This year there have been many people changing their lifestyles and their habits during the Covid-19 crisis. But long before the pandemic, there was an urgent need for society to live more sustainably in order to help protect the planet for longer. Whether it’s through our fashion, our routines, or our commute to work, there are a variety of ways that people can change for the better.
Fast Fashion v Slow Fashion: For years now, fast fashion has been a huge issue in the fashion industry. In order to meet consumer demands for new products, brands have been racing to get their newest style on the market as soon as they can, year after year. However, there are many problems that come with the increasing number of fashion collections made each year with their quick turnarounds.
Fast fashion essentially means outfits and garments that are produced and manufactured quickly in an often inexpensive way. It’s issues like this that are why there are less than 2% of clothing workers who earn a fair living wage in the industry. This fast fashion, or ‘disposable fashion’, leads to overworked and undervalued workers and often leads to consumers having wardrobes full of unworn or barely used outfits.
In opposition to fast fashion, you have ‘slow fashion’ that emphasises the very temporary fashion trends of their opposition. Unlike fast fashion, this approach values quality clothing and considerate manufacturing and is also aware of the materials used and the impact they have on the climate. Stella McCartney is just one famous luxury designer that has focused on sustainable and ethical practice in the fashion industry since the 1990s. The mission statement for her company is to make luxurious products that are beautiful, sustainable, and that are fit for both now and the future.
Go second hand first: If you can’t have a total ban on buying new clothes, then consider buying second hand instead. Shopping at charity shops or vintage shops are useful fast fashion fix tips from The Guardian on how to stop buying new clothes. They are useful to help look for pre-loved clothing rather than purchasing something new. Author Livia Firth coined the useful #30Wears rule. She suggests that before buying anything, ask yourself if you are going to wear it at least 30 times. If you aren’t, then don’t buy it.
Have a good clear out: Clearing out your wardrobes is just one great way for you to know exactly what you need and what you don’t need. Think about downsizing your wardrobe and donating what you don’t need anymore. Sorting out your remaining clothes and accessories is a good way to keep everything organised and tidy for the future. Caring for your jewellery is important if you have precious or valuable items, so choosing the best storage boxes is a good idea.
Minimalist interior design and greener spaces: When Marie Kondo became very popular last year with her Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, a lot of viewers started decluttering their home. Her popular organising method, known as the KonMari method, helps people choose items that they really want to keep. The method involves only keeping things that ‘spark joy’ and disregarding anything that didn’t. Decluttering your home can help you create a more calming living space to live in. Minimalism is a popular style to use in interior design as it’s all about keeping your space simple and uncluttered.
To help create a lighter and airier space, incorporating plants, natural lighting, and white colours can help. If you’re adding plants to your living space then it’s useful to consider other green ways to improve your home. Recycling, saving on electricity, and utilising solar panels are just some ways of living sustainably. There are even new builds in cities now, such as this sustainable living project in East London, that uses LED lighting, timber sourced from FSC certified forests, and uses energy efficient appliances.
Think about switching household products and donating unwanted items: There are many easy ways that people all around the world are trying their best to reduce the amount of waste that they use each day. A good place to start is in the bathroom as there are many eco-friendly and recyclable products that you can use in there. Bamboo toothbrushes and reusable facial pads are just some eco-friendly products that have become popular over the years. Also, if you’re wanting to get rid of a load of unwanted items then it’s beneficial to donate usable items rather than just throw them away. If anything can be recycled or reused, then someone else might make good use of it.
Reducing emissions with eco-friendly travel: With lockdown happening across the world this year for many countries, travel was a lot less frequent as people started working from home and had their holiday flights cancelled. According to the 2020 Environmental Performance Index, global air quality is listed as one of the most severe hazards to public health. To help reduce air pollution and harmful emissions, there are many useful ways that travellers can adopt methods of sustainable travel in 2020. However, as many people need to use planes in order to get abroad, sometimes it’s not an easy fix. However, it still might be beneficial to find airlines that use more sustainable fuel, such as KLM.
While lockdown did give the environment a chance to recover from wear and tear caused by human activity, more still needs to be done in the future. In March, Venice even saw its canals run noticeably more clear as there was a lot less traffic on the water. Although the water quality didn’t improve, air quality likely did see a difference from less tourists, boat traffic, and pollution. This example just highlights the impact that tourists and busy locations have on the environment.
Choose eco-friendly transport methods: One way that vehicle emissions can be reduced is by using electric cars rather than petrol and diesel powered ones. Over the years now there have been many big brands, such as Audi and Range Rover, providing sustainable luxury cars for people to reduce air pollution on the roads. Due to lockdown for Covid-19, this year there has been a significant drop in carbon emissions around the world but it’s nowhere near enough to have a long-lasting change on the environment. Emissions need to be dropping significantly year on year to have a stronger impact.