How you can shop more sustainably and make eco-friendly fashion choices

As the trend of "fast fashion" and cheap online clothing websites grow in popularity, one environmentally-friendly clothing company in Llanelli trying to buck that trend has won a special sustainability award from global fashion magazine Marie Claire.

Onesta, which launched in December, uses every scrap of fabric and only uses sustainable fabrics.

Gabriella Diana, owner of Onesta told ITV News, "Everything that we're doing has always put sustainability and ethics first and we work really really hard to make sure that every single component of our business is sustainable and ethical.

"We keep all of our materials that are off-cuts, so for example, our fabric scraps, because we manufacture here in Wales, a lot of it in house, we can literally retain everything.

"We are now working with Surfers Against Sewage to actually produce makeup remover pads that we can then use to eliminate the single use makeup wipes, which are actually really really bad for the environment."

Try to avoid trends if you can and buy items that won't go out of fashion easily.

It is estimated 10% of humanity's carbon emissions is from the fashion industry, according to the UN Environment.

But how can you shop more sustainably and make sure you're buying eco-friendly fashions?

Here are some tips that may help:

  • Avoid trends and choose classic styles that will never go out of fashion:

By sticking to classic styles that will never date, you won't have to worry about things going 'out of fashion' and these items will last you for many years to come.

This way, you won't be buying several clothing items, when you have one which will become your wardrobe staple, something that you'll rewear time and time again.

  • Choose environmentally-friendly fabrics:

Check the labels to find out which fabrics have been used to create the clothing. Fabrics such as polyester are very cheap for clothing companies to buy, meaning that fast fashion brands will use this less-expensive fabric to produce less-expensive clothes - and still gain a profit.

The production of polyester also uses a large amount of water to create the fabric.

Gabriella Diana from Onesta told ITV News, "I think the problem is society has been so used to cheap fashion...and actually, we shouldn't be paying that little for a t-shirt.

"I think one of the fast fashions brands [was selling] dresses for two pounds. If you can sell something for that cheap and still make a profit, then who on earth made them?

"Because you know that those conditions they made them in were not acceptable. And now, I think we're just trying to encourage people to think about who made their clothes, how they were made and what the impact is on people, what the impact is on animals and what the impact is on our planet."

Fabrics such as hemp and linen are more environmentally-friendly, and even there are also newer less well-known fabrics such as tencell and seacell.

Tencel comes from a plant which has been ground down into pulp and put through a system to create the fabric.

Seacell is made from seaweed, where growers will cut the seaweed at the appropriate length so that the seaweed left over is still able to grow and will not affect the eco-system. The seaweed is then ground down into a powder and creates a natural antibacterial element to the fabric.

Hemp and linen are sustainable fabrics.
  • Protect your clothes:

Before washing your clothes, check the labels to make sure you'll have it on the right setting on the washing machine or if they need to be hand washed.

It's also worth making sure that any buttons and zips are done up before washing the items to avoid snagging and damage in the washing machine.

  • Repair your clothes:

If you've noticed some wear and tear on some of your clothes, instead of throwing them away, you can always try and repair them. You can sew them or add patches or embellishments to them to give the damaged items a bit of a makeover.

Alternatively, you could find a seamstress near you who can repair the items for you.

Instead of throwing out damaged clothes, you could repair them. Credit: PA Images
  • Rent outfits:

Some websites, clothing sand accessories stores offer people the chance to rent some of their items and return them a few days later. This will not only help the environment, but it'll also save you some money, so instead of buying new clothes all the time, you'll pay less just to rent them for a few days.

  • Shop second-hand:

There are many ways to shopping second-hand. Whilst you could always take a look inside your local charity shops for second-hand clothes, you can also go online.

There are plenty of second-hand clothing websites online where people are putting up their unwanted clothes for sale.

  • Clothes swap:

If you'd like to see some new items in your wardrobe, but don't want to spend money at the moment, clothes swapping is an option.

You could see if there are any local clothes swap events in your community, or simply speak to family and friends to see if they have any items they'd be willing to swap with you.