The clothing industry is, to put it simply, causing a great deal of environmental trouble. Of course, there are exceptions and the topic is remarkably complicated, however, there is no uncertainty that fast fashion is actively problematic. Perhaps the most significant cost is the inordinate amount of clothing and material waste that it leads to. A huge amount of clothing produced ultimately (and quickly) ends up in landfills. You may think we are exaggerating but the average US citizen throws away 37kg of clothing each year.
An average t-shirt weighs about 150g.
As consumers, we might recognise that it is the industry that needs to change. Companies continue to seek low-cost and environmentally destructive methods of production to increase their profits while growing customer demand. However, as individuals, we both have the power to reject this and influence it. This is why we should all learn to sew.
Picking Up The Needle
Once you begin sewing, the way you perceive clothing changes. The quality and potential of outfits become more apparent and, perhaps most significantly, they gain a longer life. A hole or tear no longer means disposal or a trip to the charity shop. In fact, with DIY clothing, a bit of damage can become an inspiration.
All of these possibilities come with time and while, at first, you might feel intimidated or unable to fix and transform your clothing into something special, it will eventually happen. It is similar to learning a language. At first, you might be able to sew a hole with a cumbersome stitch but, before you know it, you’ll be reviving old shirts into new and exciting outfits, using them as raw material or the foundation of something much bigger.
Curate Your Style
The benefits of having control over your outfits, whether extending the life of an item or creating upcycling old clothes, are not only directly environmental but also indirectly too, enabling you to curate your own style, one that better fits with your personality.
One of the issues with buying clothing from the high street is that we can often find ourselves compromising and buying items that aren’t entirely suited to ourselves. This, right of the bat, gives them a disadvantage and increases the likelihood that we will end up disposing of them instead of keeping them for a long period of time. With the ability to create our own outfits and styles, we will be less likely to compromise when shopping and much more likely to wear pieces of clothing that we are attached to.
Save Money, Save The Planet
As a skill, repairing clothing and making your own will allow you a more affordable wardrobe. Your starting materials will be the recycled fabrics and soon to be disposed of textiles that will allow you to create a garment for far less of a cost than if you were to pop into your local shopping centre. Plus, designer brands, those that have extremely high prices, will no longer seem as intimidating since you will be able to develop your own designer wear.
So, while picking up a needle might take time, each step that you take will have you one step closer to a healthier planet and more meaningful wardrobe.