We all have a responsibility to shop wisely for a greener future, and hippies are already leading the world by example. Alternative brands are at the forefront of eco-friendly, ethical, and Fairtrade clothing production, and hippy clothes are becoming more commonplace and accepted – thanks in part to the rise and rise of music festivals and the freedom and individual style they celebrate.
Still, with mainstream media telling us to change our look every season, the world’s appetite for new togs is proving detrimental to the planet. It’s time to move away from ‘fast fashion’ – the idea that style is about short-lived trends – back to things we LOVE, and look great in, that don’t cost the earth.
Here’s our guide to staying green and gorgeous – hippy-style.
Step #1: Choose Wisely
WRAP, the British sustainability charity, reckons we’re chucking 350,000 tonnes of used clothes into landfill in the UK every year. And it’s not just clothing waste that’s the problem. New clothes are extremely resource-intensive to make, meaning that it’s even more important to move beyond the throwaway mentality. A new pair of jeans is 11,000 litres of water in the making – so choose your next pair wisely!
You may think the answer lies in wearing only natural fibres, because they biodegrade more quickly and are better for our water systems. It’s true that natural clothes are a fab choice for eco-conscious hippies. But we also need synthetic materials like viscose and acrylic – there simply isn’t enough wool, linen and silk to go around! Instead of boycotting manmade fabrics, choose ethical, fair trade clothing brands when it comes to synthetic staples such as fleeces and cardigans. Gorgeous Gringo is one of our faves for Fairtrade clothes in both pure cotton and plant-based semi-synthetic materials, like Rayon.
Step #2: Wash Less
Let’s wash at a lower temperature and, while we’re at it, let’s wash our clothes less. We know, we know – washing less is a bit of a hippy stereotype. But clothes that don’t come into direct contact with the skin, like jackets, coats and jumpers, don’t need to be washed every five minutes. Not only would this reduce the impact on the planet, but it would also help our favourite hippie clothes to last longer, too – especially if we’re using eco-friendly products such as soap nuts or green washing powder to do the laundry.
Step #3: Reuse and Recycle
Recycled materials – like these fleece lined wool tube gloves with recycled silk or this amazing recycled sari Gypsy wrap skirt – are great because extending the lifecycle of clothes is so important. The good folks at WRAP reckon that ‘extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints’.
Step #4: Choose Fairtrade Clothing
And let’s not forget to look at the human impact of fashion when we’re choosing new clobber. We ensure that our duds are made by happy, fairly-paid folk in a clean and safe working environment, and we never use child labour.
Looks like it’s down to us hippies to save the world again – one tie dye t-shirt at a time!
- Britten, F. (2016). How Green is Your Jumper? Sunday Times Style, pp.48-49.
- org.uk. (2016). Valuing Our Clothes | WRAP UK. [Accessed 20 Oct. 2016].