The UK loves fashion. In fact, we buy more clothes than any other country - over 1 million tonnes of clothing every year! And whilst fashion is a powerful tool of self-expression and identity, it shouldn’t cost the Earth. With clothing consumption on the rise, the fashion industry’s carbon impact is greater than the airline industry’s; it’s the second biggest pollutant in the world; and our insatiable appetite for new garments means that as a country, the UK yearly throws away over 300,000 tonnes of clothing - that’s the equivalent £140m worth of clothes going to landfill, every year. 

The good news is there are simple things we can all do to help change this. This #FashionRevolution* week we’re looking back at Hubbub’s fashion campaigns and what they mean for your wardrobe with our ‘tips for change’.

Visualising the issue - Textile Cube 

The textile cube represents the volume of clothes we throw away every 3.5 minutes in the UK - that's around 300,000 tonnes a year (WRAP)80% of clothes that are thrown away are incinerated (leading to increased carbon emissions) and 20% are sent to landfill where they can take hundreds of years to break down whilst releasing toxic elements into our environment.  

You may have seen the cube in Brighton or London. Let us know if you want the cube to visit your location! 

Tips for change:  

  • Buy less clothes. A simple way to reduce waste is to have less to start with. 
  • Buy clothes that are made to last. If you want to buy something new, look at the way it is made and what it’s made from. Try to buy clothes made from organic textiles like organic cotton, lyocell or Tencel. Think about how that item will look with the rest of your wardrobe. Will you still want to wear it tomorrow, next week, next year? If you're looking for more guidance, watch Hubbub’s vlog on good quality clothing here.
  • Decided it’s time to break up with an item? If it is still in good quality, donate it to your local charity shop. If it doesn’t look good enough for reuse, drop it off at your local textile recycling point. Search here to find out where your nearest collection bin is.

Extending the life of clothes - #StreetStore

On average, a person wears an item of clothing only 7 times before discarding it and the average woman's wardrobe contains 10 items that will never be worn again.  A great way to reduce textile waste is to reuse. We launched #StreetStore with North London Waste Authority to help communities redistribute unwanted clothes through swap events. To date, #StreetStore has redistributed 73.64kg of clothes and over 1,750 people have visited the Street Store locations in North London. 

Tips for change: 

  • Why not run your own Street Store? To make it easy for you, we’ve created a downloadable How To Guide. If you run an event let us know how you get on.
  • If you want to run something a little more low key, why not arrange a swap event with your friends or family? Encourage everyone to bring a few items of clothes that aren’t getting enough love and get swapping. There are a few ways you can do this. You may want to have a free for all or you may want to create a one-for-one system. Whichever way you choose, swap events can be a great way for friends to get together and have fun whilst updating their wardrobe...for free! 

Overcoming sentimental attachment - #GiftABundle 

A whopping 183 million items of outgrown baby clothing are stashed in UK homes, enough to provide over 250 items for each baby born in the UK each year. Because children grown so fast, clothes are often only worn for a few months before being outgrown. This is expensive with the average family spending £11,000 on a child’s clothing alone and can also result in lots of clothing going to waste. 1/3 of parents claim they’ve thrown clothing in the bin because they didn’t know what else to do with it.  
 
That's why we partnered with Mothercare to help families #GiftABundle of outgrown clothingWhen the campaign launched in 2017, in the lead up to Mother's Day an incredible 2,000 bundles were gifted by customers, amounting to approximately 200,000 items of clothing. 

Tips for change:  

  • Share your outgrown baby clothes with those who need them. You can still take baby clothes to your local Mothercare but if you don’t live near a Mothercarethere are lots of baby clothing schemes around the UK. Some of these schemes may take older children’s clothes tooWe love Little Village in London who have a map of their spots here.  

Taking care of clothes - #WhatsInMyWash 

Washing textiles contributes to over 1/3 of all microplastics in our oceans making it the largest source of ocean plastic pollution. Every time we wash our synthetic clothes (like polyester or nylon), tiny plastic fibres are released into the water systems. These fibres are called microfibres and have been found in marine eco systems and even the food we eat and we don’t yet know what impact this is having on our health. #WhatsInMyWash was launched in 2018 to raise public awareness about microfibres. To date, the campaign has reached 3.4m people and over 850,000 people saw our installation in London. 

Tips for change:  

Care for your clothes. The way we wash our clothes can help reduce microfibre pollution. 

  • Try washing less often (this will help your clothes last longer and will help save time and water)..sometimes the lazy way is the best way.  
  • If it needs a wash, check the care label to make sure you’re washing your clothes the right way. If you’re confused by the symbols, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our vlog. 
  • If in doubt, wash on 30degrees and for less time. You’ll use less water and help your clothes last longer. WIN ,WIN. 

Who is Fashion Revolution?

Fashion Revolution is a global movement of people who believe in a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure.  

On the 24th April 2013, 1,1338 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Bangladesh. Motivated by the tragedy, Fashion Revolution was set up as an action-orientated organisation who celebrate fashion as a positive influence while also scrutinising industry practices and raising awareness of the fashion industry’s most pressing issues. 

If you want to find out more and see how you can get involved, visit here: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/