North Americans buy five times the amount of clothing than we did 25 years ago. Unfortunately, the majority of clothing we purchase fall into the category of “fast-fashion” and 85% of those pieces are disposed after a mere two wears. Buying good quality clothing that will last years, rather than weeks is key to reducing excess textile waste. You can’t always tell if a garment is good quality by the high price tag, so how do you know which clothing products that are quality versus fast-fashion?
Here are 5 guidelines to follow to help you find clothing that will last:
- Stretch the Fabric
Gently pull the fabric then release. This will allow you to see if the fabric will retain its shape or if it will easily become stretched out.
- Fabric Thickness
Unless your garment is meant to be opaque, you can determine how thick your fabric is by holding a garment upwards to see if the light penetrates through. The less light that is visible, the thicker the fabric.
Take a look at how your garment was sewn by checking whether the thread looks strong or if it is loose or has missed stiches. You can also gently tug on the seams to see if they hold securely.
- Fabric Pattern
If your garment has a pattern, it should always match up to the seams. If it doesn’t, it means it was created quickly.
- Buttons and Zippers
Check to see if the buttons on your garment fit the hole. If the holes are over-sized or a tight squeeze for the button, these are signs of fast-fashion. If your garment comes with a spare button, metal buttons, or a metal zipper imprinted with “YKK”, these are signs of quality as they are stronger and more expensive than using their plastic alternatives.
New fashions come and go monthly and trying to keep up-to-date with the magazines is an endless battle. Smart purchases not only will save your hard-earned dollars, but it also helps the environment by reducing virgin textile production. It can pay off in the long run to invest in good quality, versatile pieces that will last rather than replacing over and over. If you desire a change, try clothing swaps with your friends or family. It’s not a new item, yet it is new to you! One fiber at a time we can unravel the current textile problem together!