Many millennials are turning away from short-lived apparel with the increased interest in sustainable fashion. Some are even seeking clothing that has been reused or recycled, so Kristine Nudds lists 6 ways to make your fashion last longer.

We probably don’t need to remind you that 99,000 tonnes of textiles go into landfill each year (and that’s just Hong Kong) and that the fashion industry is guilty of being one of the planet’s biggest polluters; that’s without mentioning the additional issue of poor labour practices. But we’re all about positive solutions! How can we give our wardrobes a fashion fix and be kind to our planet at the same time?

Your clothes say a lot about who you are. They create a positive statement. There are plenty of habits that we can embrace that will not only make your fashion last longer but they’ll also give your wardrobe a personality that it didn’t have before. Who wants to wear the same thing as everyone else? We all want to show our individuality, right? Well, to create your own one-off style really isn’t as hard as you think and shouldn’t this be the true meaning of fashion forward?

1. Fast Fix

Just because it’s broken doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed! In Hong Kong we are really lucky to have an abundance of tailors and seamstresses on our doorstep. Don’t throw clothes away just because the zip has broken or a seam needs stitching. For a few dollars you can salvage your clothes and have them back on top form.

But remember, your tailor is your wardrobe wizard! If this season’s hemlines are a little shorter, have yours taken up to last another season, change the sleeve length, or add a few darts here and there to create a more tailored result. Tailors and seamstresses love the opportunity to use their imagination. Together you can create a whole new look. How satisfying!

2. Do-it-yourself Upcycling

If this gets your creative juices flowing then you need to head straight to Geneva Vanderzeil’s blog, A Pair and A Spare. Take one basic fashion item and Geneva’s magic touch will show you how to easily turn this into an attention-grabbing on-trend item, with simple step-by-step instructions. Inspired by the latest catwalk trends, check out Geneva’s blog right now to find out how to deconstruct jeans, create over-size cuffs, make your own open back shirt, as well as easy tips to design your own fashionably fantastic jewellery, bags and other accessories. The opportunities are endless.

3. Washing Instructions

We accept that there are occasions, especially living in a hot climate, where your clothes definitely DO need washing after wearing. And we’ll leave that to your better judgment. But actually, most of the time, our clothes don’t need washing after each wear, which creates a double bonus for the environment – you can reduce the energy and water spent washing clothes, reduce dependence on dry cleaning and all the nasty chemicals that go with it, and at the same time clothes will last longer which avoids the need to throw away.

Ensure clothes are folded or hung carefully after each wear, don’t forget the dehumidifying sachets and your clothes will stay looking great for longer. If possible, opt for charcoal-based dehumidifier sachets for reduced environmental impact. Of course, if you do have to wash your clothes, always opt for the energy-efficient and clothes-kind 30°C cycle and try to avoid using the dryer.

4. Second Chance

Rather than sending to landfill, donate unwanted clothes to charity or sell via the increasing number of sophisticated second-hand stores that are popping up. Or even turn it into an event and host a clothes-swapping party. We all have a stash of clothes at the back of the wardrobe that we don’t wear. Invite your friends over; everyone brings 4-6 unwanted items in good condition; and everyone chooses 4-6 new items to take home! It’s a win-win.

Check out Green Ladies, The Closeteur and Mademoiselle Chic for ways of donating and/or selling your quality second-hand items.

There are clothes recycling bins all over Hong Kong these days. See this link for details of government locations operated by Friends of the Earth (HK), Salvation Army, Conservancy Association and Christian Action.

5. Big Spenders

It’s a small point with big impact! It’s worth spending MORE money on quality wardrobe basics and capsule items that can be mixed and matched, accessorized, dressed up and dressed down. These are the pieces you want to last the longest. And it shows – better tailoring and better quality materials that look good for longer and are better for the planet.

So invest more in that little black dress, great jeans, smart casual trousers in neutral tones, a good shirt, jacket, simple skirts etc. It pays off; they’re here to stay!

6. Accessorize

Give new life to an old item by getting bright and bold with fabulous accessories. Swap the belt on a plain dress with a bright scarf. Don’t just wear one bangle, wear a whole bunch of bangles. Treat yourself to an eye-catching pendant. These are all things that will add impact to your look, without impacting the environment.

When it comes to fashion and creativity, we are surrounded by the opportunity to make a positive mark and look good doing it! We’d love to hear your stories and top tips for giving fashion a new lease of life at the same time as respecting the life of our planet.

Find out more about Kristine at



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