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Malmö’s advice on building a new relationship with clothes

Malmö’s advice on building a new relationship with clothes

The essence is to stay mindful and take care of what you’ve got

As we have earlier reported, the Swedish city of Malmö has set its sights on spearheading a change in mentality when it comes to clothing habits. Authorities there are thinking of various ways to bring attention to the environmental impact that the textile industry causes. They are also implementing concrete actions and would like the local residents to join them in that endeavour by doing their part.

We thought it would, therefore, be apt to share the advice that Malmö residents receive so that you, too, could incorporate it into your daily life and re-think the way you relate to your clothes.

Making sense of the harmful effects that clothes have on the planet

80% of a textile product's total environmental and climate impact occurs during manufacturing. For example, between 7,000–29,000 litres of water are used in the production of textiles and the chemical consumption varies between 1.5–6.9 kilos per kilo of textile produced.

A Swede buys an average of 14 kilos of textiles and throws away 7.5 kilos per year. Of what is thrown away, about 60 percent is something that could have been used again. Consumption of only new clothes accounts for three percent of the total carbon footprint of the average Swedish person. That is almost half of the carbon impact left by air travel!

So, what can you do about it?

First of all, the experts recommend simply taking better care of the clothes already in your possession. Some garments do not need to be washed too often, as they actually wear out this way. Just air them out.

If a button drops then learn how to sew it back on. And best of all, resort to tailors if you are thinking of larger modifications. Old clothes can get a fresh new look by adding a seam, cutting off a collar or sewing on a belt.

OK, but let’s say you’ve really grown tired of your clothes and want to try out something different. Notice how we said ‘different’ rather than ‘new’? That is one key to a different perspective. Welcome to the exchange or swapping economy.

You could arrange an exchange of clothes with your friends, or with an online group. Or you could even donate or sell the used clothes. Feel the power of giving, be on the supply side yourself.

And yes, there are times you are definitely in the demand sector. How about you try out second-hand stores? Those are ever more prominent in European cities. Plus they give you the chance to spot some rare finds from vintage and retro styles. Plus we all know by now that fashion trends are circular, too.

Now and then, though, you’d like to treat yourself to a new garment. In that case, why not choose fair-trade, organic, eco-labelled and recycled materials when you shop? You should also pay attention to quality and durability, this is where you get to develop customer loyalty for brands that show they do a good job and that they, too, care about our planet.

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