Britons binned clothes worth £12.5 billion last year, as the rise of throwaway fashion led to 300,000 tonnes of textiles ending up in landfill.
Research has found that, on average, each person puts 8 items in the bin - meaning that every household wastes clothes with the purchase value of almost £500 per year.
Horrifying fact: it takes 5000 gallons of water to manufacture just one T-shirt and a pair of jeans!
Everyone can start making a difference. It is our responsibility to do something about this shocking situation - both for environmental and social reasons.
How do we at Red Leopard fit into this? And how can we help?
Because we place so much emphasis on defining what works and what does not, our clients are simply far less likely to throw anything away.
We have been advising people for years about buying quality not quantity - and in the right colours and shapes for them.
We follow the principle of “the quality remains long after the price is forgotten” (Aldo Gucci, 1938). So true - not just with regard to fashion, but also holidays and experiences. Those extra few pounds spent on upgrading anything are always worth it!
The Red Leopard team says “when you really understand what looks right on you, you can invest in more expensive clothes with confidence, and you are therefore going to keep and enjoy them longer”
We love the idea of recycling clothes and accessories. When we help our clients detox their wardrobes, nothing goes to waste. Some things get altered to give them a new life, others go to friends and family - or to a charity such as Smartworks, who help women get back into the workplace by giving them good quality clothes for interviews.
A few expensive mistakes will find their way into top-end second hand shops, such as Sign of the Times in Chelsea.
We also love the idea of buying sustainable brands - there are many small UK based companies, such as Mayamiko, Komodo, Thoreau and Ilk & Ernie - just to mention a few.
Should we not buy high street? Actually some large fashion companies are making efforts towards sustainability:
H&M talk about sustainability more than any other fast fashion brand. They produce a Conscious collection, made using sustainable and recycled materials, and they also create glossy ad campaigns to encourage garment recycling. They have a voucher programme offering discounts to those who donate their old clothes at its stores.
Zara has a repair and re-use programme called Closing the Loop - but frankly its business model is based on an unsustainably high turnover rate - inherently harmful to both people and planet.
Overall, we feel that if one can try and avoid buying from huge chains we should - and somehow the pleasure of buying mass-produced is not great….it just doesn’t feel special enough. We want people to love shopping, love what they buy and enjoy wearing their clothes (which of course look perfect on them!)