Embracing the 1.5 Degree Lifestyle: Sustainable Changes in Clothing Consumption

In the pursuit of a sustainable lifestyle aligned with the 1.5-degree climate target, the fashion industry plays a crucial role. The Hot or Cool Institute recently conducted a study to explore how we can achieve a sustainable approach to clothing. Their report highlights the pressing need for change and provides valuable insights. This article aims to summarize the key findings and outline effective strategies for transitioning to a more eco-friendly wardrobe.

The Environmental Impact of Fashion

The study emphasizes that the fashion sector is a significant contributor to carbon emissions, leading to detrimental climate change effects. If current trends persist, the industry’s emissions are projected to double by 2030, potentially utilizing a substantial portion of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. In Europe, clothing consumption ranks as the fourth-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, underscoring the urgent need for transformation.

The Importance of Meeting the 1.5 Degree Target
To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a reduction in global emissions by 45-55% is required by 2030. However, most G20 countries are currently exceeding their targets for achieving this goal. Consequently, it is imperative to act swiftly and adopt sustainable practices within the fashion industry to mitigate further damage.

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Fashion
The study identifies reducing clothing purchases as the most effective action for reducing the carbon footprint of fashion consumption. This approach yields four times greater carbon savings than the next best solution, such as increasing garment use time. It surpasses the current pace of decarbonization within the fashion industry by more than threefold.

Promising Strategies for Change

  1. Limit new clothing purchases: By buying fewer new clothes, we can significantly reduce our fashion-related carbon footprint. The study suggests that, without implementing other actions like repair, washing at lower temperatures, or purchasing second-hand items, the average number of new garments should be restricted to five per year. This threshold aligns with consumption levels in line with the 1.5-degree target.
  2. Embrace second-hand clothing and sustainable materials: Opting for second-hand clothing not only reduces waste but also promotes a circular economy. Additionally, choosing garments made from low-carbon-intensive materials, such as organic cotton or recycled fabrics, further minimizes the environmental impact of our clothing choices.
  3. Repair and extend garment lifespan: Repairing and mending clothes play a crucial role in prolonging their lifespan. By embracing these practices, we can reduce the need for frequent replacements and contribute to a more sustainable fashion culture. Furthermore, washing clothes at lower temperatures conserves energy and minimizes carbon emissions associated with laundry.

The Power of Collective Action

While individual lifestyle changes may appear modest, their cumulative effect can have a significant impact. Widespread adoption of sustainable fashion practices can create a domino effect across the supply chain, inducing positive changes in the industry. By collectively embracing a 1.5-degree lifestyle, we can drive systemic change and pave the way for a more sustainable future.


The fashion industry’s current trajectory poses severe environmental challenges, but it also presents significant opportunities for positive change. By reducing our clothing purchases, embracing second-hand garments, and prioritizing sustainable materials, we can effectively reduce the fashion industry’s carbon footprint. Every individual’s actions contribute to the collective effort necessary to achieve the 1.5-degree climate target. Let us embark on this journey together, reshaping our clothing consumption patterns and creating a more sustainable world.

Coscieme, L., Akenji, L., Latva-Hakuni, E., Vladimirova, K., Niinimäki, K., Henninger, C., Joyner-Martinez, C., Nielsen, K., Iran, S. and D ́Itria, E. (2022). Unfit, Unfair, Unfashionable: Resizing Fashion for a Fair Consumption Space. Hot or Cool Institute, Berlin


Photo by Ales Krivec by Unsplah
Edited with ChatGPT
Translated with DeepL