Regent's 5 Easy Green Pointers to remember when refreshing your wardrobe
The appetite for eco-friendly and sustainable fashion is, thankfully, growing, alongside awareness that the industry is one of the worst in the world in terms of carbon footprint and damage to the environment. It can be a confusing and daunting ride through this changing world, and hard to hold all the info in your head when considering buying an item of clothing. Here, we lay out a few of the key elements relating to the clothing industry and sustainability, and talk you through some easy-to-follow tips for staying eco-conscious when you want to freshen up your wardrobe.
By now, most people know about the toll the fashion industry takes on our planet. With facts such as that the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of all annual global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined – or that every year the industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water – enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people – its easy to understand how things have gotten out of hand, and that we’ve got to start changing our habits.
The term ‘fast fashion’ refers to the kind of consumption we’ve probably all been guilty of: buying a cheap set of t-shirts, underwear or socks that are poorly made and which you use for a short time before they fall apart or you fall out of love with them. Step this up to a pair of jeans: it can be so easy to be attracted to a cheap price tag and to ignore the fact that the cost is always being paid elsewhere, either by the criminally cheap labour afforded to desperate workers or the cost paid by the planet itself. It takes 3,781 litres of water to make one pair of jeans. You can start to see how fast fashion costs the planet dearly and benefits no one.
With so much info around to bear in mind, so many moving parts to consider when looking at buying even the simplest garment, we’ve compiled some key pointers to keep in mind when considering your latest wardrobe purchase. See below for the basics: we hope they help you to keep it green and hold your planet’s best interests at heart.
1. Buy Recycled
You’d be surprised at how many amazing garments and goods feature recycled fabrics and fibres. Type ‘recycled’ into our search bar and you’re met with a dazzling range of stuff that’s had a whole life before it’s become your next favourite jumper or pair of jeans. Some of our brands have recycling at the heart of what they do: Thunders Love socks have a whole recycled range of beautiful tootsie toasters made from 90% cotton, while Millican make sure that, whatever material they use, it's responsibly sourced, recycled where possible or carrying very few miles of travelling, to create sustainable bags for independent spirits and eco-conscious travellers. We’re super proud of our 100% recycled sweatshirts and t-shirts: simple, stylish, affordable and completely recycled, we believe this is the future of fashion.
2. Check the Composition
It’s easy to forget, but synthetic fibres such as polyester are effectively made from oil: when you buy synthetic, you’re wearing fossil fuels. Checking the composition of the clothing before you buy is an easy way to appreciate what it might’ve taken to get there. Cotton, though a good alternative, is itself quite a ‘thirsty’ fibre, using a large amount of water to grow. Organic cotton is a better route to head down: grown from non-GMO plants and without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, it’s better for the planet and the growers. Fibres like Merino Wool or Geelong Lambswool are natural, environmentally friendly and, crucially, also biodegradable (87% of the total fiber input used for clothing is eventually incinerated or disposed in landfill, either pouring carbon and chemicals into the atmosphere or leaving them lurking and clogging up oceans).
3. Examine the Ethic
A lot of brands make a song and dance about their eco-credentials (a good sign, reflecting the desire from consumers to try and buy sustainably) but it’s worth checking out a brands’ website before and learning about their composition process before you buy. Building up a roster of brands you know and trust is a good way to whittle down and make it easier to shop responsibly, knowing that whatever you buy, it’ll be well-made and coming from a good place. Brands like Monkee Genes have had both the planet’s and garment worker’s best interests at heart right from the start: using organic cotton and steering wide and clear from slave or child labour, everyone involved in a pair of Monkee Genes or chinos has been paid a decent living wage.
4. Repair, Re-Use
Increasingly brands are waking up to the desire for longevity on the part of the consumer, and you can always check the websites brands like Haglöfs, Berghaus and Red Wing for their advice on garment care to ensure maximum lifespan. There’s even an uptick in garments that come with lifetime guarantees, and a brand that’s leading the way with this is Filson. These pioneers of American workwear fashion guarantee every item they produce for a lifetime, including any failure of workmanship or material. So when you buy a Filson garment, it’s best to run a test and imagine yourself in it when you’re 50, 60, 70, 80 – it’ll be by your side for the rest of your life. Now that’s sustainable. Meanwhile, plenty of our Regent Cheaney collaboration shoes have Dainite soles, meaning they can be easily re-soled, over and over. Again, that means a sound investment and a timeless choice.
5. Buy British
Reducing the miles a garment has travelled is an obvious but not often thought of way to manage your fashion carbon footprint. Avoiding long-haul shipping or flying is crucial, so buying British made is just as important for your clothes as it is your fruit and veg. Luckily, these fair isles have some of the most wondrous heritage brands offering astounding garments that have been made stitch for stitch on English soil. Baracuta, Gloverall, Peregrine, Cheaney and, of course, Regent are all brands that offer goods sourced and fabricated right here in the UK. So you can buy local and independent, buy once, buy right and collapse the distance and carbon footprint all at once.
It’s an awful, hollow feeling you get after you’ve bought something cheap, and nothing compared to investing in something you love and want to treasure for as long as possible. That hollow feeling is anathema for us at Regent: every single thing that passes through our shop is there for its timelessness and the quality of its build. The clothes we offer and the brands we stock are there to last, both in terms of style and sustainability. It’s long been our aim to make Regent a one-stop shop to meet all your fashion needs, and we’re proud to’ve worked on making it the case that what you buy with us has been sustainably produced, and/or is an investment for a lifetime. Buy it once, buy it right, look and feel great and help counter the damaging of the planet.
For some great writing and further info on fast fashion and ways to counter your carbon footprint, check out these articles: