Cazinc is a collective of Melbourne bloggers that explores culture in many forms – from fashion and style, travel, lifestyle and wellbeing, to the culinary and decorative arts.

 

Sustainable Clothing - The 7 R's Of Fashion

Sustainable Clothing - The 7 R's Of Fashion

If you’re a fashion lover and you’re serious about caring for our planet, this is for you!

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It’s no secret that the fashion industry is facing many challenges, including but not limited to: 

·     the use of pesticides and fertilisers to grow cotton

·     the highly toxic chemicals used to process and treat fabric 

·     sweatshops and unfair labour practices

·     enormous amounts of water required to make clothing 

·     the unethical disposal of contaminated water 

·     the fast fashion frenzy that is contributing to the growing number of textiles that end up in landfill each year

Fashion always fell into two annual drops, Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, but now with fast fashion, there can be as many as 50+ micro-seasons.  That means new stuff is going on racks for us to purchase every week!  It’s cheap and poorly made, so we buy a lot of it then dump it because it’s not built to last, or we don’t care about it.  Between 2000 and 2014, global fashion consumption grew by 60%, but consumers now keep garments half as long. 

The more we research how the above effects people and our planet, the more we wanted to make our label ethical and sustainable.  We are following the ethics of others, like Canada's non-profit fashion industry organisation focused on sustainability called Fashion Takes Action.  They work with industry and consumers to advance sustainability in the entire fashion system through education, awareness and collaboration.   

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Fashion Takes Action’s goal, as is the goal of Cazinc The Label, is to shift behaviour toward a more positive social and environmental impacts of the industry.  Since starting in 2007, Fashion Takes Action has uncovered many challenges around labour, supply chain (lack of) transparency, toxic chemical use, water pollution and use, energy and waste.



 Did you know?

The apparel industry is ranked in the top five most polluting industries in the world.  It also employs one of the world’s largest workforces – 80% of whom are women and many who are victims of forced labour and modern-day slavery.  

We wear clothes every day, so how can you make an impact and not support this toxic fast fashion movement?

You can start by following the 7 R's of fashion:

Reduce

The most important thing is to slow down our fashion consumption massively.  Try shopping for VALUE instead of COST.  Investment pieces that can be worn through the seasons for many years have a cost per wear that makes them more inexpensive than fast fashion!  The value of a garment also increases when it has an emotional appeal of some kind (e.g. “this was such a good vintage find”, “I love this design and saved my money for it”, or remembering special circumstances around the purchase, such as travel.)  If you crave variety, use your creativity to reduce your need for new outfits.  Style a smaller capsule wardrobe multiple different way by “shopping your closet” with different pairings, layers and accessories.

Reuse

Be a proud Outfit Repeater!  Use your creativity to wear an item 100 times or more. 

Shop thrift, consignment and vintage.  Thrift stores are second-hand clothing markets with very little curation, but you can often find treasure.  Consignment shops are shops where people sell their clothes, and the shop owner keeps a profit as well.  Vintage clothing shops sell items from specific eras, usually high-quality styles two-to-three decades old.

 Recycle

 Many textiles can be recycled.  They can go in the donation bin along with household textiles and clean, dry garments, shoes and accessories.  (In this context, “recycle” means the breaking down into raw materials, such as fibre or shreds, and being made into something else.)

The more we divert textiles from landfill, the more we can reuse, repair and recycle materials, and the more we can decrease our GHG emissions which are creating climate change.  For every 1 kg of textiles that decay in landfill, there are 4 kg of carbon dioxide emitted.

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Repair

Many clothes and shoes with rips or holes are disposed of rather than donated, but with a little DIY or expert skill, there could be much more wear left in your faves.

Rent

 We have clothes in our wardrobe that’s not being used, so why can’t someone else use it?  Many women are now renting out their clothes and making a profit, or instead of buying an outfit for your special event, why not rent one for a fraction of the price?

Repurpose

Unused or ripped leather can be turned into clutches, bags and totes.  T-shirts can be repurposed into totes, pillowcases, necklaces and even braided carpets!  Old wool jumper scraps can be mixed with new wool and made into wool dryer balls, which will subsequently reduce drying time by 50%! 

Research

Find Maker Fairs, local independent retailers and brands that you’d like to support, labels that are sustainable, and don't buy from the big brands that are exploiting workers and the planet.

70% of clothes we throw away have damage such as colour fading, stains or shrinking, which could be avoided with better laundering and understanding of care labels.  Research ways to remove stains, proper laundering techniques for textiles, how to iron (so you can avoid the expense and toxicity of dry cleaning), or how to dry your clothes to use minimal energy.  All of these will help your loved clothes last longer.

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Carolyn (Caz) Rowland is a fashion designer, model, lifestyle blogger and professional Image Stylist. Caz is also a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching.  Caz is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.

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Please leave comments below or email Carolyn@cazinc.com.au.

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