Extend the life of your clothes

Back to actions and tips

Extend the life of your clothes

Long story short, the world is making too many clothes and throwing them away too fast.

Have you ever been curious about your clothes? They have a whole life before us, and a whole life after we get rid of them that is often ignored. To give some perspective, a whopping 11 million items are binned each week in the UK! (Oxfam). 

Every stage of our clothes lives has an impact, from thousands of litres of water to grow cotton, to fabric dying processes that pollute waterways, carbon emissions from shipping them all over and the microplastics from washing them – to name just a few.

Slow fashion is a concept that represents producing clothing in a way that’s ethical, sustainable and respectful to people and the environment. It also covers ways we can extend the life of clothes like following ‘clever care’ washing guidance, repairing and rewearing so we get maximum value from the clothes we have.

All are great ways to reduce the environmental impact of our wardrobes, and probably save some cash too. Check out some ideas to get started with slower fashion below.

These tips are part of something bigger. At Hubbub, we want to see a world where everyone makes choices that are good for the environment. Check out what we do and how your actions add up.

The most sustainable thing to wear... is the thing you already own! The average person buys 30-40 new things every year, and we don't often take stock of how much we really own. Spending some time reorganising, rediscovering and restyling can bring back excitement you once had for your clothes, and probably save you money on some things you didn’t really need.  Here's 5 ways to rediscover your wardrobe.

One place clothes should never end up is in landfill, because they take a huge amount of resources to create and most modern textiles contain plastic fibres which take hundreds of years to degrade. If you have clothes that aren't your style or size anymore, check out these ideas to pass them on sustainably instead.

Got some old garms that are too worn to wear? Maybe they've got a tear or a stain, but the rest of the fabric could be used to live on as something else! Check out these 5 fabric upcycling ideas.

Every time we wash our clothes that are made from synthetic clothing (polyester and acrylic) microplastics (tiny plastic fibres) are shed from the fabric and rinsed out into our water systems, and eventually our oceans. Washing carefully, less often and on more gentle, cooler cycles can help our clothes last longer and reduce the impact of our laundry. Check out these tips for more.

Most holes, tears, buttons and zips on our clothes can be fixed - with a little know-how! Repairing our clothes is a great way to keep them in use. No worries if you've never picked up a sewing needle and thread, a lot of mends are really simple, or your local tailor and Sojo app might be able to help you out. Or why not get creative and try visible mends that embrace the damage rather than trying to hide it? Here's a tutorial for some simple mends you might need.

Learning more about how our clothes are made, and by whom, can help us understand their value better. There are some great documentaries that cover the issues in the fashion industry, or check out series 2 of our podcast Down To Earth, which explores everything fashion.

Someone stood observing a large installation about Hubbub's Bright Friday campaign.

Creating wider change

To see a bigger faster shift in our clothes and the conditions they’re made in, we need to call on businesses to change how they work. Check out the campaigns Fashion Revolution and Clean Clothes are working on, like the world’s first legally binding agreement on health and safety in the garment industry.

Making waves in the workplace

Ever been to a clothes swap? Everyone brings some pieces to trade, and can swap items to refresh their wardrobe for free. Why not introduce a clothes rail to swap and share in your workplace? Or head to a clothes swap event with your team for your next social? Or if you'd rather host one as an event, check out our guide to get started.

What happened when Hubbub tried it?

Back in 2016 we launched our very first ‘Bright Friday’: an alternative to the Black Friday shopping frenzy. We created a series of events, tips and pop-up installations to help people get their fashion fix, for less!

Want to stay in the loop? 

Sign up to our newsletters to be the first to know about new campaigns, launches, tips, research and environmental news. You’re in for a treat.