Sustainable style for homeschoolers: Your guide to ethical fashion

3 min read   •   July 5, 2023
Elmien Ackerman

Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for between 2% and 8% of global emissions? A growing movement now aims to eliminate fast fashion and promote ethical choices. Let’s make a difference and see how homeschoolers can jump on board and support sustainable fashion practices.

Fast fashion vs sustainable fashion

First, let’s look at the difference between fast fashion and sustainable fashion. Fast fashion refers to when brands aim to quickly bring new clothing designs to the market, often imitating high-end fashion trends seen on runways. This encourages consumers to regularly update their wardrobes to keep up with the ever-changing fashion scene. Fast fashion prioritises affordability through cost-cutting measures such as outsourcing production to countries with lower labour costs, using inexpensive materials, and minimising quality control.

On the other hand, sustainable fashion includes a range of practices that aim to minimise the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry. This includes:

  • ethically sourcing materials,
  • treating workers fairly,
  • reducing waste, and
  • promoting longevity in clothing.

Join the movement

By making small changes, homeschoolers can join the sustainable fashion movement. Here are a few tips on how to minimise your impact on the environment and cut down on waste while still looking your best:

  • Research brands and labels – Encourage learners to find fashion brands that prioritise sustainability and ethical practices. Read labels and understand the materials used in clothing, favouring natural and eco-friendly fibres such as organic cotton, hemp, linen, or recycled materials.
  • Thrifty treasures – Embrace second-hand style and shop at thrift stores. You will be surprised at the wide range of pre-loved clothing options. Plus, your learners are sure to find pieces to show off their unique style at an affordable price.
  • Learn basic sewing skills – Teach your learners basic sewing skills, empowering them to repair and mend their clothes. By extending the lifespan of garments through simple alterations or fixing minor damages, you can reduce waste and help your learners develop valuable life skills.
  • Invest in quality clothing – When purchasing new items, prioritise quality over quantity. Invest in durable, timeless pieces that can be mixed and matched to create various outfits. Choosing versatile clothing reduces the need for constant replacements and contributes to a more sustainable wardrobe.
  • Consider DIY and upcycling projects – Why not try do-it-yourself (DIY) and upcycling projects to promote creativity and sustainable fashion practices? Encourage your learners to revamp old garments, create their own designs, or personalise clothing using eco-friendly techniques such as natural dyes or fabric painting. These activities foster a sense of ownership, develop valuable skills, and promote resourcefulness.

Fashion-forward and eco-friendly

This year, Impaq’s Grade 8 Creative Arts learners joined the sustainable fashion trend and were tasked with creating a wearable item of clothing from recycled materials. Education specialist, Lizelle Jordaan, explains the practical task: “Learners could make a shirt, dress, skirt, pants, shoes, or hat, as long as it is a wearable item of clothing”.

Our learners got creative in producing fashion-forward but eco-friendly pieces. Take a look at some of their unique garments below.

Lizelle also added her tips on how learners can conserve natural resources. “Donate items instead of throwing them away,” she advises. This ensures that clothing can be repurposed, ultimately having a positive impact on sustainable fashion. “Teach others to recycle,” Lizelle adds. Sharing your knowledge about recycling with your family and friends is just one part of sustainable living and a way to protect the environment. So, this plastic-free July, do your part and reduce, reuse, and recycle