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Understanding the environmental impact of your Eid outfit

As we edge closer to Eid, many of us are getting our clothes ready for this special day. But… Before you rush to the shops, it’s important to understand the cost of your Eid outfit!

Now, we’re not talking about the monetary value of your outfit here, but rather the impact it’s having on the planet.

And a detrimental one at that…

The ecological cost of fashion: Affecting people and planet

Did you know that annually, global emissions from textile production are equivalent to 1.2 billion tonnes of CO₂?

Yes, to put that into context: this outweighs the carbon footprint of international flights and shipping combined. Shocking, isn’t it?

What’s more, these clothes use up precious water supplies, with cotton being amongst one of the worst culprits.

In fact, producing 1kg of cotton requires 10,000 to 20,000 litres of water. That’s without mentioning the huge strain production puts on water supplies in some of the countries we work in, which rely heavily on garment production, such as in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year, creating astronomical levels of waste, whilst the demand for fast fashion continues to escalate with the industry’s global emissions projected to double by 2030.

As Muslims, we must take heed. Islam is a religion that places a huge emphasis on environmental consciousness.

Allah (SWT) calls us on to be custodians of the earth. Therefore, we should be taking a lead in climate action, as well as leading a lifestyle that is in harmony with the earth.

Imagine having had a blessed Ramadan connected to Allah, only to disregard your responsibilities when it comes to our preferences for clothing on Eid.

Islamic Relief recognises this obligation to the earth and so we’ve come up with five top tips on how you can have put together a great Eid outfit – with as little damage to the planet as possible!

1. Revive an old tradition

Sewing your own clothes is a great tradition that was commonplace before the rise of mass produced clothes and fast fashion. 

One of the greatest ways to reduce our waste this Eid is to revive this old tradition by getting creative and producing a handmade Eid outfit, whether by your hand or someone else’s.

Buying fabric locally and sewing it yourself (or giving it to a tailor) is far better for the environment than buying imported already stitched clothes available in shops.

2. Upcycle old clothes

Everyone has that old saree, abayah or wedding lehnga just sitting there in their wardrobe collecting dust.

And what’s great about this is that: you’ve got fabric ready for you to upcycle and get creative with!

Why not turn a saree into a gharara, new top, or even both! There’s definitely enough fabric for it.

And, to get you started check out some great ideas here.

3. Swap with family and friends

If you’ve got a few items you no longer like or perhaps don’t fit anymore, why not swap clothes with friends and family?

You can set up a little fashion get-together in your garden and see what gems you can find.

You’ll gain a new outfit and clear out your wardrobe at the same time. No waste, no pollution. Simple!

4. Get thrifty  

From Depop and Vinted, to a host of offline and online charity shops plus vintage shops, there are a huge number of ways to buy second-hand clothes.

Not only will you be saving the planet from the environmental impact of buying a new outfit, but you’ll be helping small-scale sellers and charities at the same time.

Have a look – you may just find a beautiful bargain!

5. Avoid silk garments and accessories

Silk may look beautiful but is sadly the cause of environmental pollution and much suffering to silkworms.

Silk production uses high amounts of energy, toxic dyes, high volumes of water, with most silkworms killed in their cocoons before developing into a moth.

For more sustainable options, pick wild or organic silk – or simply choose another fabric. It’s simply not worth the cost to these delicate creatures and Allah’s beautiful planet.

Of course, Eid is a time of celebration, and we want to look our best. The traditional hadith says:

Jabir (RA) said: “The Prophet (SAW) had a Jubbah (cloak) that he would wear on Eid and on Fridays.”

We are encouraged to wear our best clothes on Eid. However, this does not necessarily mean new clothes.

If we consider the environmental degradation fast fashion is contributing to and the impact such demand is having on the lives of vulnerable people, buying a new outfit doesn’t fit our commitment to preserving Allah’s beautiful creation.

Therefore, as we approach the end of Islamic Relief’s Eco Ramadan campaign, let’s continue in the spirit of sincerity and custodianship.

Let’s ensure that this commitment translates to the garments we choose to wear for this Eid and beyond.

Thank you.

Eid Mubarak from everyone at Islamic Relief!

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