Sequin Season: Why your party must haves are bad for the environment

Disclaimer: I’ve just bought a sequin skirt.

Whilst trawling through Instagram looking for outfit inspiration for my new sequin skirt, an influencer I follow shared a post on the damaging impact that sequins have on the environment. This was a real heart in stomach moment for me. As someone who likes to consider myself as thoughtful when buying clothes and never investing in fast fashion, I was surprised that I’d made such a faux pas.

Through my own research I’ve learnt that the issue with sequins is mainly due to their high plastic content which means that they cannot be recycled. Additionally, when placed in the washing machine, some of the sequins will inevitably dislodge which will go down the drain. This then contributes to the 12.7 million tonnes of plastic being dumped in our oceans every year. Sequins are a particularly pertinent issue at the moment given the proximity to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, where lots of people will be investing in festive wear, which more likely than not, won’t see the light of day until the following year. Or worse, the item will only be worn once.

If you do already have some sequins in your wardrobe, that you don’t love as much as you did, I’d recommend donating to a charity shop so that they can be loved by someone else. Or if you can upcycle them in any way into something else, that is much better than contributing to landfill.

Nevertheless, the fashion world is constantly evolving and hopefully in next year’s A/W season, biodegradable sequins will be commonplace, and used by everyone from the high-street to the high-end designers. I don’t think many people saw vegan leather shoes and recycled materials in new garments being introduced as quickly as they have, so the sky really is the limit for fashion brands.

As for me, my new sequins have already been worn a handful of times, and they will glitter at many more occasions in the weeks to come. I will endeavour to treasure and look after my skirt so that I can wear it for many seasons, and not just in the festive period.

 

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