In the era of Fast Fashion, Black Friday binges, and trends as fleeting as a weekend fling, it's high time we ask ourselves: Just how many new pieces of clothing does one truly need each year? Or, more pointedly, how many new clothes per person are still climate-friendly? After all, fashion consumption can be both stylish and environmentally conscious. Here at SANVT, we're dissecting the climate impact of your fashion choices, not only revealing the ideal annual wardrobe additions but also highlighting the key qualities to look out for. "Buy less, choose better" is our mantra!
We're all well aware that the fashion industry ranks high on the list of the world's dirtiest endeavours – not just in terms of environmental and groundwater pollution but also in its ecological footprint, climate impact, animal cruelty, and the unfair labour practices starting from cotton farms and extending to chemical dye factories and sweatshops. So the less-than-glamorous consequences of the fashion world are not a secret anymore. Yet, despite our knowledge, many of us still succumb to the occasional impulse buy, grabbing a cheap Fast Fashion find here and there to satiate our consumer cravings. A harmless indulgence, right? Well, hold onto your fedoras because, on average, the German consumer acquires five new clothing items per month – that's a grand total of around 60 pieces annually, with a fifth of them rarely seeing the light of day! And the surge in online shopping is only fuelling this fast-fashion fire.
And let's be real: who on earth needs 60 new pieces of clothing every year? Most of us already have wardrobes bursting at the seams, with garments languishing in the shadows while we pile on the latest impulse buys. And eventually, those wardrobe mountains turn into textile waste mountains elsewhere. Approximately 4.7 kilograms of textiles per person end up thrown away in Germany every year – as if our clothes were disposable goods. That's a staggering 1.3 million tonnes of clothing annually discarded in German households alone!
And, unfortunately, the recycling attempts in the fashion industry aren't exactly winning any awards. More on that here.
The Climate Impact of Fashion
The problem is, the negative consequences of our fashion habits don't hit us directly – at least not yet. So far, it's been a case of "out of sight, out of mind." But every piece of clothing, especially those from Fast Fashion brands, comes with an invisible carbon footprint. The production, transportation, and lifecycle of clothing contribute to the climate crisis, which will eventually come back to haunt us all. Did you know for instance that the fashion industry is responsible for roughly 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions? Meanwhile, a whopping 20% of environmental emissions are generated post-purchase.
Discover tips on sustainable garment care to shrink your clothing's environmental footprint here.
Bidding Farewell to Disposable Fashion
The silver lining is that it's not too late to change our consumption habits and contribute to a positive shift in the fashion industry. And you don't need to become a radical minimalist or sacrifice your style. Instead of drowning in a sea of garments, treat your wardrobe as a meticulously curated collection. Before each purchase, ask yourself if you really need that new item and on what occasions you'll wear it – every piece should tell a story and add value to your life.
When it comes to the question of how many new clothes per year are still climate-friendly, opinions vary. Some experts advocate for 30, others for 10, and some for just 3 new items per year – underwear and socks excluded, as well as second-hand fashion.
Quality Over Quantity
But it's not just about embracing the "less is more" philosophy; it's also about choosing quality over quantity. Beyond reducing the number of clothing items purchased each year, it's about a broader shift in mindset. It involves critical questioning and awareness of the materials used, the production location, and the conditions under which the items were made. After all, every consciously chosen piece can play a small part in minimizing your environmental impact. Quality, sustainability of materials, fair and eco-friendly production, and the longevity of the product are therefore crucial.
Carbon-Neutral Production at SANVT
At SANVT we're on a mission to continually reduce our carbon emissions and offset unavoidable emissions. As a sustainable fashion brand, SANVT is carbon-neutral. Compared to conventional products, each of our items generates up to 50% fewer emissions and comes with a Carbon Label. This means you can see exactly how much CO2 was produced during the manufacturing of your favourite essential – and how much we compensated for it. Check our production related carbon emissions here.
In addition to offsetting 100% of our production emissions, we're committed to reforestation projects. Partnering with Eden Projects, we aim to make a positive impact on climate change and support some of the world's poorest regions. For every SANVT essential produced and sold, we therefore plant a tree. Because, let's face it, trees are the ultimate and most effective CO2 tacklers!
Learn more about Carbon Labels and how they could revolutionise our approach to fashion consumption here.
How many new clothes per year are still climate-friendly: The Verdict
Ultimately, how many new pieces of clothing you buy each year is entirely up to you. But one thing is certain: mastering the art of restraint in shopping is not just a slow fashion phenomenon; it's a form of climate activism. We don't always need to protest on the streets to contribute to positive change. Sometimes, all it takes is avoiding impulse buys, supporting sustainable and fair fashion brands, and reducing our consumption – all without sacrificing quality and style, of course. Keep an eye on your buying patterns and make conscious decisions to advocate for the climate agenda! Let's make the world a place where sustainability and style go hand in hand.