This weekend, Haim proved, once again, that a good outfit bears repeating. The sister trio performed at the Pitchfork Festival in matching Acne pant-and-blouse sets. The glittery sheer material was a fashionable and unexpected way to beat the sweltering heat. Also, the pants and tops can easily be separated and worn again for fancy dinners or '70s themed-parties, while the blouses could be worn with jeans for a casual vibe.
Haim’s outfit repeat got us thinking about the importance of re-wearing clothes, and it turns out that re-wearing a festival outfit is more important than we previously thought. Earlier this month a report from the London-based survey consultancy Censuswide looked at British shopping habits for the British charity Barnardo’s and “found that single-use outfits for music festivals, such as Glastonbury and Coachella, alone, account for approximately $307 million worth of items per year, or about 7.5 million outfits worn only once,” The Fashion Law reports.
A fashion industry report found that the close ties between the fashion industry and climate issues go deeper than just festival outfits: Single-use fashion can have serious negative environmental effects because the carbon footprint of wearing a garment once is unnecessarily high. According to a 2018 article from the United Nations Environmental Program, “The fashion industry produces 20 percent of global wastewater and 10 percent of global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping.” The article continued, “Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.”
To make matters worse, textile dyeing is the second-largest polluter of water globally, the U.N. Environmental Program reported. Plus, it takes approximately 2,000 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans. This is way too much water and waste to justify only wearing a garment once.
Why aren’t people re-wearing more of their festival outfits? According to The Independent, Censuswide found that, as a whole, “one in four of those surveyed would feel embarrassed wearing an outfit to a special occasion more than once.” This outlook is proliferated by social media, where outfit re-posts are avoided to maintain a certain grid aesthetic. But we think it should be the other way around: It’s more embarrassing to wear an outfit only once because it’s environmentally harmful.
While the low price point makes it financially viable to wear an outfit once, it’s environmentally unviable and catastrophic to do so. This means we have to change our outlook around fast fashion sooner than later. Do you have a festival fit that you’ve only worn once? Don’t fret (yet). Try re-energizing the outfit in question by dressing it up or down with different accessories. Think of it as the perfect opportunity to get creative and home in on your styling skills.
Another option is re-commerce programs, such as the outwear brand Arc’teryx “Rock Solid Used Gear,” which launched earlier this year. When you no longer want a garment from the brand, you can easily return it and they’ll resell it at a lower price point. Arc’teryx’s quality is super high, so you’ll definitely get more than a single-use out of their garments, but it’s nice to know that once you’re finished with their clothes they won’t end up in a landfill. Plus, their pants, pullovers, and jackets (often spotted in streetwear fits!) are perfect for unpredictable festival weather conditions.
And of course, a tried-and-true method of curating environmentally friendly festival fashion: Shop vintage. This works especially well since many fast-fashion retailers are riffing on styles from the '60s and '70s for festival fashion. Might as well get it from the source and be eco-conscious while doing so!
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue