A quarter of all clothing owned by Londoners are never worn and £140 million worth of clothing ends up in our landfills every year.
Photography credit: Adrienne Leonard
Our clothes don't only have a harmful effect on the environment, but also have a huge social cost. Many of our garments are manufactured in poor countries where human rights are abused due to a lack of legislation. Garment workers are being laid off by the thousands during the Covid-19 times as big brands have stopped payment to manufacturers.
Stores have closed and we stay indoors. Many of us don't see the need to buy new clothing: why bother looking nice when we're stuck at home, right? Some of us have a lot less income (hello, me!) and can't afford new clothing.
Our retailers aren't making any money on us consumers right now, so they're making use of this 'perfect' excuse to stop paying their garment manufacturers, who in turn are laying off their garment makers. Millions have lost their jobs, without any social or financial safety net to fall back on.
And we keep on buying new clothes and throwing them away, as if it's nothing to us.
In the UK, the average lifetime for a piece of clothing is 2.2 years.
It's extremely easy to extend our garment's active life and we need to get away from the easy and cheap seasonal garments and buy proper quality clothing.
How to extend your garment's active life:
- Look for those classic features that will make you want to wear it for years on end, not the latest fashion craze that will make you regret wearing it in the first place a year or two from now.
- Wear your clothing more often and make use of it in every single way you can.
- The way you look after your clothes is also very important and you should follow washing instructions and repair or alter your clothes where you can.
- Don't throw away your clothing when they aren't fully worn out. Donating them is usually the way to go, but op shops are now closed and most have received too many donations over the last months. You can instead organize a clothing swap with a group of friends?