What, this old thing?

Kent Life|April 2020

What, this old thing?
Kent Life looks at the environmental impact of the clothes we wear and why we need to be checking our shopping habits and wardrobes

Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with images of the devastating effect humanity is having on the planet and its precious resources. But why are we not looking closer to home for those positive adjustments we can all make?

According to WRAP UK: “The value of unused clothing in wardrobes has been estimated at around £30bn. It is also estimated that £140m worth of clothing goes into landfill each year.”

With our love of fashion showing no signs of slowing down, in order to help our planet it is important to re-use, re-wear and re-purpose clothes and accessories as much as we can.

By choosing to shop for secondhand and vintage clothing you can keep perfectly good garments out of landfill, stock your wardrobe with some great bargains, save money and reduce your sartorial carbon footprint.

“I strongly believe charity shops play an important part in helping the environment, by recycling goods and discouraging a ‘disposable’ consumer culture,” says Elaine Maddison, shop manager at the Dogs Trust charity shop in Tunbridge Wells.

‘You can wear different pieces from any era to create your own look’

“We pick the very best items to sell to our customers and quality fabrics are more durable. We also recycle non-saleable items too.”

Elaine says her shop offers a boutique shopping experience, without the price tag. “There are so many fabulous benefits shopping for second-hand goods,” she adds. “It’s more creative and also great fun putting together outfits or upcycling projects.

“You will find the proverbial ‘gems’ at times, but also have the added benefit of affordability.”

In fact, if an item of clothing stayed in active use for just nine months longer (extending the average life to around three years), it would reduce its carbon, water and waste footprints by a massive 20 to 30 per cent.

“I believe eco-consciousness is growing quickly and it’s most people’s mindset now when buying anything,” says Georgie Roberton, owner of Peony Vintage in Margate.

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April 2020