5 things I did to create a Sustainable Wardrobe

I have been asked this question very often, “How and when did you start your sustainable wardrobe journey?” It was never easy for someone who lived every trend and would stuff her wardrobe with clothes. No start is easy. What’s important is, that we make that start and stay put at it.

It was one and a half years ago, when I accidently bumped into a video called “The True Cost” . That left me a little numb. It speaks about the impact our clothes have on the environment. More than 30,000 tonnes of clothes fill up the landfill and end up choking it. One video led to another. Then I chanced upon few accounts like the Sustainable fashion Forum, which brought out data and facts on the impact of everyday fashion on not just the environment, but also the people working for these brands. That was quite a wake-up call. It wasn’t easy initially. But it wasn’t impossible either.

So here’s putting below 5 things I did to help me continue this sustainable journey and achieve some success. Still have a long way to go.

  1. Start small – Arrange your wardrobe

This may sound amateurish, but trust me, it is one of the most effective ways to start. Bring out all your clothes, arrange them as per colour, occasion and season. This helps you understand what you already have. Our tendency is to keep buying clothes without realizing how much already exists. Once you lay all your clothes down and arrange them well, it will surprise you.

2. Stop following trends

Those loved spring-summer colours and fall textures allure us through the show windows of shopping malls and glitzy magazine covers. Stop right there. You do not need another floral shirt or neutral jacket. Trends confuse us and makes us over consume. This is where we fall prey to fast fashion brands. Understand your personal style and create your own trends.

Used my 9 year old saree to create a contemporary look

3. Restyle and Rewear

Ever since I started my hashtag on Instagram called #restylingwithpenaaz it has opened up some great creative avenues for everyone who is a part of it. What you have in your wardrobe can be re-worn several times by getting a little creative. Add a jacket to your regular white tee and blue jeans or a tie a scarf with it. Experimenting with clothes that you already own, doesn’t set any fatigue and helps you stay sustainable.

Styled my plain white old tee with a saree
Same white tee, styled with a skirt

4. Say hello to second hand

Pre-loved clothes in good condition is a wonderful way to own something new without really shaking things up. There are some wonderful thrift stores out there from where you can buy some well maintained pre-loved clothes. Naming a few here: Aura Thrift Store , The Revolve Closet, Lulu Thrift, Shop Retro Days, Bombay Closet Cleanse, The Salvage Story. There are also some wonderful influencers and bloggers on social media who do some closet sales from time to time. Keep an eye out for those. Another interesting thing is to swap clothes with friends or family. This way you get to wear new things, without buying something new. I keep doing this with my mother’s wardrobe. Borrow her sarees and style it the way I want to.

Wore this pre-loved dress on my Vietnamese vacation

5. Shop from ethical brands

Sustainability is not about putting an end to shopping. If we do not buy, how will the economy roll? The main context here is, are we buying from the right place? Today, if you feel like buying from a fast fashion store, go ahead and do it. However, ensure, that you wear that piece of clothing at least 30 times. Another trick is to sleep over the purchase for at least 48 hours. If you don’t feel that same urge to buy, it means you don’t need it at all.

I moved to buying from brands that are homegrown, eco-friendly and support weavers/artisans. They also help customize your clothes which makes it so much more desirable. Some lovely homegrown sustainable brands that I know are –

Tilhori India, Reena Rose Dass, Renge India, Okhai, Orissa By Tania, Aanswr, Tishyakriti, Bageeya, Sewa

A customized Orissa ikkat skirt. Slow made by weavers in Orissa
A slow made red dress

We make our own stories. So when it’s about fashion, let’s not just make it a pretty one but also a sustainable one.

Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drapeastory/

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