Fashion Footprint: How you can close the loop on fast fashion

A GOOD INFLUENCER: Aisling Bea promotes a low-impact lifestyle to her 250k Instagram followers, borrowing clothes or shopping second hand or sustainable only. Her Scottish wool jumper by Really Wild Clothing sold out when she styled it with a charity shop denim skirt last month.

We all know the fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters, but did you know that fashion contributes more to the global carbon footprint than aviation? Textile production uses vast amounts of resources, but there are ways to lower your fashion footprint. Here’s how to buy less, choose carefully, and close the loop on fast fashion. Carolyn Moore reports.

Buy Less

The most sustainable garment is the one already in your wardrobe. Extending the lifespan of clothes from one year to two reduces emissions by 24% annually, so buy what you love and wear it longer. Carbon compensated dress by Ganni, €309, Brown Thomas.

Buy Better

A bargain is only a bargain if you actually wear it. Resist throwaway fashion and impulse sale buys and become a conscious consumer, buying what you love in the best fabrics you can afford. Sustainable cotton tee, €59, theoandgeorge.com

Shop Local

Cut the air miles and look for locally-made, locally-sourced alternatives to imported fashion. Waterford- based brand Bebhinn makes-to-order for less waste, using Irish linen and wool for lower-impact and offering a lifetime guarantee to close the loop.

Shop Sustainable

The ‘buyerarchy of needs’ puts buying new at the bottom of the sustainable shopping list, but if you must buy new, buy sustainable. Supporting high street brands in their shift to sustainable fabrics will lead to lasting change. Wrap dress, €29.99, H&M.

Wash Well

A 2018 report showed the UK’s carbon emissions reduced by 700k tonnes through low temperature washing alone. Lower your temperature and leave more time between washes. Machine washable sustainable silk top by Eileen Fisher, €329, Brown Thomas

Close the Loop

A circular economy means minimising waste and maximising resources; the opposite of a fast fashion ethos! But change is coming with recycled fabrics and circular models. The Nomad (€29.90, Accessorize) is made from recycled plastic bottles.

Go Natural

34% of global microplastics come from textiles, as polyesters and acrylics send half a million tonnes of microfibers from our washing machines to our oceans every year. Choose natural fibres. Redene organic cotton SKFK skirt €89.95, Skunkfunk, Dublin.

Carbon Count

Switching synthetics for recyclable substitutes would reduce energy use by 60 percent and half the emissions from textile production. Look for Lyocell - a low-impact, biodegradable, sustainable alternative. Sustainable Lyocell trousers, €59, Arket.com.

Leave it Out

One truck of textiles hits landfills eve second. Our clothes are barely worn and rarely recycled. Reduce, reuse, shop second hand, or look for companies with a circular model. Weekday Remade is recycled dead stock made new. Skirt, €40, weekday.com.

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