D id you know here in the UK we send a staggering 1 million tonnes of fabric to landfill each and every year? No I didn’t either. To be honest I hadn’t really thought about where my clothing went once I’d packed it off into the charity bag, but when I learned that we buy more clothes in the UK than any other country in Europe, and that 30% of that clothing ends up in landfill (even though its completely wearable), it made me think a little differently about the way I consume fashion.
I’ll make no secret of the fact that I’ve often been the first to jump to a fast fashion website, looking for an outfit for a special occasion, often choosing something that’s going to create maximum impact but knowing full well I’ll probably only wear it a handful of times before selling it on or handing it it over to charity.
But recently I’ve been thinking more about the longevity of my wardrobe trying to opt for pieces that are going to last a lifetime, rather than a few months. I think being on maternity leave for a second time and realising I had to be more frugal with fashion was the starting point for this, but it’s satisfying to know I’ve been reducing my carbon footprint too.
h.huna are a new sustainable fashion brand who are taking this thinking to a whole new level. Inspired by her Nan and the post war generation who bought clothes for their quality and longevity, Siobhan Shanley, the brains behind the h.huna has created a collection designed to last a lifetime. With strong shapes, classic styles and monochrome colours her collection provides the h.huna woman with a capsule wardrobe that will last. But not only that, they also source all their materials from fabrics destined for landfill so the garments are sustainable at source too.
I was lucky enough to be gifted this classic white shirt from h.huna and I love it. Not only is the cut elegant and unusual – I love the crisp clean lines and slightly fluted sleeves. But the cotton is thick, soft and strong. I realised whilst changing after these photos were taken that I’m actually wearing a black bra for this shoot, but you can’t see a hint of dark through the fabric and I hope that demonstrates it’s richness.
Tantamount to Siobhan’s vision I can see me wearing this shirt for years to come and it being a key item in my wardrobe that I can mix and match to create many outfits.
By putting sustainability in its business, not just its garments, h.huna is setting the ethical benchmark for the fashion industry.
What else can you do?
Aside from investing in more sustainable fashion and items that are going to last a long time, there are other things you can do to reduce the amount of fabric sent to landfill and I hope you find the list below useful:
- Repair: Increasing garment lifetimes is one of the most effective means of reducing their environmental footprint. Extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months could reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20–30% each;
- Invest in a decent stain remover: There is very little that a decent stain stick can’t tackle these days, so instead of thinking your clothing is past its best because of the red wine you spilled on date night. Take a look at the stain removal options on offer and you may be able to save it;
- Ebay / Selling sites: not just for buying bargains, but for selling yours too. If you’re able to pass an item on for someone else to love, then you’re saving it from the rubbish dump and reducing that all important price per wear;
- H&M: Did you know that H&M have been offering a garment recycling scheme in all stores since 2013? Simply hand in any bag of textiles (They accept all unwanted clothes by any brand, in any condition, at any store and you’ll receive a £5 voucher to use towards your next purchase of £25/€25 (or more) in store or online;
- Charity Shops: Same as point 2 but you’ll receive a warm fuzzy feeling rather than money in your pocket.
- We buy more clothes per person in the UK than any other country in Europe;
- Over 50 million pieces of clothing are only worn once
- Great Britons send 700,000 tonnes of clothing to recycling centres, textile banks, clothes collections and to charity each year. That’s enough to fill 459 Olympic-size swimming pools
- Around 3,000,000 tonnes of clothing still ends up in household bins every year with around 20% of this going to landfill and 80% incinerated;
- Clothing accounts for 35% of global microplastic pollution and garments are the second highest at-risk product category for modern slavery.
*the shirt photographed in these pictures was a gift but I was under no obligation to post and as ever all words and opinions are my own
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