Around 30% of clothes in UK wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year. All those clothes sitting there unloved.

We’re buying more than ever too – on average 13 items of new clothing every month! So how can we slow down our fast fashion habits? One good way is to value the clothes we have and wear them for longer.

Every new item of clothing we buy is adding to the overall carbon footprint of the fashion industry which is already very significant – around 10% of global carbon emissions.

You’ll see from the chart below that materials production so the growing of crops or making of synthetic materials that the vast majority of clothes are now made from is one of the biggest contributor of emissions.

What you do matters

It’s true. According to a recent report by Leeds University academic, Dr Mark Sumner, if we all extended the use of our clothes by just nine months, therefore delaying the purchase of new clothes, we could reduce the carbon footprint by 8%. So what would help us to wear our clothes for longer?

Top tips - Wearing your clothes for longer

Here are our top tips to help you extend the life of your clothes and want to keep wearing them for longer.

  1. Do the ‘will I wear it 30 times test’? So we’re starting pre-purchase. If you don’t think you’ll wear it this amount of times then don’t buy it. This particularly applies to buying new clothes which have a significant carbon footprint. Buying second-hand opens up more options but do you really want your wardrobe crammed full of things that aren’t quite right? You'll most certainly stop wearing them sooner.

The most sustainable item of clothing is the one already in your wardrobe.

  1. Organise your wardrobe. Arrange your clothes so you can see what you’ve got and what works together. It will make life in the mornings so much easier especially when you're in a rush. If you find things that you know you'll never wear again, take them to your local charity shop or clothing exchange or arrange a swap evening with your friends. You can find these on our Zero Waste Clothing map below.
  2. Repair/upcycle your clothes. Learn how to do some basic clothing repairs like sewing buttons back on, taking up hems, mending small holes. If you don’t fancy sewing, then do a quick de-bobble! You’ll be surprised at how many of your clothes you can get looking their best again after a de-bobbling session. Upcycling requires some sewing skills but once you've got them opens up a whole new world and means you can refashion your clothes instantly.

Check out the Habits for Life Love your Clothes sewing workshops open to people in Leeds. We've also got basic sewing videos on our website here.

4. Use our #ZeroWasteClothing map. If you need some help repairing or upcycling your clothes, then we've listed all the clothing repair shops on our map. You’ll also find places in Leeds to buy sewing equipment, secondhand and vintage clothes, plus clothes exchanges and sustainable fashion designers.

We hope our map and tips will help you to make more sustainable fashion choices in our city, breathe new life into the clothes your already own, and reduce the need to buy new clothes, helping the planet and your pocket.