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Sustainable living

Guide to sustainable fashion

Could you style more sustainably and save money?

Fashion and climate are joined at the hip. From when clothes are made to when they're no longer needed, all along the way there’s an impact on the environment. That’s why there’s a growing focus on making more sustainable fashion choices to help reduce the impact on the environment. It could save you some money too.

Five tips to style sustainably

Fashion's impact the environment

What is fast fashion?

Questions to ask yourself before buying new clothes

Five tips to style sustainably

  1. 01

    Try to buy only what you need. Fashion trends can change quickly, and sales may be tempting, but sticking to what you need means you'll buy new clothes less often and have less waste to deal with in future.

  2. 02

    Research brands first, or check their labels, to see how sustainable they are. For example, are they made from recycled fabric or are the materials organic.

  3. 03

    Why buy new clothes? Charity shops can be a great way to find unique clothes and usually at a big discount on the new price. You'll also be contributing to a worthwhile cause. While you're there, why not donate clothes you no longer wear.

  4. 04

    If you need something for a special occasion, you can always hire it. You'll avoid wasting money on something you might never wear again.

  5. 05

    Tired of something? There are lots of websites, apps or groups that connect people who have clothes they want to swap. Make sure you don't give out any personal details and keep postage receipts. See our fraud and scams guide to stay safe.

Fashion's impact on the environment

10%
of global carbon emissions come from the clothing industry

1kg
of fabric creates 23kg of greenhouse gases

20%
of industrial water pollution comes from textile manufacturing

1.5 trillion
litres of water are used every year in the fashion industry

What is fast fashion?

 
It tends to refer to clothes that closely follow the latest trends, are produced quickly and often at low cost to the consumer. This impacts the environment in several ways.

How does fast fashion impact the environment?

High carbon footprint

To keep costs low, clothes are often produced in countries with lower wages, that rely heavily on fossil fuels and that are far away from the consumer. This means that there's a carbon footprint associated with transporting the clothes, as well as during the manufacturing process.

Short life span causing more waste

Although this can also be said of lots of clothing, the lower price and fashionable nature can mean people are willing to keep the clothes for a relatively short time. So, a lot of energy has gone into something that may have a short life.

Questions to ask yourself before buying new clothes

Do I need it?

Trends change fast. And wearing clothes for an extra nine months could reduce your carbon footprint up to 30%.

What's it made of?

Check the label. Is it made from synthetics or natural materials? 10% of all CO2 emissions come from the clothing industry. Including chemicals used in dyes and waterproof clothes.

Does it need to be new?

You might find what you're after at a charity shop. Plus, buying pre-loved clothes cuts your fashion footprint by 75% per £1 spent.

Has this article inspired you to take action?

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Looking for ways to live more sustainably?

Take a look at the everyday habits you could adopt to reduce the carbon in your life by reducing, reusing and recycling more. 

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See your carbon footprint

With our Carbon Footprint Tracker we could show you the estimated footprint of your shopping in our app plus ideas for simple swaps to help you reduce it.

Carbon Footprint Tracker is within the Spending feature in our app, provided in partnership with CoGo. Spending available to customers aged 16+ who have a Personal or Premier account with us. App criteria apply.