Follow these simple tips to help clean up our collective clothing impact :

1. Buy less. Simple as that, right? not always, but making smart purchasing decisions and exorcising that purchasing power muscle is crucial. Try to buy used / vintage whenever possible, you would be very surprised what you can find at your local thrift or vintage store.  When you feel the need for something new, ask yourself a few questions:

- How long will you get wear out of the item (how many seasons can you transition into with it; how long do you see your self wearing this style?) this ties into the quality or durability factor.

- Do you know where it was manufactured? Not saying that made oversees effects the quality as a rule, but it does feel good to invest in local production and local economies when buying new.

2. Wash Less. Yes, you have heard the benefits of holding off from washing your jeans to get that subtle soft denim quality.  This isn’t the best decision for most fabrics.  But the facts point to water as having the greatest impact in the clothing life-cycle.  Always wash in cold water and pick the shortest cycle (its better for longevity of the fabrics), using low impact detergents. If you are fortunate enough to have an outdoor space, or system for line-drying your clothing  (remember that authentic fresh smell when your were a kid and your clothes hung outside to dry?) this substantially cuts back on the energy impact, and there are many solutions to apartment line-drying, as this method of laundering is still pretty prevalent in Europe.

3. Consign/ Donate/ Recycle.  I am a recent  to the consignment world, and am excited to see the process through (I will report back), I have been assured it is the way to go to make a quick buck.  When I have asked friends what they do with old or unused, unworn clothing I am usually surprised by their answer.  Not only do many people just throw out old clothing items (!), they are unaware of the options available to them beyond donating to a charity like goodwill or sally ann.  Below is a quick list of options depending on the sate of the clothing you are trying to offload:

For Consignment:

Condition: New; Used – gently worn (better with higher end labels and brand names):

For Recycling:

Condition: Old worn-in; broken down, practically a rag, other textile items such as curtains, bedding, etc:


For Donation:

Condition: gently worn, washed and clean at time of donation (In Canada)

You can not miss this on-point video that carefully summarizes the system and impact of the production, use and disposal of our wardrobes. It is important to spread the word in effort to help make consumers make the best possible purchasing decisions, with the lowest impact.
The video comes to us from Greenovate.


In the past couple of years, LEVI STRAUSS & CO has begun to take strides in informing consumers on the impact of some of its most popular products. Notably, it has produced reports on environmental performance, its supplier list , and broken down the overall impact for 11 of its products.

Part of this initiative has the providing far more information to consumers than most of its competitors, while also means shifting to the use of tags and product labeling which encourages better consumer use and care of products.  In 2010 the company launched water<less jeans, denim produced using less water, educating through video clips while having a call-to-action for consumers to limit water consumption by washing less and in cold water.

What is important to note, and keep watch of here – beyond how consumers will respond to transparent initiatives – is how and what the brand will do to foster significant change from within its corporate structure.  Its current partnership with Fashion Futures might be the ticket – check out the video this collaboration produced: