In the UK alone, an estimated 350,000 tons of clothing end up in landfills every year. This is a huge proportion of waste that has the potential to be recycled into new pieces.. Tiny microfibres in the clothing alongside the chemicals used during production all have a negative impact on the environment and our ecosystem. 


Fast fashion, cheaply made clothes and constant changes in trends are just some of the reasons why people are buying and throwing away clothing at an unsustainable rate. 


Fortunately, many consumers are starting to become more conscious of the importance of sustainability and have begun to change their habits. To help you do your bit for the environment the experts at Slater Menswear have put together their top tips on how to become a more sustainable fashion consumer.

1. Do Your Research

The first step to becoming more sustainable is to do your research — you don’t want to be supporting a brand that doesn’t follow your ethics, after all. Being well-informed with a brand's sustainability information will help you decide whether this is the right brand for you. Many brands operate with sustainability as their main focus, which is great news for fashion lovers. 


A lot of brands now include a ‘Sustainability’ section on their website. Once you’ve looked into a handful of brands you love, you will start to grow your portfolio of knowledge and eventually have an entire list of labels to shop from. If you’re struggling to find out where a brand stands or whether they are a sustainable choice, chances are they aren’t as eco-conscious as they seem. 

2. Look After Your Clothes

It sounds obvious, but looking after your clothes to prolong their life is key to improving your level of sustainability. High-quality clothes will most likely last longer compared to fast-fashion pieces, but only if you take care of them correctly. You can take the next step to improve your pieces by washing and storing your clothes in the right way.

How to Wash Your Clothes Properly 

1. Ready Clothes for the Washer 

Before you throw your clothes into the washing machine, make sure you remove any loose pins, buckles, zips and hooks. To prevent snags and abrasions, secure any Velcro, but don’t fasten buttons as this can add stress to them leading to buttonholes. 


Empty the pockets and turn them inside out, unfurl any socks and unroll your cuffs. To prevent tangling, make sure you tie any strings or sashes. Then place delicates such as lingerie and fine knitwear into zipped mesh bags and turn them inside out alongside sweaters and cotton t-shirts. 

2. Brighten Your Whites 

To keep your whites bright, never wash them with other colours. Pre-treat stained and underarm marks with a non-chlorine-based bleach half an hour before you wash the clothing. Treat quickly for the best results. Then wash at the highest temperature advised on the care label and use the right amount of detergent as this will stop the water from redepositing dirt back into your fabrics. 

3. Separate the Darks

Always wash your darks separately. Putting them on a mixed cycle with lighter-coloured or white clothes will lead to the darker tones bleeding into the lighter fabric. When washing your darks, put them on the shortest cycle on a cold setting to stop the colour from fading. The best setting for your clothing will be stated on the care label and will be determined by how dirty they are and the fabric they’re made from. 

4. Always Read the Label  

Reading the care label on your clothing is important to ensure you’re washing them correctly — you don’t want to shrink your clothes by putting them on the wrong setting! The clothes label will state the maximum temperature, the right setting your washer or dryer should be on and whether they should be dry cleaned. If it says to dry clean or hand wash delicates and avoid putting certain fabrics in the dryer, you should follow these instructions to look after your clothing. 

5. Keep Your Machine Clean 

Maintaining your washer and dryer with regular cleaning and servicing will improve its performance and how it washes or dries your clothes. To ensure that the machine is clean, be sure to wipe the interior with a clean, damp cloth and run a short hot wash cycle while it's empty with detergent or a special cleaner. With a dryer, make sure you clean the filter after every use to prevent overheating. 

How to Store Your Clothes Correctly 

Once you’ve washed and dried your clothes properly, the next thing you need to do to prolong their lifespan is to store them correctly. For example, any clothing that can easily stretch out like t-shirts, knits and sweaters, should be folded rather than hung as this will put less stress on the material. Sturdy fabrics like denim, khakis and cords can handle being folded. 


With clothes that need to be hung, make sure you use a proper hanger. Using a metal or light wood hanger is best, as they’re strong and sturdy so won’t bend over time. This means your clothing items are less likely to wrinkle or slip off the hanger, resulting in fewer creases and less ironing over time, which can damage certain fibres and fabrics. 

3. Donate Unwanted Clothing 

Donating any unwanted clothing to non-profit organisations is a quick and easy way to clear out your wardrobe without contributing to unnecessary waste ending up in landfills. You will also be helping out a good cause, which will be much appreciated. 


