Danica Ratte has her own sustainable and fair trade fashion business, started on travels around Vietnam where she was captivated by the beauty of local artisans. Now living in Melbourne, she is a designer dedicated to sustainable fashion with stylish results. Here are some of her favourite tips for you...On my Asian travels, I saw the devastating social effects of the fast fashion industry and it changed my life. I simply could not condone that I was a part of the cruelty I was witnessing. Making changes wasn't easy though. The fashion industry is quite expansive, and it was confusing to try and keep track of everything, especially when the best, affordable items I fell in love with seemed to come exclusively from fast fashion brands! It took some time and some research, but here are five fab tips for navigating the fashion maze stylishly and sustainably.
1. The “30 wears” rule
A great place to start is wit eco-journalist Lucy Siegle's ‘30 wears' rule, which means that you try to only buy a new piece of clothing if you are going to wear it at least 30 times in the future. This practice will help you resist the urge to buy unnecessary clothes and accessories, and who knows, you might even end up saving enough money to buy some high-quality, classic pieces that you will love even more.
2. Try the new “Good on You” App
There is actually an app to help us make sustainable and ethical clothing choices: the new Good on You App, available for both android and iOS. They check out our favourite brands, and assign them a ranking on a variety of environmental and labour issues. Supporting ethical brands, preserving our environment and helping out other people who are struggling to make a living has never been easier!
3. Shop vintage
If you love vintage clothes, then the transition to a sustainable fashion lifestyle will be easy peasy to make! Simply indulge in your thrift-store shopping sprees, and rest assured that your second-hand buys are in fact a very sustainable and eco-friendly choice, because otherwise these clothes would end up in a landfill somewhere.
4. Buy classic and versatile clothing
It's easy to fall in love with seasonal trends, however it's not always eco-friendly, since it can lead to overconsumption and a wasteful approach to fashion. A better option is to invest in a few sustainable and ethical classic pieces that you can mix and match instead.
5. Invest in good quality and take care of your clothes
If you invest in a few high-quality pieces, you will feel compelled to take better care of them, and learn about all of their quirks and individual needs. Most clothes should be washed in cold water, since cold washing doesn't waste power and can clean everything just as well, and ideally hung out to dry in the sun. Dryers don't just consume a lot of energy, but they often harm the fabric of your clothes, wearing them out overtime. It really is in everyone's best interest to care for our clothes - rinse out any stains as soon as possible, mend any loose stitches. That old 'stitch in time saves nine' saying has plenty of application in a sustainable wardrobe. By caring for your clothes and investing in eco-friendly materials that don't require a lot of dry cleaning and ironing, you can be sure that your footprint on our planet is as small as possible.
Good luck rethinking your approach to style. Please share any tips that you find work for you. Sharing will help us all make a bigger impact.
Further readingLucy Seigle: http://www.theguardian.com/profile/lucysiegle
Good on you: http://goodonyou.org.au/