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When was the last time you tried on three different outfits to make sure your clothes looked just right?  If you’re anything like me, it was within the last week…   But, when was the last time you thought about how your clothes were made?  Or considered the environmental impact of your closet jam packed full of “nothing to wear’?


This often comes as a shock, but the fashion industry is considered by many to be the second dirtiest industry in the world, next to big oil.  From synthetic materials, to unstainable farming practices, to pollution caused by dye factories, manufacturing clothing has a huge environmental impact.  The carbon foot print of the fashion industry grows even bigger as we start taking in to account the complicated supply chain that ships raw materials and finished goods around the world before garments end up in our local stores.


Thinking about how and where your clothes are made before you buy them are essential to having a more sustainable wardrobe.  But, there are a few easy things we can start doing today to lessen our environmental impact as well, and they’re all FREE!


Whether you are a committed ethical-fashionista or just beginning your journey to have a more sustainable closet, here are three easy things you can do to feel good about the clothes you wear

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1. SHOP YOUR CLOSETThe average American buys 68 items of clothing per year.  That means most of us have clothes tucked away in our closet that we haven’t worn in forever.  Before heading to the store for a new outfit, take some time to look through what you already own and see what “new” outfits you can create.

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2.  GREEN YOUR LAUNDRY ROUTINEWith just a few small changes you can make your laundry routine more eco-friendly.  Good tips to follow are to wash in cold water (it takes more energy to heat water), always have a full load (to conserve water), and let clothes hang dry when possible.

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3. HOST A CLOTHING SWAPFor all of those pieces that you just can’t imagine wearing one more time or maybe don’t fit quite so well anymore, let them have a new home with someone else.  Invite some friends to clean out their closets and plan a night to combine the clothes for everyone to “shop” through.  It’s kind of like girls’ night meets shopping!


Ethical and sustainable wardrobes consider the entire life-cycle of a garment – how it’s made, how it’s cared for, and what happens to it when it’s no longer useful to us.  Over 12 million pounds of clothing end up in landfills each year.  Managing the amount of clothing we buy and what we do with it can make a big difference in the health of our planet.


I highly recommend watching The True Cost movie to learn more about the environmental impact of the fashion industry.  You can stream it on Netflix or watch clips on their website: http://truecostmovie.com/.


Look for new, creative ways to pair pieces to get a “new” outfit out of items you already have.


Whether inside or outside, consider air-drying your laundry to conserve energy.


Have a fun night with friends and “shop” for new clothes by hosting a Clothing Swap.



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Written by Diana Welch

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