However, doing your research into the charity is important. Some charities will send your clothes to third-world countries for re-sale, but due to the larger size of European and American people, many of the clothes will unfortunately still end up in landfills as they won’t fit the residents of this country. 


When donating your clothes, look for charities that are sustainable and work hard to reduce their waste in landfills. Alternatively, find charity shops in your town where your clothes will be re-sold to locals and the profits will be donated to a good cause or back into the local community.


As well as being great for the environment, purchasing second-hand clothing is often a lot cheaper than buying brand-new goods, making it a win-win situation. 

4. Get Clothes Made from Sustainable Products 

There is a common misconception about certain materials that make up clothing. For example, cotton is commonly used and is often mistaken for a natural eco-friendly product. However, the intense way cotton is produced and manufactured makes it one of the least sustainable products when it comes to producing clothing. 


Instead, you should get clothes made from more sustainable materials including linen, hemp, soy, bamboo, silk, and recycled plastic to name a few. Wool from a variety of animals is also a good choice, but you need to be careful as farmers need to dispose of sheep dips and pesticides appropriately to avoid harming the water supply. 

5. Learn How to Repair Your Clothes 

When something rips or breaks, this doesn’t mean it needs to be thrown away and used as an excuse to buy something new. Learning how to repair your clothes and accessories will save you money and reduce your waste while saving some of your favourite fashion items. Or if you don’t have the time to do that, pay a professional to fix it for you. 


This is a simple yet effective way to boost your sustainability and save money on replacements. Finding a good tailor will also improve the fit of your clothes, which will make them last longer. 

6. Invest in Trans-Seasonal Clothes 

Investing in clothing that will work for you throughout the year will save you money and space. For example, if you’re building up your summer wardrobe but live in a country that doesn’t see much sun, then most of the clothing will only be worn a handful of times which is a waste of time and resources. 


A common rule to follow is the 30 wears test. When looking for clothes, ask yourself if you’re going to wear them a minimum of 30 times. If the answer is yes, then buy it and vice versa. 


To do this, you will most likely need to avoid statement or seasonal trend pieces that will quickly fall out of fashion. Instead, go for pieces that are versatile and will allow you to style them in many different ways. This will ensure every outfit looks unique and on-trend. Buying clothes that you can wear during all kinds of weather will increase their longevity and reduce your carbon footprint. 

7. Go for Quality over Quantity 

Building up your wardrobe is all about planning. Buying clothes that are high quality and more sustainable will most likely cost you more than cheap high street products or fast fashion. However, changing your mindset is the first step to a more sustainable future. 


While better quality costs more, there is a much higher chance that you will have it for longer. A save up, invest and buy less attitude will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint compared to getting lots of cheaper, less-ecofriendly items. 

8. Shop Smarter, Not Less

You can keep fuelling your passion for fashion and follow all the latest trends when building a sustainable wardrobe. Instead, shop smarter rather than shopping less. This consists of looking around at what’s on offer and deciding whether you like the look of it.


Another tip is instead of buying the first item you see, look at other brands that may be more sustainable and make them your first choice. You could even put a system in place whereby you get rid of an item from your wardrobe in a sustainable way before investing in another. Just make sure you find a way that’ll work for you so you can stick to long-term smarter shopping. 

9. Change Your Perspective 

Finally, too many people associate an eco-friendly wardrobe with basic coloured garments that are oversized and lack any form of luxury. However, just because something is sustainable and organic doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t be beautiful and stylish. 


Consumers should never be asked to compromise by choosing an item that’s sustainably sourced but looks terrible over a lovely item that’s cheap but isn’t eco-friendly. 


With more and more fashion brands seeing and understanding the importance of an environmentally friendly lifestyle and clothing line, dressing sustainably no longer means people have to compromise, so buyers need to change their perspective and stop thinking the worst. 

Finding your sustainability

Slater Menswear does its bit for the environment by using sustainable materials and packaging. The bags are reusable and recyclable and are made from recycled warehouse waste. The suppliers are asked to reduce the amount of packaging they use. 


To reduce the company's carbon footprint, Slater Menswear has begun installing new low-energy fittings and air conditioning units in their businesses. 


Learn more about our eco-friendly ways and how you can help with their environmental policy