Last night I had the absolute privilege of attending Fashion Salvage in association with Bristol Textile Recycling (BTR) and Love your Clothes. Aside having a ton of fun (more on that later), the heart of the event was to raise awareness on clothing waste- I was astounded by the facts:
Did you know?
- Over a million tonnes of clothing is supplied onto the UK market each year and a similar amount of clothing is no longer wanted by UK consumers. About a third (350,000 tonnes) ends up in landfill.
- The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, but around 30% not been worn for at least a year.
- The clothing industry represents the fourth-biggest environmental footprint of any UK industry (after transport, utilities and food).
- That’s roughly 1.5 tonnes of carbon emissions per household each year. The equivalent of jumping in a car and driving 6000 miles from the UK to Mumbai in India. As there are roughly 25 million households in the UK, that’s 25 million trips to Mumbai.
- The waste footprint of clothing is 70kg per household each year. This is the equivalent weight of 100 pairs of jeans per year – again multiplied by 25 million households!
- Extending the average life of clothes is the single biggest action we can take to reduce the impact of clothing. Extending active use by just three months would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints.
Organisations like BTR and Love your Clothes are encouraging you to source seasonal trends from secondhand sources such as charity shops, vintage stores and even directly from BTR (you can buy clothes by the kilo!) to help reduce waste and ultimately assist in reducing the environmental impact our current shopping habits are contributing towards. It’s not all about sourcing though, it’s also about taking care of and reviving your own clothing and textiles. Love your Clothes, have fantastic resources online to aid in rejuvenating clothing that require a little TLC- got a stain in your favourite top? Lost a button? Don’t throw it out- repair it! They’ve also got fantastic tips to help you customise your items which is a fantastic way to get a whole new life out of that top. Speaking of customising- we had the pleasure of meeting with some of the team from CLIC Sargent Bristol who launched Fix Up Look Sharp; Fix Up Look Sharp transform donated textiles and clothing into one of a kind pieces- can’t get to Bristol to check them out? Look them up and buy online!
At Fashion Salvage, we had the opportunity to rummage through a mass selection of just some of the clothing, shoes and bags that end up at BTR to create a whole host of current trends. We even had the option to create a one of a kind look with the help of some amazing technicians who were on hand for all our haberdashery needs (this leopard print dress was created on the night). I found a whole bag full of brilliant quality and named clothing and walked away with an Armani shirt, Superdry jacket, Gap skirt, Jack Wills shirt, leather skirt and so much more- if you’re prepared to rummage, it’s amazing what you can find and the looks you can create. From my bag of goodies, I was able to create a utility look out of a Jack Wills khaki shirt and military style pencil skirt, festival looks with a floral summer dress and American style denim shorts and cut off denim jacket as well as a 90s trend to name a few.
Personally, I am not usually very good at rummaging- store sales are the things of nightmares- I usually just wait for an item to find me but it actually was great fun. I think having a goal- such as creating an entire look- made it much more achievable and fun. Originally, I was rummaging just to create looks (and trying to win that bottle of bubbly) but the looks I did create, I loved and was ever so grateful that most of the things were in my size- it was meant to be!