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TikTok's new sustainable clothing trend

Words by Smiley Team

Whether you use the platform or not, it is no secret that TikTok has taken the world by storm and continues to influence trends far and wide.

Whilst many users may stick to dance trends, there are plenty of content creators using the app to raise awareness for different global issues including environmental action and climate change.

Sustainable fashion is a topic that has proven endlessly popular, with the hashtags #SustainableFashion and #sustainablefashion tips garnering 2.2 billion and 12.3 million views respectively.

Creators have raised awareness of the environmental impact of fast fashion, the dubious practices of international clothing brands, and shared tips for shopping sustainably.

One trend taking over TikTok and the wider internet, is something you may have heard of called the Capsule Wardrobe (or Closet if you’re American).

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The capsule wardrobe hashtag already has 263.8 million views, with the majority of the most viral videos posted in the last few months. So what is a capsule wardrobe and why are people getting invested in it – or more accurately, making the investment in it?

In simple terms, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes that are all interchangeable, to maximise the amount of outfit possibilities with a limited number of items. To complement each other, the items in a capsule wardrobe will often be similar colours or tones, usually fairly neutral.

The term may be garnering new attention online but the concept actually dates back to the 1970s, promoting a minimalist wardrobe.

There are obvious benefits to a capsule wardrobe such as making it easier to choose an outfit in the morning, and having clothes that match, but recent discussion is massively centred around sustainability. The premise of a capsule wardrobe is to invest in quality, timeless pieces that you will wear both, frequently, and for many years.

So whilst a capsule wardrobe will also save you money in the long run, it will benefit the environment and lessen the impact of fast fashion.

Fashion for our future

Fast fashion is a relatively modern phenomenon that has attracted heavy criticism in recent years for its exploitation of workers and extensive damage to the planet.

The fast fashion industry produces over 92 million tonnes of waste every year, and clothing sales have doubled to 200 billion units a year, while the average number of times an item was worn decreased by 36% overall.

As the younger generation becomes more concerned about their environmental impact, the popularity of the capsule wardrobe is truly taking off on TikTok and beyond.

Whilst it is important to note that fast fashion serves a purpose and not everybody can invest in a capsule wardrobe, those who can have plenty of advice to turn to.

Here are Smiley News’ top tips for anyone interested in sustainable fashion:

Charity shops - most of us don’t have the budget for investing in high quality sustainable brands, so charity shops can be a great place to find bargain basics that you can incorporate into your wardrobe.

The 30 wears test - this is a well-known purchase test to use before buying clothes. Will you wear it at least 30 times? If the answer is no, such as an outfit for a one-off event, consider looking in charity shops or on apps such as Depop.

Secondhand apps - Depop, Vinted, eBay, Etsy… we’re sure you’re familiar with at least one of these platforms and they’re a great place to find unexpected gems.

Do your research - if you do have the money to make a special one-off purchase of a higher quality item, make sure you research the brand to make an informed decision.

Invest in clothes you can wear in different seasons - this won’t apply to everything in your wardrobe, but some items can be layered up in the colder seasons, stretching their use even further!

Inspired to act?

WATCH: Watch our Smiley Talk on sustainable fashion with panel experts

SUPPORT: Fashion Revolution is a nonprofit and global movement of people who make the fashion industry work

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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