This is not only due to the amount of clothes we produce, but how we produce them. For instance, cotton, which, according to WWF, is used in approximately half of all textiles, is a water intensive crop that is grown with agrochemicals - mainly pesticides and fertilizers.
The lifespan of our clothes is also shorter than before. You might have heard of how planned obsolescence for electronic devices encourages us to keep buying newer models. Well, the same principle applies in the clothing industry. By selecting poorer fabrics that will easily break down, fashion brands make sure that we will constantly be in need of new clothes.
This system works for them because they keep releasing new collections every year. That’s what we call fast fashion.
Finally, Global Fashion Agenda indicates that about 92 million tons of waste are generated by the global textiles and clothing industry. What is even more alarming is that by 2030, this number could increase by at least 50%.
So what can we do to reduce our fashion footprint?
If thrift shops aren't an option because you've lost your Apparition licence (or you're stuck at home in the midst of a global travel ban), there's no need to fear.
We magical-folk are lucky enough to have Muggle technology for such things. Ever browsed for a new sweater on Facebook Marketplace? What about Depop? Carousell? The Clothing Exchange?
"What if I only plan on using my ball gown once? Isn't it a waste to spend money and resources buying something for one event?" A very good question!
Luckily, there are now rental options. Many people on Instagram and other sites are lending, swapping, and selling items for a small price or bond. One such account is @byrotationofficial, an eco-friendly "Social Fashion Rental App" where you can rent and lend your wardrobe to the community and borrow items that strike your fancy.
Not only does secondhand shopping save money, it also helps preserve our earth by reducing our consumption of more resources, lessening the load on landfills, and reducing the demand for fast fashion (which is not only wasteful, but often employs slave labor and sweatshops).
So before heading straight to your favorite fast fashion stores, check your local thrift shop, hop on a secondhand clothing site, or consider rental items. It'll save you money and space in your wardrobe for your next purchase!
Happy (thrift) shopping!
Here are some ideas for repurposing your clothes:
...there are endless possibilities!
These tips and tricks will save you time, money, wardrobe space, and the planet through saving resources and saying no to fast fashion!
If you'd rather leave that to expert hands, check out services like Sojo, a UK clothing alterations & repairs app.
Clothes that are beyond repair will work great as rags or as bedding for your animal companions. And don’t forget, next time you’re looking to buy new clothes, choose clothes that are built to last.
By showing our clothes a little love, we can prolong their lifespans. So let’s try to:
Check out websites such as Awesome Books UK, Thrift Books, and Better World Books, which all sell used books worldwide.
Shopping for secondhand books will also help you keep the cost down, especially if you have seven children to put through wizarding school and the spellbook list keeps changing every year!
For us non-magical folk interested in animal rights, Hermione recommends brushing up on your Magizoology knowledge with a copy of Newt Scamander’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” or trying to veganize some recipes from Mrs. Weasley’s favorite cookbooks, “One Minute Feasts – It's Magic!” or “Enchantment in Baking.” Whatever you choose, give some love to a used copy.
And remember that like all items you buy and no longer need, books can be shared and gifted to family and friends. That ought to clear some space in your bookshelves for your next secondhand book shopping spree!
On the other hand, workers often don’t know which brand they are making clothes for. Without this crucial information, it is much harder for both parties to contact the companies in charge and hold them accountable for workplace violations.
What can we do to support garment workers?
You ought to know that not all thrift stores are non-profit organizations. In fact, many are indeed looking to make a profit, and with thrifting becoming more and more of a trend, many have raised their prices. In that case, it might be best to give what you no longer need to somebody in your entourage, organize a backyard sale, or sell to a private buyer on an online marketplace.
Charities and thrift shops receive endless donations, many of which won’t be of any use. According to the non-profit organisation, Fashion Revolution, only 10% of the clothes given to thrift shops are resold. Unwanted secondhand clothes end up being shipped overseas, with Africa receiving 70% of all clothes donated in Europe.
Don’t donate old clothes that are ripped, such as ripped t-shirts or stained trousers, as they are unlikely to be resold. When donating something, you should ask yourself: would I buy this item? And before being donated, your belongings should be thoroughly cleaned.
If you’re considering donating appliances, keep in mind that they should be in working condition, as most charities do not have the personnel nor the tools needed to fix them. In this case, recycling your electronics is the best solution. Depending on where you live, some local councils even offer free collection of small items.
We need to put an end to overconsumption. Selling and donating items we no longer want shouldn’t be a monthly habit that enables us to keep buying new items. What we should aim to do is reflect on our consumption as a whole.
Before adding anything to our home, we ought to ask ourselves a few questions:
What we choose to discard is our responsibility, so we should buy accordingly.
Secondhand Marketplaces (various items):
Thrift Store (clothes):
Don’t forget to join our Discord server to chat with other animal lovers and show us what you’ve purchased secondhand!
Written by Assya Ahouandjinou, Ruby Shoefield, Valerie Short, and Victoria Tomis
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