‘Normalise re-wearing clothes’: Experts urge consumers to reduce impact of fashion on environment

Ms. Xingyun Shen, national coordinator of Fashion Revolution Singapore – a global group calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry – has suggested that people reconsider how they want to relate to their clothes.

What if the clothes weren’t as cheap or easily accessible as they are now, she asked.

“How would we go shopping or buying ‘new’ clothes? The first place we would probably look is our wardrobe, ”he said, adding that people could also look at the wardrobes of friends and family.

“Can we borrow and swap clothes from our circle of friends and family? Can we ask our local seamstresses and tailors to repair a split seam or modify something to fit our body again? “

ALTERNATIVES TO PURCHASE

Renting and exchanging clothes is growing in popularity and consumer acceptance of their fashion choice, said Carolyn Poon, director of sustainability at the Textile and Fashion Federation, Singapore.

These alternatives to buying clothes make the linear economy of take-and-throw fashion more circular, she said.

“This is the most direct way to rent and exchange to help the environment. They extend the lifetime use of clothes that are already produced and consumed, “he said.

Style Theory, which offers subscription-based clothing rental plans to customers, has more than 200,000 registered users, said its founder Raena Lim.

The company made more than 2.3 million rentals and saved more than 600,000 favorite designer garments from “premature landfill entry” over five years, he said.

Sustainability is one of the main pillars that drive the company, added Ms. Lim.

“We know that 60 percent of the clothing produced ends up in landfills every year. With the rental model, we have shown that items are stored longer within the fashion ecosystem, which reduces the need for overproduction. “

A garment is rented on average 30 times each, while a garment from the women’s wardrobe is used much less, she said.

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