Looking for More Sustainable Fashion? Choose Natural Materials like Wool – and Shop Local.

In recent years, sustainability has become a hot topic – yet 64% of our clothes still contain plastic (utilising materials like polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide).  Quite apart from being produced from fossil fuels, these materials also shed plastic microfibres which eventually wind up in our oceans (and later research reveals we may even have them in our bodies).

Friends of the Earth produced a report on this, but frankly, there’s an easy fix for this worrying issue.  Shop for clothing made from natural products and shop local.  It supports home-grown jobs, it’s sustainable and it’s fashionable.

Wool is in many ways the perfect material.  It can be used to create clothes to suit all weathers and we don’t need to ship the resources from overseas to produce them.

However, the benefits don’t end there – home accessories made from wool often last so well they can be passed down generations – but if not, once the item is no longer wanted, the wool can be reused or recycled.  Sustainable fashion is all about the circular economy – a way of life that came naturally to our ancestors who knew no other way to live.

In Wales, we are blessed with a wide variety of sheep producing excellent wool – and you won’t have to knit yourself (although you can if you want to!), exceptional fashion designers like Celtic & Co are crafting fashionable clothing and genuine sheepskin rugs from Welsh flocks that look great and don’t come with an uncomfortable back story.

If we are to be truly circular, fashion buyers need to factor in issues like transport and this means reconsidering our choices in a world of global marketing.  It’s all well and good supporting well-marketed brands that claim to use sustainable production methods but if it’s shipped from halfway around the world, it’s not good for the planet – and there’s probably a locally made alternative.

Celtic & Co’s home-grown sheepskin boots are a great example.  Every bit as fashionable as their Aussie counterparts, this popular range doesn’t come with the huge carbon footprint of being shipped around the globe.  The company work with farms to ensure a high standard of animal welfare, there is a wide choice of designs, the boots look great and the quality is second to none.

It’s a fashion product you can feel good about choosing, but fashion isn’t the only area where our shopping choices make a difference.  Long term we don’t know what the impact of plastic pollution will have on our environment, it’s only been around since 1862 and it’s a finite resource that won’t be around forever, but as it doesn’t disintegrate, who knows how long the impact will last?

Maybe going back to the natural, sustainable way our ancestors lived is the answer – and until we figure out the ultimate way to tackle the plastic problem, we can all play our part by shopping more mindfully.  That isn’t a bad thing for us either – after all, who doesn’t love a luxurious sheepskin rug or keeping your feet snug in a pair of warm, fluffy boots?