Laura Opazo educates the wider public about sustainable fashion, she is also the host of the channel Dcasa, she collaborates across different media, she is the author of the book “Armario sostenible” (Sustainable Wardrobe in English) and an Instagramer https://www.instagram.com/laura_opazo/
As we know that environmentally respectful fashion is something that interests you, here at Sinplástico we have wanted to talk to her, so that she can tell us her secrets to having a sustainable wardrobe.
Would you like to here about them? Well, here they are:
What does it mean to have a sustainable wardrobe?
When I refer to a sustainable wardrobe, I am not talking about whether the items of clothing are manufactured100% sustainably, because we all have a past, and our clothing no doubt reflects that, and therefore our wardrobe is a collection from all over the place: second hand, hired items, clothing from sustainable brands and not so sustainable garments…
The important thing is that our wardrobe is made up of garments that have a place in our day to day lives, that we use them and that we take care of them.
Another important part of it all is creativity.
Often we buy things because we go to a shop and they offer us a combination of matching items that go well together, but then later you go home and you realise that you already had a collection of similar items. Using your creativity every day will help you to put together some outfits that work with what you already have, without having to buy a thing.
How can we take care of our clothes so that they last us for years?
One thing I recommend, is not to be constantly washing your clothes . If you don’t work in a mine, you most likely don’t need to wash your clothes everyday. Maybe you wash that t-shirt you had on underneath, but not the jumper. We can simply air the outer garments.
Our clothes’ fibres suffer a lot when we wash them, especially when we use strong detergents.
We also often don’t look at the garment labels, the composition of our clothes is important in order to be able to take care of an item properly. If it says “dry-clean”, it’s possible that you try washing it by hand at home and you ruin it. So, if we are not going to be able to take good care of an item, it would be better if we don’t buy it.
Another tip is to repair your clothing if it has a tear or a hole, instead of throwing it away.
Often people say that having a sustainable wardrobe is more expensive, is that true?
Well that depends, what is it that is expensive? The problem is, that the low-cost industry has established a very low price point. We think that a white tshirt is worth €x, because that’s what the low-cost fast fashion industry tells us.
That way, people believe that sustainable fashion is taking advantage of them because everything that is not low-cost seems really expensive.
The thing is, that we also want our salaries to be the same as in Norway, but we want to pay very little for everything. This is what affects the working class population: if we don’t value the work of others, others are not going to value the work we do.
It’s also important to bear in mind that there are all different kinds of clothing ranges within sustainable fashion, some more and some less affordable.
When we talk about second hand clothing, it is interesting to notice that in environmental circles there are 2 trains of thought : on one hand, there are those who defend second hand as the most sustainable way of dressing, and on the other, those who believe that second hand encourages people to get rid of clothes without thinking about it too much. What are your thoughts on this subject?
We as a population have been supporting and promotong the current consumer model since the 50’s, and it is not going to change overnight, it is going to take time to adjust.
The idea behind second hand clothing is not to create this cycle of never-ending consumption. You may have simply bought yourself an item of clothing 5 years ago and now that you no longer like or need it and you want to resell it. It that case the item is resused.
It’s another thing altogether if you don’t change your attitude towards shopping and you just keep buying things and later you donate them to make yourself feel better. This is not sustainable.
When I speak of intelligent and conscious consumption, I am referring to purchases that rely on previous thought. I understand that after giving it some thought, you generally won’t go to a low-cost shop buy one of these and one of those and think: “I’ll just resell it later”.
You have spoken about the importance of taking care of our clothes so that they last. However, when we put the TV on, the presenter of our favourite programs never wears the same thing twice. Do you think that these images affect us when it comes to looking at our own wardrobes?
It’s terrible. I am not royalist, but sometimes you hear people criticise Letizia for wearing the same thing twice: May she wear things multiple times, I say.
The media sends out these messages telling us that “this is what we should be wearing”. I think that a good way to avoid this, is to control your exposure.
Everyday we receive 6,000 advertising hits. How can we avoid that? Well, by unsubscribing from those newsletters that are constantly telling us to buy clothes, by not buying so many magazines, by hiring garments instead of buying them…
What tips would you give to someone who wants to start dressing more sustainably?
One tip is that they look at their wardrobe, not just following Marie Kondo – putting everything in order, but rather as a way of analysing their current situation.
Look at the items you have and realise that the ones you want to keep represent good decision making: they fit you well, they are good quality and you have had them a long time… Take this common denominator and use it to help you better purchasing decisions in the future…
Another trick is to calculate the return you get for your investment: what did the garment cost you and how many times have you warn it (approximately)? Perhaps a jumper that you bought 5 years ago cost you €150, but you have worn it once a week since you bought it. It’s going to be a cheap investment.
I would also recommend that you make yourself responsible for worn out clothing items that you want to get rid of. Don’t just throw them in the clothing bin: use them for cleaning or dusting or for refilling ottomans…
Lastly, use your wardrobe in a way that you rotate your clothing regularly, so that you always know what you have.
And most importantly, take good care of your clothes.
Thanks a lot Laura. It has been a pleasure talking to you about sustainable fashion.
How about you, do you dress sustainably? Tell us about your tricks for lengthening the life of your clothes in the comments below.