Clothes & Sustainability

Recently, we have been exposed to so many clothes in the places where we work voluntarily that I even started to think that clothes are more dangerous than plastic. We used to work in thousands of clothes every day, and I was thinking every time there are so many clothes on the ground but still people are buying clothes or big companies producing clothes every day. Crazy don't you think?

When you're reading this article, maybe you're sitting back with a pajama top on or maybe you're going on a date in a fancy dress. It doesn't matter what you are wearing right now, but when you buy these clothes, have you ever wondered how these clothes are made or how sustainable are they? But what does mean sustainable clothing? As a matter of fact, I had no idea about a word before I came to Hungary myself. Let is see what does it mean. 

Sustainable clothing refers to clothing that is designed, produced, and used in a way that minimizes negative environmental and social impacts. It involves using sustainable materials, reducing waste and pollution throughout the production process, and ensuring fair and safe working conditions for workers involved in the production. 

So how sustainable do you think your clothes are? So, do you have any information about how you can be sustainable in general?

-Using sustainable materials: This includes materials that are eco-friendly, such as organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo, or recycled materials such as polyester made from recycled plastic bottles.

-Reducing waste: This involves using production techniques that minimize waste and recycling or repurposing fabric scraps and other waste materials.

-Choosing environmentally responsible production methods: This includes using renewable energy sources, reducing water usage, and reducing pollution by using eco-friendly dyes and chemicals.

-Ensuring fair and safe working conditions: This involves ensuring that workers involved in the production of clothing are treated fairly, paid a living wage, and work in safe and healthy conditions.

-Sustainable clothing is important because the fashion industry is a major contributor to environmental degradation and social injustices. By choosing sustainable clothing, we can reduce our impact on the environment and support a more ethical and equitable fashion industry.

In fact, if you're starting from 0 (like me) you don't need to go that deep yet. There are easier ways to be sustainable. The options I will mention may not be common in every country, but I think there is a choice in every country.

 In general, there is almost no sense of second-hand clothing in Azerbaijan. For example, when I first came to Hungary, I was shocked by the extremely cool clothes and prices in second-hand clothing stores. There were even very cool clothes for less than 1 euro. When I bought my first used clothing and sent the photos to my mom, she couldn't believe the prices either.

Another option is to swap clothes. Yes, isn't it cool? Let's say you put on your outfit for a while and you don't like it anymore. Then you go to the store, you give the outfit and you change it to any other outfit you want. And maybe you will see the clothes you once wore on someone else while you are walking around the street and you will smile for a moment.

Well, let's say you don't wear your outfit anymore and you don't need a new outfit, then what can you do? You wash your dress well and take it to the closest charity shop. And the pricing in these charity shops is very affordable for others and most of the proceeds are of course donated to charities. And in this way, you will both donate your outfit and the proceeds will go to charity.

  Or, let's say you're very busy and you don't have time to go anywhere to donate or swap your clothes, then you go to Facebook, you become a member of the "used stuffs for free" group, you share clothes that you no longer need, and someone in need comes to get them from your house. And you save your time and maybe you will put a smile on the face of someone who desperately was in need of these clothes.

But did you know that also there are free clothes days in Budapest on weekends? Yeah, all you gotta do is go empty-handed and come back full-handed. All you have to do just go on Facebook and search for events.

So what happens if the outfit is no longer wearable? Well, let's say you've been wearing a dress for more than 10 years now and it's very old now. What's going on this time? Many shopping malls have recycled compartments and they buy such clothes and send them to big companies for recycling. Not only in shopping centers, but if you look around in the country you live in or do research, you can find such recycling places on the street as well. In one of the places where we work voluntarily, old clothes are turned into yarn and used for knitting. 

These choices I mentioned are not only sustainable but also very economical choices.

In conclusion, sustainable clothing is an important step towards a more environmentally friendly and socially responsible fashion industry. By making conscious choices in what we wear, we can reduce our impact on the environment and contribute to a more sustainable future. As consumers, we have the power to demand more from the fashion industry and support sustainable clothing brands. Let's make a conscious effort to choose sustainable clothing options and work towards a more sustainable and equitable fashion industry for all.

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