How To Build A Sustainable Wardrobe In 2019

In Partnership With MR PORTER – Words by Christian Allaire

By now, you’re officially in the groove of the new year: perhaps you’ve acquired a personal trainer, partaking in Dry January, or even vowed to dress smarter in 2019. But a crucial resolution that should be top of the list for us all? Practising guilt-free shopping. That is, supporting menswear brands that are reducing their ecological footprint and embracing sustainable business models. Luckily, it’s never been easier to find environmental responsibility in fashion. Affordable, contemporary and luxury labels are catching on to the idea and finding innovative ways to cut down on waste, whether by developing new, innovative materials, or revamping their production process to ensure recycling and reusing is a daily mandate.

Below, MR PORTER shows us five easy ways to make your wardrobe more sustainable this year.

01. BUY THE RIGHT MATERIALS

Reading the fine print on a garment can have a big payoff. Yes, traditional cashmeres or silks are enticing, but fashion labels are developing less-wasteful fabrics that feel just as luxurious. Stella McCartney, for instance, has developed its own regenerated cashmere, which is made from post-factory waste in Italy. Cashmere has the highest environmental impact out of raw materials, roughly 100 times the environmental impact of wool. Vegan leathers are also on the rise: the leather-goods brand Matt & Nat makes its bags with it and even lines its minimalist styles with recycled plastic bottles.

 

02. START FROM THE FEET UP

Investing in enduringly stylish (not to mention durable) shoes that will last for decades is one of the smartest shopping moves you can make. Why buy and throw away a pair every year when you can simply shell out the cash for something that lasts? Plus, it doesn’t have to mean buying something high-end – there are many eco-minded footwear brands that are quite affordable, too. Take the French sneaker brand Veja – it makes use of organic materials such as cotton and rubber and puts fair-trade conditions into effect. Plus, the shoes are super sleek, too. 

03. FOCUS ON THE WHERE AND HOW, NOT WHAT

When shopping, it can be easy to impulse buy a new piece based on a “want” versus a “need”, but if one focuses on where a garment is made and how it’s made, shopping sustainably can be easier than you think. A little research goes a long way and there are lots of cool brands out there that are forthcoming about their backstories and manufacturing processes. Taylor Stitch, based in San Francisco, overhauled its business model in 2017 and has since saved 673,000 gallons of water from using 100 per cent organic denim. The label also fabricates its collections using recycled fibres, responsible hemp and upcycled yarns. Alternatively, try The Lost Explorer, founded by British environmentalist and explorer Mr David de Rothschild. This is a lifestyle brand that prides itself on green innovation and MR PORTER stocks its all-natural grooming kit.

 

 

04. DON’T DISCOUNT FAST FASHION

A common misconception about shopping with the environment in mind is that it comes with a heftier price tag. Sure, some brands charge a higher premium for their products – favouring a more mindful construction instead of cost-cutting techniques makes for a more expensive production. But fast fashion and high-street brands are practicing sustainability in their own way, too, and you can do your part without breaking the bank. H&M annually releases its Conscious Exclusive collection using sustainable materials; last year, more than 60 companies, including Zara, Asos and Target, pledged a commitment to repurposing and reusing textiles. It just takes a little more due diligence to find those pieces in their stores, or on their sites. If you have a little more money to spend, consider Outerknown, a brand set up by the soon-to-retire pro surfer Mr. Kelly Slater. He is committed to repurposing materials such as fishing nets for the brand’s eco-conscious, casual pieces.’

 

 

5. INVEST WISELY

When in doubt, another way to avoid thoughtless consuming is to just buy sensibly. If finding sustainable styles that fit your wardrobe’s aesthetic just isn’t happening in one shopping trip, consider the art of two-in-one buying. A piece such as Yves Salomon’s parka features a detachable shearling hood, meaning it can effortlessly transition from winter to spring. Balenciaga’s convertible sweatpants also turn into shorts with the ease of a zipper. It’s all about buying less and getting more out of each purchase.

 

 

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Jay is a writer and content producer for The Versatile Gent.