Did you know that the most sustainable clothes are the ones you already own? So use lockdown to get to know what is in your wardrobe, a vital step to becoming a sustainable fashionista.
Country coordinator of Fashion Revolution South Africa, Cyril Naicker says this is a great time to buck up and tackle your togs: “The 21-day lockdown gives us the time to edit our wardrobes. Go through items, keep what you love, and take out what you do not wear and ones you have not worn because they need some TLC”.
Coordinator of Fashion Revolution Madagascar, Herizo Robin agrees: “Take advantage of this time to inspect your closets, sort them out, rediscover true love for your clothes, cherish your clothes, reclaim their importance, and their true value.”
Cyril says: “Have fun while you do your part to slow down fast fashion and give new life to beautifully worn-in clothing. Fashion, after all, is meant to be fun.”
Here is a simple 3-point plan on how to sort out your closet, revamp your grandma’s antique knit and revive your threadbare slacks.
Herizo says: “The primary concern has been to accumulate more and more objects and clothes, to satisfy envy and admiration for a fleeting feeling of satisfaction until our wardrobes overflow with clothes we often don’t wear”. The first step to sorting out your overflowing wardrobe is to take all your clothes out of your wardrobe. Make a pile of clothes that you can’t live without, and a pile of clothes that you hardly wear.
Neatly put away the clothes you can’t live without. Having a neat and organised wardrobe helps to keep track of what you’ve already got so that you don’t buy clothes that you already have. Also, a decluttered wardrobe helps decluttered your mind. With the remaining clothes, make two piles: One pile should consist of those that are unsalvageable, and another pile should consist of items you can upcycle. Here are some easy ways to upcycle:
Swap buttons for more simple or modern ones for a minimalist look. Or, try something like fun like different colours or button shapes. If you don’t know how to sew on a button here is an easy tutorial:
The 70’s Stevie Nicks Headband is back. Cut pieces from an old T-shirt and stretch it out to make a headband. Also fun for kids to try out!
Using cotton thread you can stitch flowers or patterns onto old T-shirts, hats or jeans to give them new character. Try this DIY embroidered shirt tutorial.
Jazz up your jeans
There are hundreds of things you can do with an old pair of properly-loved jeans. Pinterest is testament to this. Denim is a low maintenance, wrinkle-resistant and strong material which makes it great for upcycling. Use your jeans to make a skirt, new pair of shorts, apron, handbag, or even table napkins. Here are a number of great hacks to transform your denims.
Sweater to cardigan
You can revamp your much-loved grandma’s antique knit. Or turn your sweater into a cardigan using this simple tutorial.
Can’t let go of your favourite dress? You don’t have to! You can use your dress as a skirt, pair it with a T-shirt or, you can tuck your dress into a pair of jeans and pull it out slightly to bubble over the top of your jeans to emulate a tucked-in-shirt look.
3. After lockdown
Donate the clothes that you no longer want to organisations like Help The Rural Child or join us after lockdown for our monthly #TwygSwap shop at NUDE FOODS. The lower quality clothes will be donated to Chic Mamas Do Care.
Learn to repair your clothes, or get them repaired by small, local tailoring businesses. Learn about local South Africa designers and sustainable brands. Follow us on Instagram and our stories for information about South African and other African sustainable brands. Support these brands, grow our local economy and protect the environment.
Think critically about where your clothes come from, and the socio-economic impacts of the fashion industry. It is also important to think about your responsibility as a citizen. Instead of buying clothes to follow single fleeting trends, invest in a few good, quality pieces that you love. Finally, use United Nation’s ActNow bot for advice on how to waste less and lower your carbon footprint. Here are some everyday zero-waste fashion actions: