Are you looking to refresh your wardrobe this Spring? This time of year is great to declutter and take a deeper look into your closet. Spring cleaning can feel like a fresh new start, and it’s also the perfect time to think about what happens to those older pieces of clothing that you won’t be wearing anymore. Set aside an hour or two and be honest about which items you actually wear and which ones are in need of a new home. Sustainability in fashion goes well beyond the purchase, the afterlife of a piece of clothing is equally important.
The average person throws away 81 pounds of clothing per year! We know our readers aren’t keen to contribute to this number, so we created this blog to help you decide what to do with your pre-loved clothing.
The Afterlife of Clothing
Let’s talk about why the afterlife of a piece of clothing is so important. What we do with our old clothing can have a huge impact on the environment. An incredible amount of clothing gets thrown out, in fact, 26 billion pounds of clothes end up in landfills each year!
Not only does this create more waste but it is also an $88 billion-dollar loss to the economy. It’s important to remember that your items do have value even when you’re done using them - whether you’re re-purposing, donating or selling them to vintage and second-hand stores. So, the next time you find your wardrobe is getting too crowded or you are tired of wearing the same old outfits, skip the garbage bin and follow these tips.
1. Repurpose Old Clothing
Picture this - you’re looking at your wardrobe trying desperately to find something cute to wear for a night out with your friends. As you pull out outfits, you're getting more and more desperate, nothing fits right, or you feel like you’ve worn the same outfit hundreds of times. We’ve all been there, but rather than giving up and buying a new outfit, why not try to repurpose that dress and create a whole new piece of clothing on your own? Not only will you be saving money but it's also a way for you to get those creative thoughts flowing and add more of your own personality into your wardrobe.
Here's a list to get you started on what repurposing projects you could start:1. Take that old skirt and turn it into a scarf!
2. Not ready to part with your favourite tee? Cut the sleeves and turn it into a tank!
3. Take that old dress and create a whole new look turning it into a matching two-piece set.
4. Take a lace top and cut out the lace, you can add it to a jean skirt or shorts to create a whole new look!
These are just a few ideas to start you off, and don’t worry if you’ve never tried to sew anything before, there are lots of DIY videos and of tips on YouTube and Pinterest if you need some guidance. This is a cool creative process you can learn, don’t take it too seriously and have some fun with it!
2. Host a Clothing Swap
Looking to make your spring cleaning even more fun? Invite some friends over to do a clothing swap. You can each pick out five pieces to bring and swap them between each other. Turn the music up, grab some wine and do a fashion show with your new pieces, decide if you like them as they are or want to add them to your repurposing project! If you’re interested in more tips for hosting your own clothing swap, check out this link for more information.
3. Sell to Second-Hand and Vintage Stores
Still have some pieces that you’re ready to part ways with? Look up some local second-hand or vintage clothing stores in your area. Most vintage stores will give you a percentage of the amount they are sold for. Selling your clothing to second-hand stores will keep your clothes out of the landfill and will reduce your environmental footprint.
Now you may be asking 'what about donating my second-hand clothing?'. This may seem like an easy way to get rid of your old clothes while making a positive impact, but in reality, it can do more harm than good. Only about 10-30% of the clothes we donate are actually good enough quality to be resold in charity shops, and the rest are then packaged and sent overseas to developing countries (most of them in East Africa and South Asia). As donated clothing in some cases has to be sold for as little as 20 cents for a t-shirt, it makes it hard for the local clothing industry to compete and puts local clothing makers in a tough spot financially. Head on over to the TAMGA blog on New Habits for Old Clothes to learn more about this issue.
4. Try Thrifting
If you’re desperate for a wardrobe revamp give thrifting a try and buy second-hand! Not only will the price be much friendlier to your budget, but by shopping second-hand you can help reduce the global footprint created from new clothing through the production process.
Shopping vintage is also a great way to find really unique and exciting items. Ever had the worry that you will show up to an event in the same dress as someone else? Shopping vintage you can find special one-of-a-kind pieces and lessening the chance of you running into someone wearing the same outfit.
Can’t find any second-hand stores in your area? Check out ThredUp, the world’s largest fashion resale marketplace where you can sell or buy second-hand clothing with a single click. You can order a 'clean out kit' that comes with a large bag to send them your pre-loved clothes that are in good condition. ThredUp sells, and you get paid!
When you do need to buy new clothing, look into the brands you purchase from. Choosing brands that focus on sustainability and use environmentally friendly materials is another great way to make sure your purchases aren’t having a negative environmental impact. Need a place to start? You’ll find an amazing array of ethically made women’s clothing on our TAMGA shop.
And don't forget to let us know your repurposing tips - we love being a part of your sustainability story!