5 challenges to get us consuming less clothing
How can we make wearing clothes as good for the planet as it is for us? The truth is, we can't. At least not with the currently available knowledge and technologies concerning sustainable textiles. Yet we can do a lot—with what we already have.
Choose clothes that suit people
The fashion industry seems to have forgotten the most essential: People. A body is not just one body; the 'right' body measurements do not exist. According to Else Skjold, Associate Professor from The Royal Danish Academy, less than 10% of the clothes produced fit the bodies that have to wear the clothes. Therefore, the clothing industry needs to be less concerned with fashion features and more with how the clothing fits on the body and what functions it needs to fulfil to make people thrive. Also, consumers must require and invest in clothes that suit us and our lives.
Go for timeless and long-lasting clothes
What is the best buy? The piece of garment you will wear over and over again. Therefore, choose garments of lasting quality that you want to wear for more than just the party on Friday night. Studies show that Danes, on average, wear a piece of clothing four times (Source: Tent of World Goals, Folkemødet 2022: How can the fashion and textile industry become sustainable?). The clothing industry is responsible for researching, selecting, and communicating long-lasting textiles, just as consumers need to take their time to research for timeless and durable clothes.
Make it a good business to produce good clothes
Prices on many consumer goods are rising, but the market is still full of unrealistically cheap clothes. It is unsustainable. We must see price in a larger context; What is the cost for production + humans + the environment? Right now, it is invisible what precedes the finished piece of garment. Consumers only see the clothes in the stores and do not see the consequences. Let's make it a bad business to produce bad clothes in extreme quantities and a good business to produce clothes where the resources used turn into clothes we wear for a long time. Hopefully, that will also lead to better clothing repair and resale ecosystems in every neighbourhood.
See pre-used as valuable as new clothes
We have two focus areas: The new clothes and the clothes that have already been produced. It should be as easy to buy pre-used as new clothes – and just as cool. The goal is to use our clothes as often as possible and use them as they are. Let's inspire each other to do so instead of pushing the endless need for more new stuff. That includes changing how we look at wear and tear and value reparations.
Replace more with better
As a representative of the clothing industry, we feel the consequences of the many years of unconscious consumption. We face a future with smaller and fewer collections, even better fits, and qualities that last both in use and aesthetically. Moves to ensure that our trousers are worn for many occasions and seasons, if not worn out then passed on, and eventually end their days being reused. Perhaps for a purpose, we can not even imagine today.
Our industry has much to improve, but we won't feel the positive impact for real until we reduce the massive over-consumption of clothing. Better is something we become together.