Sustainability. A term that has been bandied around quite a lot lately. We are all aware of the problems facing the environment but how does fashion come into it? Well the fashion and textile industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. From both the production phase to disposing of fashion, the pollution is great. Fast fashion has seen the rise of buy it now culture where everything is disposable after a few wears.
Gone are the days when you would buy investment pieces to wear time and time again. In the quest to be up to date with the latest trends, we buy, buy, buy only to see the majority ending up as landfill down the track. 0.8 million tonnes textiles, leather & rubber (excl. tyres) of waste was generated in Australia in 2016-17; and of that, 88,000 tonnes was recycled and 679,000 tonnes went to landfill. This is an alarming statistic. What’s even more frightening is that the average woman wears only 40 per cent of what’s in her wardrobe, which means that 60 per cent is ready to go to landfill.
As a nation, we throw away more than the UK. Australians on average buy 27kg of textiles a year and throw away 23kg worth. Donating to charity? Only 15% of these items actually go on to be sold. The rest end up in landfill. What’s even worse is clothing that made from polyester, is essentially a plastic. It takes up to 200 years to breakdown in landfill.
All these figures are frightening. So how do we combat this horrible problem facing us today? Well there are a few ways to do this. Firstly, buy sustainable fabrics like hemp and bamboo. There are a whole range of environmentally friendly fabrics being produced these days such as fabric made from recycled plastic bottles so keep an eye out for these. Secondly, buy sustainable brands who care about the environment and ethical production for both the environment and its workers. Big brands that are doing sustainable well include Stella McCartney, Reformation and Vivienne Westwood, and Australian brands like Ginger & Smart, KitX, Tigerlily, Bassike and Spell & the Gypsy Collective. Finally, the big solution, hire.
Financially, hiring your clothes makes sense. But it does environmentally as well. Consumers are increasingly aware of the damage that throwaway fashion does to the environment. Instagram has led to youth not only wanting to keep up with the latest trends (usually achieved through fast fashion) but a generation of people not wanting to wear the same outfit twice if it had been pictured on Instagram. This is not a good thing. Rental really is the solution to fashion conscious millennials and those concerned about the environment.
Rental used to be one off items like formal events wear, now you can hire everything from t-shirts to bags to cocktail dresses to hats and even handbags for every occasion under the sun. Daytime event, work function, the races, a cocktail party or a black-tie event, you can rent it all. You can even hire maternity wear for that short period in your life when you definitely need new clothes but will never wear again.
Renting also prevents panic buying for an occasion at the last minute and purchasing something fast fashion when you could put that money towards hiring a brand that you covet instead. We all have items like that in our wardrobe. Why not hire something for that one off event instead? And to lessen your own impact on the environment, lend out your own pieces that you don’t wear. Extending the life of your clothes lessens the impact on the environment.
Another benefit of hiring clothes is that it allows you to try out pieces, styles and brands that you may not normally gravitate towards in your day to day life. Even high end luxury designers that you usually couldn’t afford. You can mix up your sartorial style without the buyer’s remorse that usually comes along with it.
Here at The Volte we are passionate about sustainability. We believe that by renting an outfit, you can offset the potential waste. Rather than letting an item sit in your wardrobe without being used, by renting it out means less clothing is going directly to landfill. Small changes I know but when a big group does this? We are making a positive impact. As a borrower, not only are you doing your bit for the environment, you are getting access to the latest trends for a fraction of the retail price. So you can keep up to date with the latest trends and still do your bit for the environment. This also allows more money to be spent on vacations, going out and experiences rather than material items like clothes.
Rental is the way forward and The Volte is here to help.