How to Ethically Refresh Your Wardrobe

How to Ethically Refresh Your Wardrobe
Time for crisis mode. The atmosphere is deteriorating rapidly due to manufactured waste that ends up in the air and land. Obsession with fashionable trends, single wear spectacles, and retail therapy contributes heavily to that refuse. Remake, the global nonprofit dedicated to female empowerment through dismantling fast fashion, estimates that 21 billion pounds of textile waste enter landfills every year. Is that kind of environmental harm worth the ‘Gram? Millions of people are saying no, but feel unable to break fashion’s wasteful wheel. Thankfully, change is within reach. Recycle. Repurpose. Renew. Three R’s can change a wardrobe’s potential. Save money and the planet by taking action via these three words during the next closet purge.

Step 1: Repurpose
Remove everything that is worn out. Instead of binning those pieces, and thus dooming the fabric to lifeless existence in a landfill, repurpose them, and make rags. Dust, buff, wipe, and scrub your home with remnants from yesteryear’s garments, and never waste money on cleaning cloths again. Fabrics that don't make good rags, such as denim, may become patches or material for DIY tasks. Repurposing can bolster your wallet and create art project fodder. Training minds to ask, “what’s next,” creates a powerful shift in objects lifespans. Say goodbye to single use shirts, and hello to untapped potential.

Step 2: Recycle
Now that all unwearables are serving new purposes, it’s time to decide which pieces may become someone else’s statement. Donating clothing to places like Goodwill or The Salvation Army sounds like a no brainer. Sometimes though, it’s harder than it seems! Taking time to collect items, find a drop-off, and add that drive to an endless list of to-dos is incredibly difficult! Finding the center or shop that’s right for your life makes all the difference. Foundations like The Salvation Army and Goodwill offer at-home pick-ups. Mobile marketplaces like Poshmark, eBay, and TheRealReal make it easy to sell your “worn with love” pieces without asking for more a few pictures and some captions. If that’s not easy enough, there is always a person, whether she’s a friend, a daughter, a nephew or neighbor, who compliments your style. Gift them your vintage. Nothing brightens up a wardrobe like a past life.

Step 3: Renew
The last step in refreshing a closet is the most difficult. What does one do with the designer pieces, the one’s that cannot be gifted or cut up that will never be worn again? Renewing designer pieces takes nerve, vision, measuring tape, and scissors. Let the desire to help the planet bring forth personal innovation, and turn the augmentations that have lived in daydreams into realities. Turn a large-lapelled suit meant for ‘80s boardrooms into a short suit fit for a summer Friday spent downtown. Jeans become jorts, daisy dukes, and Sunday loungewear in ten seconds and six snips. Become the poster child for sustainability and personal style.

Repurpose – Recycle – Renew!
The climate won’t save itself. Neither will a wardrobe. Take control of each, and give back all.

Words: James Francis Kelley

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