Ms Xingyun Shen, country coordinator of Fashion Revolution Singapore – a global group that calls for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry – suggested that people reconsider how they want to relate to their clothing.
What would happen if clothes were not as cheap or readily accessible as they are now, she asked.
“How would we be shopping or acquiring ‘new’ clothes? The first place we would probably be looking at is our wardrobes,” she said, adding that people could also look at friends’ and family members’ wardrobes.
“Can we borrow and swap clothing from our circle of friends and family? Can we ask our local seamstresses and tailors to fix a split seam or alter something to fit our bodies again?”
ALTERNATIVES TO BUYING
Renting and swapping clothes is growing in popularity and acceptance by consumers in their choice of fashion, said Ms Carolyn Poon, sustainability director at the Textile and Fashion Federation, Singapore.
These alternatives to buying clothes make the “take-make-dispose” linear fashion economy more circular, she said.
“This is the most direct way renting and swapping help the environment. They extend the lifetime use of clothes that are already produced and consumed,” she said.
Style Theory, which offers customers subscription-based plans for renting clothes, has more than 200,000 registered users, said its founder Raena Lim.
The firm has done more than 2.3 million rentals and saved more than 600,000 preloved designer wear from “prematurely entering landfills” in the span of five years, she said.
Sustainability is one of the main pillars driving the firm, Ms Lim added.
“We know that 60 per cent of clothing produced ends up in the landfill every year. With the rental model, we have shown that items are kept longer within the fashion ecosystem, which reduces the need to overproduce.”
An item is rented an average of 30 times each, while an item in a women’s wardrobe is used far less, she said.