5 sustainable fashion decisions to make in 2022

New Year’s resolutions aren’t always the most positive things – they are traditionally centered around ideas for things like losing weight, and can often indicate that you’re not really great the way you are.

However, moving into a new year brings with it an opportunity to reflect on your life – and perhaps think about the positive changes you can make. Especially in the wake of Cop26 in November 2021, many of us are thinking about how our daily lives can become more sustainable.

The fashion industry is an environmentally friendly field. “We take the materials and turn them into clothes and after a short period of time they are discarded, the effect is massive,” says Marilyn Martinez, project manager at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Fashion Initiative.

In 2018, the fashion industry accounted for 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s too wasteful and polluting to run in the long run.”

A 2017 report by the foundation found that textile production emits 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually, which is why it wants us to move to a circular economy — “where waste is eliminated, resources are circulated, and nature regenerates.”

Martinez would like to see an overhaul of how the fashion and textile industry works and says, “Brands have to do more than just change some materials or add some new options to what they do; it’s about redesigning the entire system.”

These are Martinez’s key decisions to help make your fashion choices more sustainable in 2022 – and hopefully, contribute to positively changing the industry. Her most important tip to stick with for the long term? She advises “Think before you buy”. “A lot of services are available to extend the use of clothes.”

1. Use more of what you already have

“How can you increase the use of your clothes?” Martinez asks. “For example, better care, repair, customization, and detailing.”

2. Choose “Used” first

“For fashion to thrive in the future, it must move to a circular economy designed to eliminate waste, keep products in use, and renew nature,” Martinez suggests. She recommends considering new ways to shop that don’t buy new — such as resale or rental options.

3. If you don’t wear it anymore, make sure you don’t put it in the landfill

“Consider reselling, swapping, renting, or sharing,” Martinez says. She cites new research from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation “which has shown that business models such as leasing, resale, repair, and remanufacturing could be worth $700 billion (617 billion euros) by 2030 and provide a third of the greenhouse gas reductions needed to put the fashion industry on a 1.5-degree path. (Meaning global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees, which is an ambitious target of the Paris Agreement.)

4. Provide Brand Feedback

“Tell brands how they could do better, and give them feedback on design failures or ideas on how to improve your experience,” Martinez says. “More and more customers are demanding better choices when it comes to apparel, and as a result, we are seeing tremendous levels of innovation and growth in circular economy business models.

Our work demonstrates that resale, leasing, repair and remanufacturing have the potential to grow from 3.5 percent of the global fashion market today to 23 percent by 2030. Much of that is driven by brands that want to meet the demands of their customers. “

5. Spread the word of any new ways to access and enjoy fashion

“The ultimate goal is to create a fashion industry where we can have a positive impact no matter what we choose about the clothes we wear,” Martinez adds.

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