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Guest Blog from Hubbub.

In the last 15 years, global clothing production has doubled and, in the UK alone, we spent £57.8 billion in 2017 on new threads.  A large driver behind these massive figures is undoubtedly the rise of ‘fast’ fashion. Most large retailers are now hooked on ever shorter fashion seasons. Clothes featured on the catwalk are soon available on the high street, putting pressure on people to buy more to stay on trend.  We’re addicted to the thrill of the new and in turn buy cheaper – often poorer quality – items, wear them less and discard them for being ‘so last season’.

Relentless spending on fast fashion no doubt affects our wallets, but it also has enormous environmental implications. 

Discarded clothes are clogging up landfill sites and ending up in incinerators and an estimated one third of all microplastics in our oceans comes from washing textiles – 16 times more than the plastic microbeads from cosmetics.  These microfibres are contaminating waterways, ecosystems and our food and drink – disturbing recent studies found microplastics in human stool samples around the world.

To help lessen our impact on the planet, environmental behaviour change charity Hubbub is on a quest to nudge us away from fast fashion and embrace a slower fashion lifestyle – this means buying fewer quality items and keeping them for longer. It’s also about treating them with care and washing them in the right way. Below they outline small changes we can make to both our shopping and laundry habits to make a difference:

1.      Choose clothes you really love and which are more durable, so you can get more wears from them.Synthetic clothes ending up in landfill are a growing source of secondary microplastic pollution because they gradually break down into micro sized plastic particles.

2.      Restyle items in your wardrobe to keep them fresh. Recent Hubbub research found social media is a large driver of new purchases as people don’t want to be tagged in the same item twice. Rather than buy more, go online for inspiration on how you can restyle the same item to create different looks. Check out tips on the Hubbub vlogging channel.

3.      Pick timeless classics. They’ll stand the test of time and you’ll wear them more.

4.      Don’t always buy new. When you do update your wardrobe, try picking up a fashionable bargain at a vintage or charity shop – or even swap clothes with a friend or host a swapping party!  And if you are going to buy new, try and choose an Ethical Fashion Retailer as per The Good Shopping Guide’s recommendations.

5.      Wash clothes only when you need to. Microfibres are released in the wash, so if you can get another wear out of something, let it air instead.

6.      Wash clothes at a lower temperature (30 degrees C). This will prevent them from wearing faster which can lead to more microfibre release.

7.      Air dry your clothes. Avoid tumble dryers as they may wear your clothes out increasing the likelihood of microfibre release on the next wash. Your clothes will stay in shape for longer too

  8.      Look at your clothing labels and be aware of the care instructions and what your clothes are made from. Share a picture of your label with the Hubbub campaign hashtag #WhatsInMyWash to show your support.

9.      Pledge your support for more research and industry action on the issue of microfibres by visiting www.whatsinmywash.org.uk.

While clearly more needs to be done to encourage a shift in mainstream culture, following these tips is a simple way to make an impact and show that you can look good without trashing your bank account or the planet.

With special thanks to environmental charity, Hubbub for this guest blog piece.

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