Earth Day is almost over. I feel that everyday we should celebrate the beauty of this planet and bring forth activities to protect it. The fashion industry as we all know is textile based. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 11.9 million tons of textiles, 4.7 percent of total municipal solid waste (MSW) was generated in 2007. The textile recycling industry annually prevents 2.5 billion pounds of post consumer textile product waste from entering the solid waste stream, according to the Council for Textile Recycling. This 2.5 billion pounds of post consumer textile waste represents 10 pounds for every person in the United States.
Generally speaking a full outfit (top, bottom, shoes) is about 3 pounds. If each person in the US represents 10 pounds, that's 3 sets of outfits that go to waste. We all know that we have more than 3 sets that we don't wear or that we simply dispose of when pieces go out of style or don't fit. My hope is that when Earth Day ends tonight, we become more conscious of our clothing consumption and the impact our own "buy, wear, dispose"cycle has on the environment.
Here are some style tips that will help:
1) Define your personal style. Know your body type. Trends come and go. And if you don't have a sense of your OWN distinct personal style, you end up spending on unnecessary items that you will most likely throw out when the trend passes. Also, know your body type. A lot of the things we don't end up wearing is because they don't fit or we thought they would but don't. For the fellas, if you want to know your body type, Ask Men has a good article on it here. And for the ladies, check out Trinny and Susannah's (the original "What Not To Wear" girls) revelations here.
2) Don't throw them away. Make other people look as good as you by donating your clothes to charities like the Salvation Army or Dress for Success. The other option is to take them to a consignment store and make some extra cash when your pieces are sold. If you are at the consignment store and are looking to update your wardrobe, scan the racks for some good finds. Keep in mind that most textiles are non-recyclable. If you simply throw them in your trash bins, they will end up in land fills.
3) Rework what you have. If you've lost some weight it does not necessarily mean that you have to celebrate with a new wardrobe. If you do, follow tip #2 and take your old clothes to your favorite charity. Find yourself a good tailor or seamstress to adjust your old clothes to your new body. A few nips and tucks on your favorite piece makes a lot of difference on how it looks on you. Plus it's easier on the pocket!
Regardless of what tip you follow, remember that your actions impact the environment that you and everyone else shares. Be conscious. Be knowledgeable. Be in style.