, why would you put it on your skin?!
- Fair Trade: Our production teams help to support individuals in remote villages whose livelihood depends on cotton production.
- Easy to Care For: All Passion Lilie products can be machine washed and put in the dryer. You can starch them to help prevent wrinkles. However, I find that in humid New Orleans, the wrinkles tend to fall out on their own.
Taking it a step further
Supporting clothing brands that are ethical can make a huge difference in your carbon footprint. The textile industry is one of the most wasteful in the world; textiles take up about 5% of all waste in landfills, are notoriously difficult to recycle, and factories use a lot of energy to produce them.
The microfibers in synthetic materials can end up in our oceans, creating more waste and even affecting animals’ health when ingested. Clothing made with azo dyes, which may be toxic to an aquatic ecosystem, can cause even more harm. When you invest in eco-friendly clothing, you get high-quality materials made from natural textiles, such as cotton, hemp, and linen.
When it's time to say goodbye, use the power of DIY
This is a great tip for all who are crafty and self-proclaimed DIY-ers. If you find yourself with clothes that you’re simply not wearing, before donating them, think about what you could do with them by applying a little DIY action. Have pants that are too long? Hem them along with adding in floral embroidery. Have a shirt that has permanent stains? Think about over-dying it or making it into a reusable tote bag. This will help you save money you would use on buying new clothes and it will also allow you to embrace your crafty side and leave you with clothes you love more than you thought you ever could!