You may not have managed to learn a foreign language, get that kitchen extension done or written the first chapter of your own novel, but we’d hazard a guess that well over half of you have tackled one major mission that we think you should give yourself credit for: the wardrobe clear out.
One of life’s most daunting housekeeping tasks, if you’ve had at least one wardrobe cleanse over the last few months then we think you deserve a pat on the back. What always starts as ‘just a quick cull’ of ‘a few pieces’ is never that. Three hours later and we’re all buried beneath a mountain of clothes that not only make us shudder due to the sheer amount of money we must’ve spent on them, but also because of the totally unnecessary damaging impact this sartorial greed has on our planet.
As lockdown restrictions continue to have gentle lifts every few days, it seems as though – touch wood – a relatively normal way of life may well be on the horizon.
But looking back over the last few months spent in isolation, have you actually managed to tick off any of those tasks that you set yourself when you first shut your door to the rest of the world way back in March? Sure you’ve made banana bread (several, in fact), mastered the art of the Dalgona coffee, watched Tiger King, Normal People and Too Hot To Handle and spent more time talking to extended family members – albeit virtually via mass Zoom quizzes – than you have in the last five years combined, but have you *actually* ticked anything off the quarantine bucket list?
We all know that fashion is reportedly the world’s second most polluting industry after oil, but shopping for ‘sustainable’ fabrics isn’t enough. We need to tackle our obsession with quantity as intensely as we need to tackle the quality. Who needs eight white t-shirts anyway? And don’t get us started on the endless pairs of jeans stuffed into your drawers. A tightly-edited capsule wardrobe is all anyone should really have.
But now that you’ve acknowledged your surplus clothing and divided up what you want to keep and what you don’t, are you armed with bin bags full of clothes that you just need to get rid of?
With roughly £140 million worth (350,000 tonnes) of clothing going to landfill in the UK every year, may we beg that you don’t add to the problem. According to Fashion Revolution, synthetic fabrics like polyester and lycra can take hundreds of years to biodegrade – a process which itself releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.
Instead it’s wise to recycle your clothing, and TRAID is a charity making that easier than ever.
Offering free(!) home clothes collections*, upcycling and recycling is the very essence of this brand, who work in 191 boroughs and districts in the UK and divert around 3,000 tonnes of clothes from landfill and incineration every year.
“Clothes are given to TRAID as cast offs and waste which we transform into high quality stock for our charity shops,” explains the charity. “TRAID hand sorts donations at our warehouse in London selecting stock for our shops based on condition, quality and style. It’s a major process which sees our team sorting, hanging, tagging, pricing and merchandising around 11,000 garments per week to reuse and resell.”
“The funds we raise in our shops from stopping clothes from being thrown away are committed to global projects improving conditions and working practices in the textile industry.”