The ultimate guide to a sustainable fashion

scritto da Eleonora Rizzo

I decided to put together a list of do’s and don’ts for those who would be willing to wear sustainable but have no idea where to start. They go from easy tips to avoid wasting water when washing clothes, to innovative alternatives to traditional fabrics.
Think before shopping 
1) Needless to say we live in a consumerist world: the advertisement industry and our own culture make us feel that enough is never enough, that we need the latest Smartphone, the newest Zara collection and we keep collecting a great deal of things we really don’t need. Next time you will be staring at a shop window, ask yourself whether you absolutely need those new pair of jeans. Renew before you buy! Match that old shirt with new accessories, repair buttons, add embroidery and take the clothes to the tailor for adjustments when they no longer fit. 
Make the right choice
2) How many times it has happened that you needed a new pair of boots and you ended up with 2 shirts, a bikini and many other useless sparkling items in your bag? First thing to bear in mind while you go shopping: make long-term choices. Imagine you are going to buy something you will still use five years from now. Avoid seasonal trends and cheap brands. Aim for quality and timeless chic.
3) Give a try to vintage shops; thrift shopping can be very fun and satisfying. If you are used to think at vintage shops as dusty places filled up with grandmother clothes well…you couldn’t be more wrong! Clothes swaps are an original idea which has been developing in the later years thanks to the social media tools which allow people to meet. There are many shops where you can find luxury items and timeless gems at half or more their original price: second hand is good for the planet, guilt-free and cool.
4) Buy low-maintenance piece of clothing. By “low maintenance” I mean clothes that can be washed in cold water (which saves up to 80-90% of energy from hot water) and line dry. You really need to avoid buying dry cleaning or “wash separately” items. The former are very dangerous for the environment: dry cleaning solvent known as perchlorethylene has been classified as “probable carcinogen”, and its use contributes to smog and global warning. The latter require different washing cycles for a few pieces of clothes, which contributes to wasting precious water and polluting the environment with more chemicals than necessary. 
5) Avoid synthetic materials that cannot biodegrade, go for organic. If you believe that cotton is a sustainable choice, well you couldn’t be more wrong! Cotton requires a lot of water which increases soil salination, it requires much more space to develop than other fibres and must be treated with pesticides and mineral fertilizers. Traditional materials involve the use of animal derivatives: if you choose to buy a fur coat you will contribute not only to the suffering and murder of helpless animals, but also to the environmental impact that the use of chemicals and tons of water involve. Nowadays there is a wide range of alternatives to animal derivatives: you can choose organic cotton, wool and linen, eco-fur and eco-leather, plant-based textiles like bamboo and hemp. You can find the entire list of substitutes on Animal Free.
6) Sustainable fashion is a growing industry: nowadays we have many more opportunities than ten years ago to make an environmentally-friendly choice.  Many brands have specialized in sustainable clothing, while others aim at becoming greener.  If you still think that wearing ethical is boring, take a look at you will find eco-friendly luxury clothes for all tastes

Smart tips to do the laundry
7) As I previously told you: avoid particularly sensitive fabrics. However, if you already have some of these items, here is what you can do to limit the environmental impact of the washing cycle. 
There are some natural methods that you can try alternatively to dry cleaning: Wet Cleaning is a new process that uses an environmentally friendly water-based system; GreenEarth Cleaning is a chemical inert method which uses a silicone solvent, essentially pure liquefied sand, and is very gentle on clothes and finally CO2 Cleaning method that uses liquid carbon dioxide to dry-clean clothes, eliminating the use of perchloroethylene. Try to substitute top-loaded washers with front-loaded washers that are actually more expensive but ensure a longer duration of your clothes and better efficiency in the use of energy and water.