Pledge 4

I will avoid buying new clothes for three months

Why should I make the change?

The fashion industry revolves on a constantly running conveyor belt of ever-changing micro-trends, with novelty garments available to buy at knockdown prices. These items are designed to be worn a handful of times before being discarded in favour of the latest style.

With demand growing, trends accelerating and prices getting cheaper, combined with a decrease in quality, there is little incentive for people to take care of and hold onto their clothes. The result is that perfectly wearable clothes end up in landfill or are incinerated. According to Wrap, The UK throws away over the UK 350,000 tonnes of clothing each year – that’s the equivalent of £140 million worth of clothing going in the bin.

The carbon emissions of production, manufacturing, transportation and storage all contribute to the climate crisis, meaning that the fashion industry now has a carbon impact greater than that of the airline industry.

As well as wastefulness, some fast fashion producers also have questions to answer about the human and other environmental costs of production.

I will avoid buying new clothes for 3 months

If the thought of going 3 months without clothes shopping fills you with dread, congratulations, you have picked the perfect pledge! And the good news is that you can still get your fashion fix by following these tips:

  • Buy second hand – the shopping experience and quality of clothes available from charity shop has never been so good. You can still get the pleasure of browsing, the thrill of finding the perfect garment and the social shopping experience with friends.
  • Use pre-loved apps – if you want to avoid the shops, there are plenty of apps that provide a great selection of rarely worn, high fashion and vintage pre-loved clothes, and they are delivered right to your door.
  • Borrow your clothes or organise clothes swapping parties. Encourage everyone to bring a few good quality garments they no longer wear and get get swapping. It’s also a great chance to get together and catch-up.
  • Learn to sew – just because there is a hole in it, doesn’t mean it is time to throw an item of clothing away. We have forgotten the make do and mend motto of past generation. Basic repairs are easier than you might think, and it means you will get a lot more wear out of your favourite clothes. You can also learn to alter and accessorise, breathing new life into old outfits.
  • Adventure to the back of the wardrobe – according to Hubbub, the average UK woman’s wardrobe contains 10 items that will never be worn again. Why not rediscover these long forgotten items and get them back into your clothing routine?
  • Save money –  the cost of what we put in the bin every week is a good reason to reduce waste. Using these tips to reduce your shopping habit will leave you with more money in your pocket.

 Throwing out less reduces the amount of energy needed to manufacture, transport and process waste. It means less landfill too, which in turn means less greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Useful links

You can find yout local charity shop using the Charity Retail Association charity shop finder.

There are many apps available to help you shop pre-loved. Have a look at these recommendations for the 7 best second hand clothes apps and the 6 best places to buy preloved.

Thrift+ offer a good range of second-hand clothes and make a donation to charity with every purchase, so you can double your good deed!

There are many videos available online to help you get started with sewing and how to alter your old garments.

For a little bit of encouragement read former fashion editor Hannah Rochells’s story of giving up fast fashion. You can do it!

I’ve taken the pledge, what next?

Learn about slow fashion

Slow fashion focuses on quality, not quantity. Suppliers in this model of production take their time and think longer term and don’t respond to quick trends. Slow fashion is also better for workers too, creating more regular and secure employment. 

Tell people that you have taken a Big Five pledge

Share your pledge online using our #BigFiveForFife social media library where you will find readymade tiles for sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Please use the hashtags #BigFiveForFife and #ClimateActionFife on your posts.

Net Zero Nation

Take a look at the Scottish Government’s Net Zero Nation campaign for more ideas on how to take climate action.

Thank you for being a Climate Champion!


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