We all want to shop more ethically but it can be tricky knowing where to start. Here are some easy ways to develop an environmental conscience without giving up your love of fashion
Embrace quality over quantity
In today’s climate of increasingly fast fashion, 300,000 tons of clothing in the UK ends up in landfill each year, including quality items with plenty of life left in them. To prevent your clothes ending up as part of this problem, why not try the ‘30 wears challenge’, committing to wearing every piece in your wardrobe at least 30 times before safely donating it via our Shwopping scheme.
Switch to sustainably sourced cotton
Did you know that, on average, it takes a thousand gallons of water to make a single pair of jeans? And that irresponsible cotton farming can have devastating effects on the environment? In short, cotton can be a problematic crop when not grown sustainably – but, by wising up on how you shop, you can help. At M&S, we’ve partnered up with the Better Cotton Initiative so that 100% of the cotton for our clothing is now sustainably sourced – and always will be. It is produced using less water and fertiliser and provides smallholders with better livelihoods.
Wash your clothes less
You might not think that something as simple as doing your laundry could have an impact on the environment, but it really can. Save water and energy by washing clothes only when they are dirty, reducing the temperature to 30 degrees and only pressing start when you have a full load. Remember: care labels state the highest temperature the garment can be washed at, not a recommended temperature, and most modern detergents are effective at 30˚.
Wear eco-friendly fabrics
Now here’s a clever material to get acquainted with. Produced in Austria from sustainably sourced wood pulp, Tencel Lyocell is a plant-based fibre that is energy-efficient and fully biodegradable. Soft, breathable and stretchy, Tencel lends itself to making super-comfy clothing, which is exactly why we’ve added it to some of our new designs. From airy button-down blouses to peg trousers that keep their shape wash after wash, there’s a lot to love about this futuristic fibre.
Turn to your capsule wardrobe
If you’ve ever stared blankly at a packed wardrobe with no idea what to wear and end up resorting to the same outfit, it might help to embrace this mentality. Assess which pieces you turn to time and time again and take stock of what it is about them that makes you feel great, whether it’s the colour, the cut or the drape of the fabric. When the time comes to upgrade those love-worn pieces, opt for the best quality you can afford – after all, that cashmere jumper or silk camisole will pay for itself when worn regularly. Plus, once you know your own style, you can wave goodbye to Monday morning outfit dilemmas.
Editor: Dulcie Emerson