As the mum of an up-and-coming ballet dancer, I was frustrated that, within the multimillion-pound dancewear industry, very few brands are focusing on sustainability. It may not surprise you to know that the number of garments made from nylon has doubled since 2000 (Greenpeace) and that £140m of clothing goes to landfill every year in the UK alone.....that includes a lot of leotards and tights!
The dancewear industry is largely based on the principles of fast-fashion and with high wastage and new collections sold online every week.
But wait, there is some good news for dancers! It is not actually that hard to make a change. We all know that, in our daily lives, we can act more responsibly by taking small actions such as turning off the lights, switching to metal drinks straws, carrying a reusable coffee cup and cutting down on our single use plastics. But what can we do to become more proactive in our dancewear choices? Beyond unpicking pointe shoe ribbons and salvaging for the next pair, what else can we do?
We all know that, in our daily lives, we can act more responsibly by taking small actions such as turning off the lights, switching to metal drinks straws, carrying a reusable coffee cup and cutting down on our single use plastics. But what can we do to become more proactive in our dancewear choices? Beyond unpicking pointe shoe ribbons and salvaging for the next pair, what else can we do?
Here are 8 thought provoking tips to becoming more sustainable without really having to make much of an effort:
1. When you’re shopping for dancewear or simply browsing online, ask yourself do I really need this item? If you want something, wait 24 hours and see if that burning desire to purchase is still lingering! The biggest way to be more sustainable is to cut back and only buy what you love!
2. Spring clean your e-mails! Unsubscribe to all the fast fashion (fast dancewear) brands you signed up to pre Christmas. If brands are constantly emailing you with heavily discounted offers, they are unlikely to be built on a sustainable business model.
3. Invest in dancewear produced in a fairer way. Look for small or local brands where dancewear is being produced consciously in small batches, made to order, or sewn by the owner themselves. We like Cloud and Victory, Freda Silk Ballet Skirts and EVBalletDesigns and of course Imperfect Pointes!
4. Always check the origin of your leotard. What country is it made in? Who do you think made the dancewear? The plight of garment workers is often overlooked. If the leotard is really cheap, the chances are it was not made by someone receiving a fair wage. Ethical manufacturing is high on Imperfect Pointes agenda.
5. Get used to checking the label to see what your dancewear is made from. The majority of dancewear is made from virgin nylon that comes from fossil fuels You can find out more at Fashion Revolution plus lots of resources in return for a small donation.
6. Look for brands using recycled materials. Imperfect Pointes burst onto the scene just over a year ago providing UK-Made stylish dancewear for professionals and adult learners alike. Everything is made using ECONYL® yarn. This innovative material is made from regenerated plastic waste from landfill, ghost fishing nets and industrial waste.
7. Look online at brands’ sustainability and environmental policies – if the brand doesn’t have much to say here, they are probably not taking much action.
8. Know your packaging! Choose brands that always use compostable and biodegradable packaging and mailers.