Paris Fashion Week is in full strut. The style of the street has swaggered indoors and onto the catwalk, mini bags are still carrying serious clout, and colourful leather is clamouring for attention. While floral and polka dot prints were last year’s go to, this year we hope focus falls on a print of a different kind. Yep, the industry is the world’s second largest polluter, only behind oil, with harmful production practices at the top and unsustainable shopping habits on the high street. Something has got to give in the way we go about styling ourselves. Here’s a start; our 5 IDEAL ways to reduce your fashion footprint.

KNOW THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF TEXTILES

Textile production requires huge amounts of water and energy to meet demand, producing 1.2 billion tonnes of  CO2 equivalent per year; more than international flights and maritime shipping. Troubling enough, but what’s worse is that it’s predicted that the manufacture of clothes will account for a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. That’s shocking, and something has got to give. Indeed, while we’re looking to travel, eat meat and use plastic more mindfully, rarely do we think about our clothes consumption in the same way. The first step to reducing our fashion footprint is by being aware of the scale of the problem.

FORGO FAST FASHION

The news last July that Burberry had burned $40 million worth of clothes in an attempt to preserve the brand’s reputation for exclusivity caused outrage. More than anything, it was symptomatic of a wider, worrying trend of recent years; fast fashion, where clothing has become a single-use purchase, destined for landfill after just one wear. The impact this has on the environment doesn’t need to be spelt out. If you do deem a garment unworthy or unwearable, the bin isn’t the place for it……

SWAPS, SECOND HAND & REPURPOSING

Of course, the single most efficient way to reduce your fashion footprint is to simply stop buying new clothes. For some, that may sound like a proposition too radical to bear, but hear us out. There are myriad ways to never have to hit the high street again.

Firstly, suggest to friends a swapping session. We’ve all got those outfits we’ve fallen out of love with, which don’t have anything implicitly wrong with them, they’re just out of favour. Well, snap! So why not gather up the items gathering dust in the back of your wardrobe and see if any friends fancy trying them for size.

Should you have something which still can’t find a body for, donate them to your local charity shop. While you’re in there, have a root around for some new garms; we all know that those vintage finds become your most loved pieces, and it’s money going to charity, so there really is nothing to lose. And finally, if you’re handy with the old thread and needle, you could repurpose old items and turn them into something new and groovy. How much more thrifty and rewarding is that?

ECO-FRIENDLY FABRIC

Not all fabrics were created equal. Nor do they use the same amount of energy in their production. Yep, it’s said that the manufacture of a single polyester t-shirt will generate three times as much CO2 as that of a cotton one. But according to the Pulse of the Fashion report 2018, switching up your polyester for a recyclable substitute will bring about a 60 percent reduction in energy usage and almost half the energy emissions too. Clearly, it’s time to actively seek out clothes made from eco friendly fabric. By doing so, a change in the production habits of huge fashion companies and manufacturers can be spurred on.

WASH WITH CARE

We’re sure that everyone has felt the heartbreak of lifting your favourite t-shirt from the wash, only to realise it’s shrunk or taken on an irredeemable pinky hue. So into the bin it goes, and the disposable fashion cycle keeps spinning. But washing your clothes with care, as per the instructions on the label, will keep them at their peak for longer and negate the need for new items. Forgo tumble drying (bad for your clothes and a huge energy guzzler) and of course, use an eco cycle, on a low temperature to lessen the environmental impact of your wash. The green benefits of washing considerately are all-encompassing.

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.