Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions
Before the January sales lure you into bagging a bargain you don’t need or even want, why not start the New Year on a more considered, ethical and sustainable note? To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite sustainable resolutions, which we recommend tackling at your own measure, whether day by day or month by month. If you’re hoping to join the sustainable fashion movement and participate in more mindful consumption, but aren't sure where to start, this is your chance. Read on.
1) Break up with your laundry detergent/dry cleaner
If you wouldn’t wash with them, then neither should your clothes! Say goodbye to detergents containing fabric-degrading and toxic chemicals (bleach, phosphates, phthalates, SLS), and instead welcome into your life an eco- and wardrobe-friendly detergent like Kair. We use only the gentlest of plant-based surfactants, which won’t blitz the life out of your favourite pieces, cause discolouration, or irritate sensitive skin. That way, your wardrobe can live on in full colour. And our gentle formulations mean you can break up with the chemical cocktail of the dry cleaner too. You can wash 90% of fabrics at home (check out our article on whether or not to dry clean).
2) Overhaul your laundry routine/only wash when dirty
Make your New Year laundry routine more eco-friendly and sustainable by keeping it cool when washing your clothes. A 30°C wash isn’t only effective at washing clothes, but saves 75% of the energy needed for hot washes. You can also save energy by air drying (on a drying rack or hangers) rather than tumble drying (which reduces the risk of damaging clothing fibres too). It’s also super important to always ask yourself: is it really dirty, and do I really need to wash it? Consider using finishing spray to refresh between washes: a time, wardrobe and planet-friendly alternative, which instantly revitalises and releases creases.
3) Take a shopping fast/shop only pre-loved fashion
You might consider taking a month-long shopping fast (or even a year-long shopping fast - an experience which the author Ann Pratchet shares with Vogue), or at least say goodbye to impulse buys. A less extreme option is to buy nothing new, and instead shop pre-loved fashion or try clothes swaps with friends and family. Consider also subscribing to rental fashion - it’s sustainable, cost-effective, risk-free, and fashionable.
4) Create a capsule wardrobe/buy only investment pieces
Both space-saving and sustainable, a capsule wardrobe is a great way to Long Love Your Wardrobe. It consists of a limited selection of items which complement each other, from which you can create a variety of different outfits. They’re often classic pieces which don’t go out of style, such as With Nothing Underneath’s timeless shirt collection, and are often composed primarily of neutral colours. To curate an effective capsule wardrobe, the key is to either select items you already own and love and wear, or buy only good-quality investment pieces, which you’ll wear at least 30 times, and which will live on and on.
5) Check the label before you buy/reassess where you buy
Image source: Riley Studio
If you are buying new clothes, be sure to check the labels: look for ethical and sustainable credentials, as well as the use of recycled or recyclable materials, such as Riley Studio’s recycled cashmere. The New Year is also the perfect time to reassess where you buy your clothes from. That doesn’t just mean avoiding fast-fashion brands, but seeking out brands which are actively inspiring social change and equality, such as Fund Jumpers, with their incredible mission to help fight childhood hunger in the world’s very poorest countries.
6) Make do and mend/throwaway your throwaway attitude
There’s no time quite like the New Year to learn something new, so why not learn to sew, knit or dye, and give damaged or faded pieces a new lease of life, so you can rewear them again and again? For clothing alterations and repairs made easy, try the Sojo App, which will do all the needlework for you. If you’ve got unwanted but otherwise undamaged clothes, there’s no need to throw them away. Give them to friends or family, donate them to a charity shop, or sell them on a platform like Depop, to live on in another’s wardrobe.
There you have our very favourite sustainable New Year’s resolutions. Put them into practice all at once on January 1st, break them down over several months, or choose your favourite, and follow it through to the next year - and beyond! Remember to be kind to yourself, and not stress if you can’t do it all. It’s not about perfection, but curiosity, experimentation, exploration and intention, and holding yourself accountable.