Do you have some items of clothing that you are not wearing anymore, but you would still like to see them put to good use? Much loved items that are in good condition can be of benefit to others and therefore the life cycle of the item can be extended. This is particularly true for high quality, luxury items that have been made to last for a long time.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimates that ‘extending the life of clothes by just nine extra months of active use would reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by around 20-30% each’. This means that even when an item of clothing has reached the end of its useful life for your personal wardrobe, it is worth considering how to extend the life of the garment for as long as possible to maximise the use of natural resources. This inspired action helps to benefit people and the planet while creating spaciousness in your wardrobe.
The global shift to circular economy coupled with online tools are also bringing new ways to extend the lifecycle of clothes. Here are a few local and global ideas to get started.
1. Swap or Lend
Fashion swap parties have been common among fashionista circles of friend for a long time. However, what about lending an unused item to a friend for a while? Perhaps after some time apart you may see your much loved items as fresh again and be happy to have it back after a while. As the old saying goes - ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’. The digital revolution has also brought with it more possibility to swap clothes, not only with friends, but also with strangers. Sites like rehash.com offer a free exchange marketplace where you can advertise and search for clothing exchanges. When you swap or lend your clothes with people, either close to you or around the world, you are giving each item a second chance of a useful and extended life.
This is a classic option and also a way to make a little extra money. Whether at a garage sale or an online resale site, selling used items is a great way to extend the life of used clothes. For an online sale you will need bright, clear photos that clearly display each item from a different angle, preferably on a person. While it can take a little time to set up, second-hand online clothes sales are a booming market thanks to a number of popular sites.
Donating clothes is also a good option because you can help other people when you donate your used clothes. Many communities benefit from low-cost or free second hand clothes that are made available through donation. In this way, when you donate clothes you can be fairly certain that each item you donate is also supporting a social cause.
It is also possible to donate clothes back to a number of large fashion chains. They collect used clothes and then re-cycle the fabric into the next seasons fashion range.
All three of these options will extend the life of your clothing for at least a few more months or longer. This extended life means that each item has avoided going directly to landfill while maximising the use of our precious natural resources. A beautiful and important effort for people and the planet.