Eva Kruse on the future of sustainable clothes
#1 Empower yourself and push the industry
No matter your budget, you can support sustainable fashion. From luxury to mass market to discount, brands worldwide are embracing sustainability and offering more and more choices to shoppers who care about where our clothing comes from, who made it and what it’s made of. Do your research on your favorite brands and ask questions in stores. If we as consumers change our behavior and start asking questions and demanding transparency, companies will have to follow. We have the power to create change – and it begins with you.
#2 Care for your clothes and the environment
The better you treat your clothing, the longer your clothes will last and look great. In general, we wash clothing much more than we need to. Laundry wastes water and energy, breaks down fabrics, fades colors and releases tiny microplastics into our oceans. It’s impossible to skip the washer all together of course, but it’s good to be conscious of what’s in your laundry basket and skip washing until it’s really needed.
Lower the temperature on each wash. Most detergents contain enzymes which enable you to get your clothes clean even in cold water. If every household in Europe turns down the wash from 40 to 30 degrees Celsius, the difference would be equivalent to the CO2 output of 3 million cars a year.
Dry clean less. Most wool is self-cleaning if you hang it outside for a while, or hang it in your bathroom while showering. The steam will help clean, and stains can be removed with a wet cloth. You could also decide to use your dryer less and let your favorite pieces air-dry (saving money on your electrical bill too).
#3 Recycle, reuse – rethink
If you’re "over" a piece of clothing, consider donating it, reselling it to a second-hand shop or contributing it to a take-back system like those that some retailers and aid organizations offer. Never just trash your clothes. Almost all textiles can be reused, down-cycled, up-cycled into new garments, or spun into new thread to be made into new fabrics. Finally, carefully consider your purchases, and buy quality designs that last longer, maybe even giving them a second life through second-hand shopping.
The goal is to stop filling landfills with clothing, to produce less virgin fibers, and to become more conscious fashion lovers.
#4 Join the Movement
Through the Global Fashion Agenda and Copenhagen Fashion Summit, we are calling on fashion brands and fashion lovers to #restartfashion. Use your voice! I really encourage everyone to connect with likeminded brands and friends who share their values, and to spread the message.
We’re only going to change fashion and help our planet by coming together. Every voice matters, and you may be surprised to discover that your choices really influence your friends and family. There are lots of great initiatives out there to engage with, and the internet makes joining the movement easy. Start by following us. We love sharing the work we’re doing and highlighting brands that are leading the way towards a more sustainable future.
If we can change fashion, we can change everything.
Eva Kruse is the president and CEO of Global Fashion Agenda and Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the world's leading forum on sustainable fashion. In 2016, Kruse was included in Business of Fashion's professional index BoF 500, which lists the 500 most influential people shaping the global fashion industry. In 2017, the French Embassy awarded her its Human Rights Prize.