Many people are probably unaware of how polluting the fashion industry is, so before you read on about how to minimize your wardrobe, here are some reasons on why you should minimize your wardrobe: 


  1. In many countries where garments are manufactured, untreated toxic waste from textile factories are dumped directly into rivers. Toxic substances include lead, mercury and arsenic, which have severe impacts on aquatic ​life and the health of millions of people depending on the river for their livelihoods. 

  2. The fashion industry consumes a significant amount of water - an estimated 1.5 trillion liters of water annually. A lot of this water could have gone to meeting the basic need of having clean drinking water daily for millions of people, typically in less developed countries where these garments are being produced. 

  3. Millions of microfibers are released into waters every time we wash our garments. These microfibers end up in the ocean and are ingested by small organisms which can bioaccumulate and eventually end up in our food. 

  4. The fashion industry is a major waste producer. With capitalism promoting overconsumption, people are disposing of clothes faster than ever before and whilst donating clothes seem like an ethical option, only a very small percentage of donated clothes end up in the shops with the rest is being shipped off to less developed countries to sell or straight into landfill. 

There are many other factors explaining why the fashion industry is damaging to the environment. This article provides additional factors alongside some simple solutions to mitigate your impact and if you have more time, The True Cost on Netflix is an excellent, eye-opening documentary on the negative impacts of the fashion industry. Moving on, here are some tips on how to minimize your wardrobe:

  • First of all, consume less! The average person only wears about 30% of their wardrobe. How many items of clothing do you really need and do you really wear? 

  • Next, declutter your wardrobe - donate unused clothes or sell them online if you can. Find the pieces or style of clothing that you find yourself commonly gravitating towards and keep them. Give away the rest.

  • Having a downsized wardrobe means only having clothes that you truly love and will wear repeatedly. This also means taking greater care of these pieces of clothing, placing a greater value on them and eventually sending fewer things to landfill. 

  • A smaller wardrobe is not only sustainable but convenient as well by cutting down on the time taken to choose your outfit for the day!

  • However, minimizing your wardrobe can be an overwhelming task. Whilst some people prefer to take on the task in a single attempt, others may prefer taking their time to declutter. Do what you need in your own time. The process is equally important as the outcome.  

  • Next, try to buy secondhand when you can: Visit thrift stores, charity shops and check out online stores like Depop, even Facebook, eBay or Vinted - there are so many second hand stores online for you to give love to unwanted clothes that fit your style! Buying secondhand saves money too!

  • Alternatively, ask your friends if they are willing to participate in a clothes swap!

  • I still buy the occasional item of clothing and I try to buy them ethically if I can afford it. However, if I can’t buy them ethically made (as they are usually really expensive), I make sure I genuinely want the piece of clothing and will love it for many years to come before making a purchase. This also means purchasing items of really good quality to ensure they last a long time.

  • The next time you're about to purchase something, remember to ask yourself, do you really need it?