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Sustainable fashion: Buy clothes with a clear conscience | > – Guide

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Sustainable fashion: Buy clothes with a clear conscience |  > – Guide

As of: January 19, 2024 10:17 a.m

Fast fashion has massive environmental and social impacts. But consumers can help protect the environment and protect it from exploitation. Tips for sustainable fashion.

On average, German consumers buy 60 items of clothing every year; according to the Federal Environment Ministry, 40 percent of the clothing is never or only rarely worn. The production and purchase of fast-moving cheap fashion has more than doubled since the turn of the millennium – and continues to rise, with massive impacts for people and the environment.

Quality instead of quantity: Avoid fast fashion

Many people buy more clothes than they need. Often it is not even worn.

But consumers can help protect the environment and protect it from exploitation – through conscious fashion consumption. This means less quantity and more quality: buy less clothing, but buy pieces that are better made and therefore last longer. Although they are more expensive to purchase than cheap goods, the price is put into perspective over time. Clothing should also ideally be timeless. Last but not least, life is more relaxed when you are not subject to constantly changing fashion trends.

Pay attention to clothing labels and organic quality

Anyone who buys clothing that is marked with a recommended seal helps ensure that the environment is less polluted and higher wages are paid. Unfortunately, the seal market is confusing. It is therefore easiest to first pay attention to organic quality when it comes to cotton clothing. These are now also available from large retail chains. The laundry list should say: “made from …% organically grown cotton”.

The Siegelklarheit portal provides an overview of recommended clothing seals, which evaluates the various seals in terms of credibility, environmental friendliness and social compatibility. Among others, “Blue Angel”, “EU Ecolabel”, “Fairtrade” for cotton and textile production, “GOTS” and “Naturland” are recommended.

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Buy and sell second-hand or swap clothes

You can buy and sell clothes in thrift stores and flea markets. There is a large selection of used children’s textiles at clothing bazaars. This protects the environment because less has to be produced, and at the same time protects your wallet. People interested in fashion can also find cheap branded clothing, older, high-quality clothing (vintage) and special pieces there. You can also buy clothes in good condition and resell discarded ones via online portals.

You can also swap clothes. What is banned from the wardrobe may be liked by friends, family or work colleagues – or vice versa. In many cities there are public clothing swaps with a larger selection or private clothing swap parties. Information and tips are available on the Internet.

Borrow and rent instead of buying

It is often not worth buying clothes, especially for special and often one-off occasions such as weddings, festive parties or celebrations. Instead, you should see whether your friends or acquaintances can borrow the piece. You can also rent textiles, in store or online. Some online portals offer memberships if you want to rent clothes more frequently or for longer periods.

Repair, change, upcycling and DIY fashion

Whether it’s a dress or a bag: new items can be sewn from discarded items of clothing.

In the past, clothing was considered valuable and was repaired and used. For anyone who values ​​clothing, this still applies today. With well-made textiles, minor damage can be easily repaired. Rejected parts can be modified or made into new pieces. Even holes are considered a trendy look today.

Whether shortening, sewing around or sewing on: redesigning and repurposing old parts is the trend. You can sew a dress out of a T-shirt and a skirt or make a bag out of pants. There are countless instructions and tutorials on the Internet under the keywords “upcycling” or “DIY fashion”.

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If you don’t sew yourself, tailors can carry out repairs or redesigns. At the same time, you support small shops in the neighborhood. If items of clothing are heavily worn, parts such as buttons or zippers can often still be used.

Pass on discarded clothing

Clothes in good condition that you no longer wear can be given away or given to nonprofit organizations. They run clothing stores or social department stores. You should avoid illegal clothing collections, picking up old clothes on the street or setting up containers without permission. Suitable containers can be found through FairWertung eV, an association of non-profit organizations with their own seal, or through the municipality. Attention: Cheap fashion, which often consists of inferior chemical fibers or fiber mixes, is neither suitable as second-hand goods nor for further use in old textile recycling.

Keep your wardrobe small

If you clean out your closet regularly, you have a good overview of what you really need.

It is advisable to radically clear out your wardrobe and regularly take an overview of your clothing inventory. This creates space, has a liberating effect and protects you from buying unnecessary new items of clothing. At least once a year you should take a look at your wardrobe and critically ask yourself what you are actually wearing. With a good overview you can only buy what you really need. And ideally these should be a few timeless favorite pieces that complement each other and can be combined in a variety of ways. On the Internet there is information about the concept of a minimalist wardrobe under the term “capsule wardrobe”.

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Sustainable fashion consumption: What else to pay attention to?

Wash your laundry properly: To ensure that you have your favorite items for a long time, you should only wash them as often as necessary. This protects the fibers. With these laundry tips you can enjoy your clothes for longer. Choose carefully online: When shopping online, you should always exercise caution and pay attention to size information when ordering. Shipping and delivery pollute the environment, especially when goods are returned. In addition, some returns are destroyed as so-called rejected goods. Buy from fair and ecological brands: The most sustainable way is to buy textiles from fashion brands that only offer fair and ecological clothing. On the Internet, sites like Get Changed or Utopia provide an overview.

Further information

Where to put your discarded clothes? Cuxhaven and Braunschweig show sustainable ways for shoes, shirts and more

Fewer pollutants and more recycling: Environmentally friendly fabrics and vegan materials are on the rise in the fashion industry. more

The textile industry is an environmental polluter: up to 3,000 chemicals are used in the production of clothing. Researchers and fashion designers are looking for ecologically compatible materials. more

This topic in the program:

Market | 01/22/2024 | 8:15 p.m

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