It might seem hard to believe, but the fashion industry is the second-largest industrial polluter in the world, second only to oil. Throwaway fashion chains and discount retailers are damaging the environment with their manufacturing processes and exploiting vulnerable people in low-paid, manual jobs to produce fashion accessories. The worst part is, many of us are oblivious to it.
If you want to be a more ethical and environmentally-friendly dresser, follow our handy guide.
Follow ethical influencers online
If your Twitter timeline and Instagram feed is full of models wearing clothing from high street chains, it can be tough to resist an online splurge - and you can end up purchasing clothes that aren’t ethical or environmentally friendly.
Instead, follow ethical fashion bloggers and designers who can inspire you to dress smarter.
Stiall has put together twelve of their favourite ethical fashion Instagrammers, including Rêve En Vert, who focuses on luxury sustainable fashion, and Water Thru Skin, who spends her time posting selfies wearing ethically-sourced clothing on her round-the-world holidays. We’re totally not jealous… (we are!)
Shop for second-hand clothing
The chances are that, when you think of second-hand clothing, charity shops come to mind. Of course, you can pick up some excellent bargains in your local charity shop, but you should also think about vintage fashion stores and online retailers that specialize in pre-owned clothing.
Buying clothes second hand is great for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s often cheaper than buying clothes brand new, and you can find interesting and unique pieces. Second-hand stores sell clothes that are higher quality and more original than what high street retailers churn out.
The even better news is, when you purchase second-hand clothes, you’ll know that your money won't be going to a fashion chain that profits from exploiting workers. Instead, money raised from second-hand clothing sales most often goes direct to a charity.
Buy quality, ethical clothing
Even the most environmentally-friendly fashionistas will need to buy new clothes from time to time. So, when you decide that you’re in need of a new look, then make sure you do your research, and only buy from brands that care about the environment.
And be sensible when buying new items. Look for pieces that will stand the test of time, find items that you can wear throughout the year, and think of clothing as an investment rather than buying items for anoccasion. If you’re only going to wear it once, it’s probably not worth buying.
Donate and recycle clothing
We’ve already talked about how you can get your wardrobe ready for the summer, and one of the best ways is to donate and recycle clothing that you no longer need. Charity shops are always looking for good-quality clothing that they can resell, so pack up the items that you no longer wear or need and give it away. Having a wardrobe clearout can be incredibly therapeutic!
If you want to dress ethically, you should try not to put any of your old clothing in the bin. Instead of throwing away garments you no longer wear, you could recycle them; turn dresses and tees into cushion covers or cuddly toys, and turn jeans into handbags or shorts. There are endless possibilities when you recycle - you just need a needle, some thread and an imagination!
Are you trying to dress and shop more ethically? Let us know what you’re doing to protect the environment and dress green over on Twitter using @ultrateebrand, and check out our new spring summer collection, all designed and manufactured using ethically-sourced materials.