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12 Rules to dress by

Amisha Ghadiali advises us

Amisha Ghadiali

Clothes are an important part of our daily life. But this global industry, that employs one sixth of the world’s population, is riddled with issues such as fast fashion, toxic chemical use, forced labour and waste.

We have the opportunity to affect millions of people’s lives and to protect our environment by examining the way we shop and what we wear. Rules are made to be broken, but by following these you can really make a difference.

Amisha Ghadiali gives us her 12 rules to dress by…

Ask yourself whether you really need something new or could you wear something in a different way to make it feel fresh? If you are buying it, think about what you have that you can wear it with.

Try and set a limit for how many things you buy a year. Think of how many things you usually buy every month or year and then take off at least a quarter. Or even half it – you don’t need as much as you think you do.

Research ethical designers. There are so many designers with exciting collections that use intelligent design and push the production boundaries.

Support small local designers. In a market that is increasingly global, it’s hard for local artists to compete with the high street. But the things that they create are special, original and come with a low carbon footprint.

Buy something organic or made from new fabrics such as soy bean, nettle or milk. They are not as harmful to the earth or the farmers who grow them (more common fabrics such as non-organic cotton involve heavy pesticide use).

Have a wardrobe clear-out and give your unloved pieces to your local charity shop or hold a swishing party. Research the best clothing banks to donate to as some recycle every bit of clothing even if it is damaged, and some throw away things they can’t sell.

When buying something new, ask the shop/designer what is not on the label such as what it is made from, where it was made and by whom. This way you learn about the story of your clothes and if the designer or brand hasn’t thought about it then you’re helping change the industry by reminding them to do so.

Get out your sewing machine and customise something old (maybe two or three things) into something new. Sewing machines are not as hard to use as you think they are. If you don’t think you can do it yourself, find a sewing class, or you could ask your gran!

When buying something new, think of how long you will like it for. Is it a keeper or something you will wear once? Try and buy something that you can get a lot of wear out of.

Buy something fair-trade. The Fairtrade certification guarantees that producers have been paid a fair price for the material. For example you can get Fairtrade cotton and Fairtrade gold. Note that if they have written fair-trade as two words that they don’t have the official certification (although they might be implementing fair trade practises).

Rent or borrow something instead of buying something new. It’s a great feeling when you wear something belonging to a family member or a friend, and it makes them happy to see you enjoying it too (that is if you asked permission!) If they don’t have your taste then you could try a designer rental service.

Have fun with it! Ethical fashion is all about discovering the stories behind the fashion and changing lives not to mention helping our planet. So explore, experiment and enjoy yourself.

Amisha Ghadiali is a sustainable fashion expert and a social and cultural innovator. Founder of jewellery label, amisha.elegance.rebellion



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