Did you know that, second to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world? Just think about it: Remember that dress you threw out because you spilled soy sauce all over the front? It's probably sitting in a landfill somewhere minding its own business, taking up precious space. Now imagine how many times you've cleaned out your closet, only to end up with boxes of clothes to give away, or worse, dispose of.
Plastic is undoubtedly the zero waste movement's numero uno villain, but have you ever thought about the impact your clothes are making? Just to give you an idea, consumers throw away an average of 70 pounds of shoes and clothing per person anually. And that's just one person! Currently, the world's population is at 7.7 billion, and if you do the math on that one, you'll end up with a staggering number.
Since today is Earth Day, we decided to enlist the help of zero waste advocate Kimi Juan, and asked her how to make more conscious and earth-friendly decisions when it comes to our wardrobe. Keep scrolling!
What's the simplest way to start transitioning to an eco-conscious wardrobe?
"Transitioning isn't always simple, but it all starts with the mindset of really wanting to do better for the environment. I started by stopping any purchases from fast fashion brands and slowly purchasing pieces from local brands or shopping second hand (ukay!). Garments are discarded every day and an easy way to help the environment is to give clothes a second life."
What fabric should consumers purchase?
"I always look for garments that are made from natural fabrics such as linen, silk, Tencel™."
Is there any fabric you should avoid? Why?
"As much as possible I avoid Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic and other synthetic fabrics that are basically plastic and use much more energy to manufacture."
How do you chose the clothes you buy? Are there any guide questions you ask yourself before purchasing something?
"I'm very much into the quality of a certain piece, before I purchase I consider the fabric and the way a product is made and who made the product. Do you really need this piece? Will this last? Is this a trend? A lot of the pieces I purchase are classic pieces that I could wear forever. I stay away from trends."
What are your favorite slow fashion brands?
"Áraw, my favorite brand that produces classic pieces, what my wardrobe is basically made out of, proudly made in the Philippines. Girlfriend, they make sportswear out of recycled plastic. The Wylde, amazing lounge pieces, all made and dyed ethically in Bali. Eairth, naturally dyed fabrics, amazing bodysuits made in the Philippines. And of course, I thrift a lot of my pieces, I love vintage clothing."
How do you get rid of the clothes you don't need anymore?
"I sell them online. Anybody can do this, you can give your garments a second life and earn a quick buck."
Do you still shop online? How can we reduce the excess waste from online shopping?
"I've stopped online shopping recently, many shops do want to ship plastic-free but there are still many couriers that require plastic packaging for safety reasons. I would recommend only shopping online for things that you really need."
What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to start a zero waste lifestyle?
"Start small, going plastic free can be really difficult, and its important to asses the trash that you produce every day and slowly transition. It might be in fashion, or in the household, but what's important is to improve every day."