Sustainability is becoming more and more important, especially when it comes to the fashion industry. The average Singaporean consumer is reported to discard more than 25 new clothing items per year, most of which end up in landfills. That's a lot of waste! But it doesn’t have to be this way! In this blog post, we will discuss 8 steps that you can take to build a sustainable wardrobe. By following these tips, you can build a sustainable wardrobe that will help the environment and your bank balance.

What Is a Sustainable Wardrobe?

A sustainable wardrobe is built with long-lasting, quality pieces that won’t go out of style. It is also important to consider the environmental impact of your clothing choices. Sustainable fashion takes into account the entire lifecycle of a garment, from the sourcing of materials to the disposal of the finished product.

Building a sustainable wardrobe takes time and effort, but it is worth it in the long run. You have to do it gradually by making small changes to the way you shop and the way you care for your clothes.

Misconceptions about Sustainable Fashion

There are some misconceptions about sustainable fashion, so let’s clear a few things up. First of all, sustainable fashion is not just grey, shapeless garments. Anyone can wear sustainable clothing, irrespective of their preferred dressing style!

Second, sustainable fashion doesn't mean that you have to stop buying fast fashion or trendy items altogether. If you love shopping at H&M or Zara, that’s okay! Just be more mindful about the pieces you purchase and make sure to recycle or donate your clothes when you’re done with them.

Sustainable fashion is also not as expensive as you might think. Yes, some sustainable brands are on the higher end, but there are plenty of affordable options out there too. Just do your research and shop around before making any decisions. Sustainable fashion brands like Sway are an example of how affordable and stylish sustainable fashion can be.

Tips for Building a Sustainable Wardrobe

Now that we’ve gone over what a sustainable wardrobe is and some of the misconceptions about sustainable fashion, let’s get into the tips!

Tip #1. Quality is priority

When you’re shopping for new clothing, it’s important to focus on the quality of the fabric and construction. This is something that you can control, unlike the sustainability of the company or supply chain. High-quality clothing is not only more durable, but it also often looks better after multiple washes and wears. It’s worth taking the time to invest in pieces that will last you for years to come.

Tip #2. Choose the right fabric

Not all fabrics are created equal—some are better for the environment than others. When you’re shopping for sustainable clothing, look for natural fibres like bamboo, linen, organic cotton, and wool. These fabrics are not only biodegradable but also require less energy and water to produce. They’re also typically softer and more breathable, which is great for your skin!

Another important thing to remember when choosing a fabric is the climate. If you live in a hot, humid climate, go for natural, lightweight and breathable fibres. Irrespective of how good the garment looks on you, if you are continually sweaty and sticky in it, you are unlikely to keep reaching for it in your wardrobe!

Tip #3. Check the sustainability of the fabric

Before you buy a piece of clothing, it’s important to check the sustainability of the fabric. How was it made? What materials were used? Where was it manufactured? You need to also find out how sustainable the fabric is, or whether it is biodegradable and ethically sourced? For example, cotton, though biodegradable, is very demanding on the environment and hence not a very sustainable fabric. Silk, though luxurious and biodegradable, is not the most ethical of fibres. Recycled polyester, though better than virgin polyester, will still ultimately make its way to a landfill and take many many years to degrade. While there is hardly a utopian fabric, you can always try to choose the more sustainable and ethical option, of which today there are plenty! You can find more information about sustainable fabrics here.

Tip #4. Choose the right garment

When you look at a piece of clothing, ask yourself: “Is this something I will wear often?” If the answer is no, then it’s probably not worth purchasing. You should also think about whether the garment is something that you can dress up or down. Sway’s Organic Cotton Button Down Skirt is a great example, as it can be worn in different ways.

The key is to choose versatile pieces that you can mix and match with other items in your wardrobe. Don't go for the trends that will be out of style in a few months. Instead, go for classic pieces that you can wear for years to come.

Tip #5. Consider vintage or second-hand clothing

A great way to build a sustainable wardrobe is to shop for vintage or second-hand clothing. Going for vintage clothing means that you are reusing clothes that already exist instead of buying new ones. This is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only are you giving new life to old clothes, but you’re also saving them from ending up in a landfill.

Tip #6. Do your research on sustainable fashion brands

If you want to shop for sustainable fashion brands, it’s important to do your research first. Just because a brand claims to be sustainable doesn’t mean that it is. You need to find out more about the brand and its manufacturing process before you make any purchasing decisions. You also need to be mindful of greenwashing. This is when a brand makes false or misleading claims about its environmental practices – you can read more about greenwashing here. By doing your research, you can be sure that you are buying from a sustainable fashion brand that is ethical and transparent.

Tip #7. Learn how to care for your clothes

Once you have a few sustainable fashion pieces, it’s important to learn how to care for them properly. This includes things like washing, drying, storing and mending your clothes so you can keep your clothes for as long as possible. Sustainable brands will keep this factor in mind too. For example, sustainable fashion brand Sway features many clothes that come with in-built allowances that allow you to easily alter the clothes yourself to your size. We all know the irresistible appeal of ice cream on a hot day! Simply undo the extra allowance in the clothes to create more space to accommodate the few extra pounds, rather than buying a whole new garment in a different size or forcing yourself into a very tight garment!

Tip #8. Be as creative as possible

This is the fun part! One of the great things about sustainable fashion is that it allows you to be as creative as you want. You can upcycle old clothes, DIY your clothes, or even make your jewelry – with fun and unique results. For example, Sway's Aife and Maia dresses have multiple ways that they can be worn so you can always mix things up and be creative with how you style them.

The possibilities are endless! And when you’re being creative, you’re also not buying new clothes, which is good for the environment.

As you can see, there are many ways to build a sustainable wardrobe. It takes a bit of effort, but it’s doable. And once you have a few sustainable fashion pieces, you’ll feel good knowing that you’re doing your part to help the environment.