New year, new you: 10 ways to a green wardrobe

By Staff | News
Posted Dec 31, 2012

The New Year means it’s time to shed old habits, turn over a new leaf, start anew. What does that mean for your green habits? And how can you green your wardrobe? We’ve come up with 10 hints to help:

1. Buy less – it is common when people learn about eco-fashion to suddenly want to rid their closet of all things non-eco. Don’t… the best, easiest, greenest way to be ‘eco’ is to keep everything you have, for as long as you can

2. Mend and make do – get the tailor to fix what needs to be fixed or go for an update; new buttons, new length, etc. Same for the cobbler – shoes can be resoled, redyed and generally have their life extended with an annual visit to the cobbler

3. Rent, borrow or swap –  with services like you may never need to purchase single-wear attire again. If not rent, why not borrow? Start a ‘dress-circle’ with friends and swap

4. Avoid fast fashion – fad-based items are problematic because items made cheaply are usually done at the expense of a living wage for the worker and items made cheaply won’t last, creating a cycle of single-wear items that are destined for landfill (thrift-shops can’t resell low quality items)

5. Create a capsule wardrobe – take 10 to 12 pieces from what you have and create a small, curated wardrobe. This exercise is perfect for falling back in love with key items, accessorizing and redefining your personal style/uniform

6. Shop second hand /vintage – some items simply improve with age; leather shoes, boots and bags, for example. Add a stroll through your local thrift shop to your shopping route, you might be amazed by the finds

7. Read the label – when buying new items, look 1-2 inches from the bottom hem for the label that will tell you what the item is made from, and where it is made. Look for natural fibres, union-made labels and stamps of manufacturing from your home country

8. Value story over price – an item produced by hand, in a co-operative that supports health and education for children is going to cost more than an item produced in a factory in a developing country. Supporting artisanal communities and the back-story of a new item is at the core of having a green wardobe

9. Consider dyes – many are toxic, check the label for vegetable,  herbal dyes and low water dyes

10. Lose the dryer -much of the harm to the environment from apparel is created by the consumer after purchase. Dryers use heaps of energy and are hard on the clothes. Time to be like the Dutch,/French/Spanish/Japanese, etc. and opt for a clothes drying rack


Follow Local Wisdom, a project, which links together a network of partners and design activity in seven centres of high fashion consumption spread across three continents, explores satisfying and resourceful practices associated with using clothes. Our favourite: the section titled ‘never washed‘ where fashion wearers reveal items in their wardrobes that have never been washed and why (it’s magnifeco!)

Follow the Uniform Project,  back in 2009 an inspired eco-fashionista pledged to wear a Little Black Dress for 365 days as an exercise in sustainable fashion. Designed to also be a fundraiser for the education of underprivileged children in India, the project acquired millions of visitors worldwide and raised over $100k for the cause. It’s perfect inspiration for the power of accessorizing and how to wear, re-wear and re-invent items over and over.

Download our Magnifeco Guide to a Conscious Wardrobe and use it as your manifesto to creating your own green wardrobe for 2013.


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