Last updated: December 2015
5 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Clothing
“Extending the average life of (your) clothes by just three months of active use per item would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints.”
1. Recycling Schemes
H&M and M&S both operate their own clothes recycling schemes as do UNIQLO and Levi’s who both feature in our latest shopping guide to jeans.
Photo credit: Oxfam
M&S launched 'shwopping' in partnership with Oxfam. Shwop drop boxes appear in most stores and clothing goes to Oxfam to resell, forward onto people in developing countries or to recycle the fabric.
See our shopping guide into high street shops.
2. Buy Organic Cotton
In 2015, successful menswear designer Tom Cridland launched a 30-year sweatshirt and a 30-year t-shirt costing £55 and £25 respectively.
A reaction against built-in obsolescence and the over-consumption of clothing, they are made to last for 30 years. They are handmade in Portugal from organic cotton and constructed with durability in mind. If they do rip or tear during the 30-year guarantee period, you can send them back to be repaired completely free of charge.
Read our shopping guide into alternative clothing shops.
3. Buy second-hand
Both charity shops and jumble sales help to provide an additional home to some of our unworn clothing. Donating unwanted clothes and buying cheaper second hand items are a great way to reduce waste and give money to a worthy cause. Jumble sale profits are often spent on local community projects.
Vinspired have recently invested in a new kind of charity shop which encourages younger people to start thinking and buying sustainably. 'Goodstock' located in both Manchester and London is the first 'fashion' charity shop of its kind. It dispels the myth that charity shops are 'old-fashioned' by stocking stylish second-hand clothing.
4. Clothes Swaps
Clothes swaps are becoming increasingly popular as more are popping up in cities and small towns. 'Swap, don't shop' is the message and it encourages less waste. So, if you are bored of your current wardrobe, take a bundle down to your local clothes swap, instead of splashing out on a new wardrobe.
Photo Credit: Swap Team, Flickr.
If you are struggling to find a clothes swap in your local area then online swapping is the answer. Try Mrs Bears or Swishing which both offer the option of swapping clothes instead of paying for them. They also provide information on how to set up a clothes swap in your community.
Charity Hubbub has teamed up with North London Waste Authority to encourage #refashion. They have brought in swishing experts Rags Revival to host seven clothes swapping events across London at the end of January.
5. Get Thrifty
The 'fast fashion' movement tries to convince us that our clothing is easily replaceable. It encourages the mentality that old clothing is unfashionable. However, a small tear in your favourite jeans is easily fixable.
The production of one pair of jeans wastes around 11,000 litres of water. A simple sewing class may be a fun way to learn a new skill, meet new people and reduce your personal waste consumption.
The #refashion experiment has also set up a number of different textile workshops across London to encourage people to reinvent their favourite clothing. Workshops include indigo dyeing, denim repair and bobble hat upcycling.
Find out which workshops are taking place near you.