FashionCreative ways to make clothes last longer Fashion images that saturate our news feeds help the industry bring in a whopping £26 billion to our economy. On average we each spend £640 on clothes per year and collectively throw out almost 300,000 tonnes of clothing. One third of this has barely been worn! This is men and women alike with men only wearing 13% of the clothing in their wardrobes. Maintaining your style without throwing away your old things is easier than you think, and can save you money. Take a look at the events, blogs and top tips to give you a few threads of thought. 3 things you can do today Beat fast fashion. Be aware of impluse buys and think about whether you really want or need something. This will help you buy less, but better. Love seconds. Find some gems in second hand clothes shops or swap clothes and accessories you no longer want with your friends and family. You could even revamp something old with a few embellishments. Get some tips in our Make, do and mend handbook. Care for your clothes. Simple actions like washing clothes at 30ºC, only ironing when necessary and reducing tumble drying can make your clothes last much longer - read more about 'Clever Care'. Go a bit further - run your own campaign. Home Do something Top tips Blog Ideas bank Blog Do H&M's ambitions to 'close the loop' give them an ethical edge? H&M’s innovation challenge to ‘close the loop’ closes this week. The ‘Global Change Award’ announced by their Conscious Foundation in August will give a €1m reward to designers, scientists and technological whizz kids who come up with new innovative ideas to recycle and re-use clothing at the end of its life. Winners will test these ideas and explore the potential for scale. Textile waste and natural resource scarcity pose huge challenges to the fashion industry, with 1 million tonnes of textiles landfilled each year in the UK alone. Should this innovation challenge give us confidence in H&M’s desire to protect the earth’s natural resources? Does it give them the ethical edge? Not everyone is whooping and cheering. Some accuse H&M of averting its eyes from the more nitty gritty issues in its supply chain. Those most sceptical dismiss their activities as greenwash, a distraction from the systemic change that is really needed to reduce the negative impacts of fast fashion. Perhaps H&M is openly discussing waste and pollution because it’s the ‘most straight-forward’ fast fashion challenge. Here could be where relatively quick solutions can be devised and implemented. Issues around labour and overproduction are conversely a good deal more complex. Would shouting loudly about their work on empowering women and the fair living wage be sticking their head above the parapet too much? The complexities lie in the fact fast fashion is symptomatic of our consumerist culture and growth economies. Brands are operating under profit-driven models of production and mainstream demand is still for large quantities of cheap on-trend clothing. I’d like to see a more open debate. It’d be nice to hear more from businesses about what steps they’re taking, the challenges and their longer term ambitions. Just because a situation is complex doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discussed. Equally sceptics could be more open to the nuances in the debate, and allow room to applaud genuinely positive progress. ‘The Global Change Award’ poses an exciting opportunity to reduce textile waste, but perhaps greater transparency and more radical moves are needed in the long term to tackle other fast fashion challenges. Throughout October the Fashion Future Network is discussing if clothing recycling schemes present the solution to getting value from textiles waste? Join the conversation.