5 Simple Ways To Create A Greener Wardrobe

Posted: May 7, 2014

An eco-friendly wardrobe does not mean dressing up in leaves! Fashion consultant Babita Jaishankar gives us tips on creating a  green wardrobe that loves the Earth back.

When I told one of my friends that I was designing an eco-friendly collection to help people get a greener wardrobe, she laughed and asked if I was going to dress people up in leaves!

Why go green

Now, I hope I don’t have to elaborate on this – My 10 year old could give a lesson on how imperative it is that we incorporate nature’s ways into our modern lifestyle. As a designer, I am constantly reminded of my duty to do my bit towards the all-important cause of preserving the environment. To live a greener lifestyle, all you need to do is remember this simple mantra– ‘use less’.

 Here are a few things I tell my clients (and also practice myself, everyday) to help make the world a better place –

Shop with a plan

I know you are used to buying on impulse, but think of a wardrobe  fully stocked up with expensive clothes and still not having a thing to wear! First of all, make a list of basic things that you will need in your wardrobe. This gives you the flexibility to mix and match or complement other pieces in your wardrobe. In an earlier blogpost, I have put down ’10 must haves’ in one’s wardrobe. Know your body, lifestyle, career, and choose accordingly.

Know your body, lifestyle, career, and choose accordingly.

Invest in high quality and classic items, not necessarily high in fashion or in keeping with the current trend. You’ll pay more now, but wont have to replace those items soon, thus reducing wastage.

Think before you wash

Wear clothes that don’t need dry-cleaning. This lessens the use of harmful chemicals (commercial dry-cleaning uses chemical solvents to remove grease and dirt) which could make you sick if you’re exposed to them constantly. Certain clothes that need to be dry-cleaned can be hand washed in cold water and flat dried. Use phosphate-free and bio-degradable washing powder.

Use phosphate-free and bio-degradable washing powder.

Needless to say, normal detergents contain non degradable compounds, brighteners, and artificial fragrances that are toxic and harm the environment. Bio-degradable detergent will increase the life of the clothes and the washing machine as the residue from this powder won’t cause any rust in the washing machine, and will not leave rust spots on the clothes.

Change for good

A friend was wondering why all her expensive clothes have food stains on them. She is the busy mom of a toddler who keeps her on her toes, which often does not give her time to change her clothes. So, it is good to change into your home clothes before you get busy feeding, cooking or doing the dishes.

Use, reuse, and reuse again

From something ‘out’ to something very ‘in’! Refashion with a little alteration to something trendy – a dress to a skirt, tunic, or a shorter dress. Some  of us keep outfits just because of emotional attachments.

Some  of us keep outfits just because of emotional attachments.

Recently, I converted a vintage raw silk  kurti to a evening dress, just  had to fix some of the beads that were coming loose! I felt so proud of myself- as if I had restored an old historical monument.

Eco-friendly collection

My new collection will be an eco-friendly one. I plan to focus on using vintage fabrics, recycled fabrics, organic cotton, and organic silk (ahimsa silk ), with greater emphasis on handwork and use of vegetable dyes (eco friendly fabrics). Right now, there is a lot of hype around fabrics made of bamboo. Here is the problem – Bamboo plantations replace forests that are fast dwindling. Also, the processing of this fabric causes a lot of pollution. So it is important to read the label and to know what kind of fabric is used and what processing was done on it.

Pic credit: Donald Darrow (Used under a CC license)

Babita Jaishankar is the entrepreneur behind the brands WSol (Wardrobe Solutions) and BAJA. She is an accomplished fashion and image consultant, with a long list of achievements to her credit. Management training from IIM-B gives her an extra edge, not only to manage her ventures, but also to be an ideal corporate trainer and consultant for image management.

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