Data unveiled ahead of Earth Day 2021 shows Australians are contributing to the estimated 500,000 tonnes of waste clothing accumulated in Australia each year.
The overwhelming majority of Australians surveyed (70%) admitted to having bought clothes they’d never worn. What’s more, a concerning 56% admitted to having bought clothes which didn’t suit them, just because they were cheap.
This worrying trend is also coming with a guilty conscience – as over half of responders admitted to panic buying clothes which they then regretted.
“The data shows we still have a long way to go in order to empower ourselves to look and feel good – whilst crucially being mindful of our impact on the environment,”
says Lauren Di Bartolo, Founder of Australian Style Institute.
“At Australian Style Institute, I educate stylists to spot our clients’ negative behaviour cycles – such as repeatedly buying a similar garment, or walking into a store and panic buying an outfit which they’ll realistically never wear. This is the best way to start shopping mindfully and reducing our environmental impact,” Lauren adds.
‘Repeat buying’ is something which Di Bartolo has seen numerous times over the course of her 15-year styling career. Having studied human behaviour and worked the foundations of this into ASI’s styling courses, Lauren appreciates that the Reticular Activating System is behind this pattern – a filter which our brains naturally create to reinforce existing thought processes. This means we are naturally drawn to similar styles and colours rather than thinking more critically about whether a garment will actually serve us or benefit us more long term.
For consumers looking to start a sustainable fashion journey from this Earth Day 2021, Lauren recommends beginning with a critical look at what our needs are for a certain piece of clothing before we buy. “The more conscious we are as we shop, the better,” explains Di Bartolo. This involves considering what we’re buying for, what’s missing from our existing wardrobe and clarity on where we can find this – before we step out the door.
The data unveiled by Australian Style Institute has also highlighted a trend towards sustainable fashion, with 61% responders looking to purchase goods from brands which are more environmentally friendly. Almost half (46%) affirmed they do consider the environmental impact of clothes when they make a purchase.
“Fashion brands should take note of what consumers are asking for”, adds Di Bartolo. “There is a swell of consumers asking for better standards and more transparency. The future has got to be sustainable – there is no other option.”
Earth Day falls on 22 April 2021 and is considered one of the largest global movements on environmental action. More info at earthday.org
Australian Style Institute was founded in 2010 and now runs courses in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and online. Courses on offer empower students with everything they need to become successful professional fashion stylists, from personal styling to editorial, red carpet and more. For information on upcoming courses at Australian Style Institute, head to australianstyleinstitute.com.au