Use and pro-longed use
Now we’re talking: How you can make a difference!
Here is the part where you as a consumer really can make a difference. Several life cycle assessments claim that it is actually the consumer phase that makes the biggest environmental and social impact, mainly because of our tendency to buy the heaps of cheap clothes produced at low cost by questionable practices that we discard way too soon – but also because we tend to over-wash, tumble-dry and iron those same clothes. Often because they are made of cotton which quickly becomes dirty, smelly or loses its form. While other materials like wool, modal and lyocell hardly ever seem to need to be washed. Even though you may actually wear them just as often. Just think how seldom you wash your twin-set compared to your t-shirts.
We tend to over-wash, tumble-dry and iron too much
So look at the label listing the materials before you buy. Also try to line-dry your clothes as often as possible, along with washing at lower temperatures. 30 degrees Celsius gets your clothes clean in most cases.
Who among us darns or repairs things any more? Who knows how to? According to a study at Nottingham Trent University a return to the sewing on buttons and stitching hems is needed to improve the sustainability of clothing. Maybe the company or store you bought the item from is willing to repair it for free? Ask! (Accepting a replacement is not sustainable, though it may be practical!)