How To Build An Ethical Closet

A couple of weeks ago I shared that I was taking an online course called 'Who Made My Clothes'. This course is all about the tools to finding out who is making your clothes and how the workers are treated. Do they earn a fair living wage? Are they working in safe environments? Be curious, find out and do something. I have learned so much from it and today we are going to talk about how you can achieve an ethical closet, so let's get into it.

The 5 r's to sustainability
The first step to an ethical and sustainable closet is to start working with what you have. Have you ever heard about the 5 r's? If not, you will now. These are key to sustainability, easy to remember and in connection to clothing they mean:
Refuse clothing you do not need. Say no to impulse purchases, items you buy just because they are on sale or cheap and say no to things just because they are trendy.
Reduce your amount of purchases and buy thoughtfully. Do you like all of what you have and what you want, and if you like all of it, do you really need all this stuff? Buy what you like but more importantly also what you need to reduce the amount of clothing you buy.
Reuse as many times as you can to help the environment. Clothing has a huge impact on our planet because of water, toxins, transportation so reuse your clothing until they are not wearable anymore.
Repair anything that can be repaired. If something is to big, sew it in. If something has a hole in it sew it shut or iron on a patch - you can also patch up a stain. Find creative ways to repair your clothes.
Recycle as much clothes as you can. Host a clothes swap with your friends. Turn old clothing into other things like cleaning cloths, tote bags or gift bags - there are also many many ideas on Pinterest. 

Another r is research. Who makes the clothing you are currently wearing/buying? Where does it come from? This is probably what takes the most time but once you start to figure out who is okay and who is not then it is going to get easier and easier. Do some research online and see where there clothing comes from and if they are using sweatshops. You can also write the company and ask #whomademyclothes? Make them aware of the fact that you are interested in wanting to know who is making their clothing which is encouraging more brands to be transparent. You do not even have to send them an email, ask them on social media with the #whomademyclothes.

Find alternatives
There are already some lists and websites with brands that are ethical and vegan. A few are Kristen Leo's list with ethical brands and if you want to know more vegan brands click here: All Vegan All Good. If you are looking for more basics then check out Organic Basics* that has organic ethical basics - I have an entire post about their amazing products here where you can get 15% off your next purchase. Do some research about the brand before making your purchase. Save the brands you find for later use - I have have a 'folder' on my computer where I bookmark ethical brands.

You can also find alternatives that give back to animals and the planet. Wholesome Culture gives back to animal and they have the coolest clothes. Tsforbees give 10% of their profit to saving the bees - Get free shipping on any order by clicking here.

Gradually change it
To be honest ethical clothing cost more than the clothing you can find at fast fashion stores made in a sweatshop so for many people it will definitely seem more expensive. But when you think about it, it makes sense why that is; the person making it was paid enough to make a fair living wage being able to pay for what they need to live a life free from poverty and that is only fair.
But that also means that not everyone can change their closet overnight and you definitely do not have to. Use what you have and when you want to replace something change it out with ethical options. Put what you need on your wishlists for your birthday or Christmas.

Buy with purpose and thought
Ethical fashion does not only mean who made the clothing but also the impact it has on the planet. It takes over 2000, almost 3000 liters of water to produce a T-shirt - That's how much water you will drink in over three years. That is insane! So really, that T-shirt you bought because it was on sale figuring it won't hurt but just ends up in the back of your closet ending up in landfills is actually hurting the environment and our planet. Actually think before buying. Does it fit? Are you comfortable? Will you wear it? You might think you need to buy it to figure that out but deep down you know if you will actually use it. 

As mentioned, reduce your purchases. The fashion industry is also one of the most wasteful industries in the world. In USA, 10,5 million tons of clothing is sent to landfills every year. Around 350.000 tons of clothing goes to landfills in the UK every year. Only around 20 % of clothing is recycled each year.
Avoid impulse purchases and actually buy what you need to reduce your waste and to help the environment. Avoid buying clothing you don't feel comfortable in or love because you will never wear it. Have 2-3 shirts you absolutely love instead of 15 that are never worn.

In the near furture I am also going to do a post on how to stop impulse buying so stay tuned for that.

Choose thrifting
Because of the huge waste thrift as much as you can. This way you do not contribute to the production of new items. Mix your closet with ethical brands and thrifting. I like how inexpensive it is because that means that I can be ethical on a budget spending more money on my ethical clothing such as my basics* which is the only thing I do not thrift.
There are also many online second hand apps like Dpop, Etsy, Ebay and so on- but the problem I have is that I always want to try whatever I want to buy before actually buying it so I only shop in physical stores, plus there is also the shipping and packaging waste - but it is definitely an option. And also do not throw the clothing you do not want to have away, give it to a thrift shop instead so it can bring others joy.

These are some of my tips for an ethical closet. If you have any, please leave them in the comments below or feel free to ask if you have any questions. 

This post contains affiliate links which means that at no additional cost to you I earn commission if you make a purchase through my link. The link will be marked with a *.