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‘If everyone wore a pre-loved outfit on Christmas Day this year the CO2 emissions saved would be equivalent to taking 56 million cars off the road for a day'  - @thredup 


Winter is well and truly upon us and, inevitably, the familiar ambush of Christmas adverts has begun to infiltrate all areas of life – be that the high street or your Instagram feed. Combined with the new phenomenon of lockdown induced boredom, it’s a recipe for impulse purchases.


During the Christmas period, the average family will increase spending on clothes by 43%. According to the study from environmental charity Hubbub, Brits spend £2.4 billion on new outfits throughout December. After splashing out an average of £73.90 per person on party wear, one in five people admit they won’t wear the same outfit more than once.


If everyone wore an old outfit for Christmas day that would be the equivalent of 56 million cars taken off the road for a day. To combat the devastating effects of the fashion industry on our planet, sustainability must become a focus for us all. 


We have 5 easy ways to help you breathe new life into your wardrobe without buying anything new this festive season: 


1. Rediscover

It’s easy to forget what you own, so diving into your wardrobe is a great place to start. I have regrettably purchased five variants of black flares, without realising how similar each pair really was. To avoid wasting money on clothes you already own, group items into colour or clothing groups. If you discover some bits you no longer need or want, keep hold of them until charity shops and recycling centres reopen.


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2. Re-wear and re-style 

According to ECAP, the UK buys more clothing than any other European country and sends 11 million items to landfill every week. Research shows impulse buying is often caused by boredom. Boredom is inevitable especially during a winter lockdown. However, instead of wasting time and money online shopping, finding new ways to re-wear and re-style our clothes will boost our creativity and reduce our impact on the environment. 


For example, since the Y2K fashion trend renaissance, I have been rediscovering my old accessories. As someone who struggles to throw anything away, I have uncovered necklaces and bracelets I haven’t worn since I was a child, but now are bang on-trend. What goes around always comes back around eventually, so before giving ASOS any more money – check what you own.  


3. Repair

We live in an age where everything gets thrown away, and this ‘out with the old, in with the new’ attitude comes with tremendous cost. The clothing retailers often cut corners, at the expense of the environment, to keep up with the demands of these frequently changing styles. It is estimated the apparel industry accounts for 10% of the planet’s carbon emissions. Alongside this, a study found it produces over 92 million tonnes of waste a year.


A lot of the clothing that ends up in landfill across the UK could be repaired. Using a sewing machine, or a sewing kit, could save you money and give you something to do over lockdown. Also, avoid throwing items out because they’ve gone out of fashion, as there is a high chance they will come back on-trend. 


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4. Upcycle

I’ve spent many New Year’s Eves, frantically searching Topshop for a new dress, only for it be worn once before banishing it to the bottom of my wardrobe. Especially if it gets stained by red wine (which it usually does).  Instead of throwing your old clothes away, why not get a little crafty with them? Even if you have never touched a sewing machine, there are a few easy things you can do to breathe life into your old clothes. Such as changing the buttons to add more decoration or adding a slit to a midi dress or skirt you don’t wear.  However if you do have access to a sewing machine, you could shorten the hems on your dresses or trousers to create a new look.



5. Wear summer clothes in winter, with layers 

It may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how good a summer dress can look with a fur coat and a pair of boots.


Clearly there are many ways to help the environment and your wallet this winter so why not give one of these ideas a try?

Anthropology student.
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