Clothes. We all wear them. They are an essential part of life. They define us and announce to the world through style, cut, colour, who we are and what we’re about. We love to dress our children in the latest cool, quirky patterns and colours. But children grow so fast we can barely keep up so we go for the cheap and cheerful option. They will have grown out of it by next week anyway, right? We throw things away and buy new rather than waste time repairing and mending. But do we give much thought to where all these clothes come from? Do we ever consider the real cost of clothing ourselves and our children in fast fashion? Do we talk about how damaging the fashion industry is to humanity and to the planet we call home? We should, and here’s why.
Environmentalists say the fashion industry - worth $3.3 billion in New Zealand and $3 trillion globally - is second only to oil as the dirtiest, most polluting industry. Cotton accounts for 10% of pesticide use and 22.5% of insecticide use worldwide. 17-20% of worldwide water pollution comes from dying and treating textiles. The world now consumes more than 80 billion pieces of new clothing each year, with more and more ending up in landfills. We buy 60% more clothing than we did just ten years ago, but it’s costing us less. We used to spend 17% of our annual expenditure on clothes, now it’s only 3%. The low price we pay here is putting someone into poverty somewhere else. And as consumers, we’re all part of it. In fact 75-80% of the environmental impact of clothing is from the consumer care stage. This is the bit we are intimately involved in, which means we can do something about it.
Buying pre-loved clothing is the easiest way to reduce your fashion impact. At Charlie & Flo’s you have time to think before you shop so you buy only what your kids need. We only stock premium quality clothing in fantastic condition which means it will last. Buying less and buying better quality are crucial elements in reducing your impact.
Shopping pre-loved, whether it be online at Charlie & Flo’s or in a physical store can be so much fun. You never know what amazing items you might find, and always at a fraction of the high-street price. Dressed from Charlie & Flo’s your kids will definitely look unique & funky. We only have one of each item, and much is from overseas
The good old 80/20 rule applies to our clothes too. We only wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. We have our favourite items that we love to dress our kids in and everything else languishes in the closet. Why not get that stuff back into circulation and turn it into someone else’s go-to outfit? Charlie & Flo’s can help here too. We love selling your children’s gently-worn clothing, sending it on it’s way to its next adventure.
“Buying pre-loved is the easiest way to reduce your impact, and it’s so much fun! You never know what you might find and your kids will always look unique”
Charlie & Flo’s have information about materials to help you make better choices, and details about how to best care for these materials. Caring for your kid’s clothing - washing it with eco-detergents and with similar colours and fabrics, drying & storing it carefully - are all ways to prolong the life of your clothes. This means that as your kids get older, their clothes are grown out not worn out & have plenty of adventure left in them.
The final stage of reducing your impact is when clothes come to the end of their time with you, and there are still lots of options here too. Items that still have life left can be swapped with or gifted to friends. You can donate to charity, or let Charlie & Flo’s take the hassle out of selling it for you. We are online with customers across New Zealand. We also support three local charities with clothing donations & tree planting.
If the clothes have reached the end of their life, their fabric can still be used. Material can be used to make new clothes or bags (like the free totes Charlie & Flo’s offer as part of their loyalty program) or toys or any number of things. The possibilities are endless. Commercial textile recyclers are the vultures of recycling & say that 95% of textiles can be recycled, even if it’s just into dishrags.
All of the options above are easy to implement and are great behaviours for your children to see, helping them to grow up as ethical consumers themselves. Together we can save the planet, one item of clothing at a time.
“Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” ― Anna Lappé.
It is your children that will inherit this world.
Charlie & Flo’s giving quality clothing another adventure AND saving the planet, one item of clothing at a time.
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