Susta-Style: Return on Investment

This is the fifth post in our Susta-Style journey series, Return on Investment . We hope you've learned a lot over the last 5 posts.

The Susta-Style journey

Recycle, Share & Swap
Care & Cleaning
Repair & Rebirth
Knowledge & Research
Return on Investment

Return on investment is the concept of a resource favorably benefiting the investor. A high return on investment means that you get more use or performance out of the investment than what it initially cost you. More simply it's called value for money , and even better if the investment cost you nothing to start with!

When we are talking about clothing and fashion, return on investment is another very important part in the Susta-Style journey. Susta-Style (sustainable style) means taking the time to think before you buy something new, or try not to buy new at all.

If you must buy new, there are many factors to consider before your purchase such as how the product was created, was it handcrafted or mass-produced, what materials it is made from, is it organic or using recycled fabrics, which country it came from and how far it has traveled to reach your hands as this effects the carbon footprint of the item, the quality of the item and whether it's going to last you a long time.

These factors all play a big part in the return on investment of clothing. We all want value for money, but this can come in different ways with clothing which is why paying attention to the above factors is a great place to start.

For example, it may be a better investment to buy a winter coat that is well tailored, made from sustainable materials, and made in the country in which you live (so it has a smaller carbon footprint). A coat like this is likely to last you a very long time, you might pay a bit more for it at the beginning, but instead of having to buy another new coat the next year, this one may last you for many years to come, and even could become a hand-me-down for somebody else. This is a good return on investment.

Of course, it is not always possible to fork out a lot of money for clothing, so return on investment can be looked at in other ways too.

For example, looking in second-hand stores is a great way to get a good return on investment in clothing, often if you spend a little time and care looking, you can find a hidden gem, something that is well made, in good condition, and has a low carbon footprint as it's second-hand and didn't require the use of more fossil fuels as does a new product to create. This is a good return on investment as the initial expenditure was low.

Here are some more things to consider when making purchases:

  1. Think do I really need this? Look first in you wardrobe to check what you already own, and what you really need.
  2. Perhaps choose the most important items to invest in (to spend a bit more money on IF you can) and spend less or try to buy second-hand or swap with friends on the rest.
  3. Ignore trends with those more expensive purchases, it's better in general to stick with styles that will never go out of fashion, and then it's more likely they can become hand-me-downs.

Return on investment is about being smart with your purchases, thinking about how you can get the best value and usage out of your clothing, and always linking it back to the environmental factors too as what we want is Susta-Style.

Want even more information on sustainable style? Check out our series 1MW Guide to Sustainable Fabrics