Gone are the good old days where we use to put patches on pants that had worn through, or darn socks when they got a hole in them. In our fast paced, quick fix society now we are much more likely to throw away the pants and socks and head down to the shops to replace them for some new ones.
This is understandable as we live in a society now where everything is at your fingertips and it’s often much faster, and most of the time even more cost effective, to head down to local shopping centre or supermarket to pick up the item that you need to replace rather than repairing or repurposing it.
What is the current issues facing our fashion at home and in the fashion industry?
Research from YouGov Omnibus tells us that 75% of Australians throw away at least one item of clothing per year, and one in five of us have actually thrown away clothing after only wearing that item once.
The statistics are even more shocking for our Millennial generation (those born after 1981) for the researched showed that 38% of Millennials have purchased at least half the clothes they own within the last 12 months, and that they were nine times more likely to throw away clothing because they have seen a friend wearing it, thus contributing to the very serious environmental issue we are facing with the increasing amount of items ending up in landfill.
The seriousness of wastage when it comes to clothing particularly within the fashion industry has been highlighted recently when the exclusive fashion label Burberry was discovered to have burned over $50 million dollar worth of designer clothes and perfume last year to prevent them from being stolen or sold under value in order to keep the exclusivity of their brand. This takes the total amount of products they have destroyed to over $150 million in the past five years. The website 1 Million Women have an online petition running to stop this practice from continuing, if you want to find out more or sign the petition please click here.
What are the alternatives to throwing away unwanted clothing?
There are several options that are open to us for both getting rid of clothes that we no longer want, and also purchasing new items some of those options are;
- Op Shops – Ops Shops are a fantastic place to donate your unwanted clothing to, for they are able to recycle the clothing to other people who may be looking for just that item that you are wanting to part with. On the flip side too, they are a wonderful treasure trove of bargains if you are looking to add something new to your own personal collection. You can look through the racks of clothing to find some amazing and unique pieces at bargain prices, it also helps to avoid that awkward situation when you arrive somewhere wearing the same outfit as someone else!
- Clothing Swap Parties – clothing swap parties are becoming increasingly popular, and involve firstly gathering any unwanted items that they may have in their wardrobes and then coming together with a group of friends who have done the same and then swapping clothes! How fun! It’s a great way to pass on some items that you may no longer want and then also to help yourself to some great finds. The Real Simple website has some great hints and tips of setting up a clothing swap party – you can read more here.
- Hiring Clothes – if you have a special occasion coming up that you need a new outfit for, before you hit the shops to splurge on a new outfit that you’ll possibly only wear once it might be worth thinking about renting an outfit for the evening. There are lots of online companies that offer you the option of hiring a suit or dress, which is a more cost effective and environmentally friendly option.
There are so many great ways to reuse, repurpose and recycle your unwanted clothes so the next time you are looking through your wardrobe and thinking about cleaning it out or adding to it try the nearest Salvos or a friend’s house instead!