Waste not, want not – how to cut your clothing glut

Doing something revolutionary to reduce global waste can be something as simple as deciding to never buy another garment, ever.

Now, without judging anyone who reads this, I am sure few would take this drastic step to save the world.

But it is what actor and activist Jane Fonda did last year when she was arrested five times for taking part in climate change protests at the United States Capitol in Washington DC.

It is all part of a rethink about fashion and its effects on the environment, which has jump-started a new trend where designers are thinking sustainability, going as far as creating couture that comes from plastic debris dredged from our seas.

Other high profile folk like former US First Lady Michelle Obama have stepped out in re-purposed vintage outfits to reduce their carbon footprint.

Not Fonda, she went for a full frontal attack, and no-one has seen her in a store, breaking her vow to stop her wasteful consumerism.

The activist, 82, was arrested almost every weekend, along with other actors, celebrities and climate change activist involved in the protest dubbed Fire Drill Fridays late last year.

On the first occasion, Fonda had stern words for those who wantonly wear a path to and from stores to buy more clothes, for no good reason, other than to impress.

Her protests in the 70s that got her arrested were against the Vietnam war, but her latest campaign is aimed at wasteful consumerism in our troubled world.

Fonda told the crowd that she was done with buying clothes that she’d wear just once, claiming her last purchase was the coat she’d been wearing to protest each Friday.

“You see this coat? I needed something red and I went out and found this coat on sale. This is the last article of clothing that I will ever buy,” she told the crowd.

“When I talk to people about, ‘We don’t really need to keep shopping. We shouldn’t look to shopping for our identity. We don’t need more stuff,’ then I have to walk the walk too,” she said. “So I’m not buying any more clothes,” she was quoted by wmagazine.com as saying.

File photographs show Fonda sticking to her guns by wearing the same sequined outfit to two functions just days apart, the Glamour Women of the Year and the GCAAP Empower shindig in Atlanta.

Other actors have gone another route, supporting fashion that is sustainable, which has led to a flurry of fabrics on the ramp that leave little or no mark on our planet.

Actor Emma Watson, who addressed the UN HeForShe campaign for women’s rights last year has also launched collaborative garments, according to The Guardian.

Pharrell Williams also waded into the green fashion space with his RAW for the Oceans range, featuring denims and other apparel made from plastic that has been spun into fibres which are then woven and dyed.

Drastic steps, some might say, but the reality is that consumers are becoming more discerning when buying new threads, as the pressure on the environment is in clear signt.

And it does give pause for thought: Am I adding to the pollution problem by making poor or needless clothing purchases?