Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you can’t fail to be aware of the increasing momentum for stronger climate action. Two spokespeople in particular, at polar opposite ends of their respective lifespans, are doing their best to make sure we all understand exactly where the world is headed. Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough, in their own distinctive ways, are spearheading campaigns for change. There are several ways in which we as individuals, companies and corporations of all shapes and sizes can make important adjustments that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste in order to slow down global warming. One such way is through the clothes we choose to buy and wear. Back when disposable income wasn’t really a thing most people had in spades, clothes had to last because you simply couldn’t afford to keep replacing them. Then came higher salaries, constant changing fashion, more choice and a hefty dose of ‘I want therefore I will have’ attitude. Buy for life garments became a thing of the past in favour of whatever happened to be the latest trend. Fortunately, with our growing awareness of how everything we consume impacts our environment, changes are afoot.
Buy for life garments equals less landfill.
It’s a sad fact that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Firstly, in the way that garments are made and, secondly, in the way in which they’re discarded. One example of the former is the huge amount of water required to grow cotton. The equivalent of about four years of drinking water for an average person is needed for the production of just one cotton T-shirt. Mind-boggling, isn’t it? Add to that the fact that cotton crops are sprayed with chemicals, electricity (probably from a coal or diesel generator) is needed to power the garment-making factories, and that the clothing is then transported by road, rail or air to stores around the world and one can only imagine the cost to the environment from just the cotton industry alone. In terms of the discarding of old clothes, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is either burned or ends up as landfill every SECOND and less than 1% of clothing is currently recycled into new clothes.
These are the sort of facts that are gradually filtering through to our psyche and making us generally more aware of what we purchase and how often. There is still a long way to go but the process has definitely begun, as we embrace changes that will have a positive effect on our environment and therefore our children’s and grandchildren’s future. We can’t do it without the fashion industry being on board too though, so what is a buy for life garment exactly? Simply put, it’s as the name implies: a long-lasting product that you only need to buy once in a lifetime. Of course, this isn’t always going to be possible but it’s an ideal to aim for. If it’s not feasible to buy something for life then durable garments are at least better than changing your wardrobe every few months. Certain clothing items are more suited to a one-off purchase, such as a buy for life ladies waterproof jacket. Get the right one and you shouldn’t ever need to replace it.
At Protected Species, we have created a range of waterproof, windproof and fully breathable lightweight raincoats and jackets that are not only stylish, sophisticated and ethically manufactured but are made to last a lifetime. We are passionate about guiding our customers away from fast fashion and a throwaway culture and offering them instead versatile and flattering ladies jackets that are manufactured to stand the test of time. The Rain Bomber is just one example of our range of womens waterproof coats with hoods. Another factor about today’s buy for life garments that we feel is important is that they should be able to travel well. We all go on a lot more jaunts these days and it’s important that our clothes arrive pretty much ready to wear rather than sporting a heap of creases. On that subject, the capsule wardrobe – first introduced in 1985 by Donna Karan – is making something of a resurgence, as it works in perfect tandem with our increased desire for owning garments for life while also encouraging us to buy the ones that will work well together, meaning that you don’t need to buy as many.
What does buy for life mean?
We’re far from being alone in promoting ethically-manufactured and environmentally-friendly garments. Several top designers have been channelling this concept for some time, showing us the way forward when it comes to buy for life garments. Vivienne Westward and Stella McCartney are two top names who are trying to minimise the impact on the environment in the manufacture of their designs. In 2010, Ellen MacArthur, a retired English yachtswoman, set up an eponymous environmental advocacy foundation with a mission to establish a circular economy. Laura Balmond, who leads the Jeans Redesign project (one of the many fashion brands and manufacturers who are working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation) states that, “Make Fashion Circular has three core ambitions – to ensure that all the inputs into the system are safe; that clothes are kept in use for as long as possible, and that at the end of their use, used clothes can be turned into new ones.”
It’s comforting to see so many companies with the same sound principals emerging, and to know that there is a growing appetite amongst the buying public for their products. We feel that this ethos will only continue to gain traction along with the collective desire for us all to do our bit for the planet.