Are Your Party Sequins Really That Bad For The Environment?

They're a festive season staple, but for how long?

Soo Joo Park wearing a sequinned polo neck

by Natalie Hammond |

As Christmas approaches, you might be thinking about what to wear to your one party that hasn't been cancelled. But if you're eyeing up something sequinned - revelling in the opportunity to be a human disco ball for one night of the year - you might want to hit pause instead of 'add to basket'.

A street-styler at Copenhagen Fashion Week
A street-styler at Copenhagen Fashion Week ©Getty

Because the environmental consequences of that spangled skirt or glitter-flecked frock are really quite worrying. But many of us are already taking the road less sequinned. In response to customer demand, Boden has eliminated sequins and glitter as part of the business' commitment to sustainable change. 'We listened to our customers and wanted to be brave and make a firm decision, taking this unique stance. We know that sequins and glitter do drive sales but we were creative and thought of other ways for us to excite and delight our customers this Christmas,' explained Cristian Gilkes, director of product development and buying.

A street-styler at Paris Fashion Week
A street-styler at Paris Fashion Week ©Getty

But why are they so harmful? According to Fashion Roundtable - in a post written last year called 'Sequins & Sustainability: A Not So Ethical Embellishment' - it's because the little discs are often made from petroleum-based plastics such as PVCs. Not only can these contain toxic chemicals, but their composition means that they're indestructible - they'll literally sit in landfill for thousands of years - while laundering them leaches microplastics into water systems. This is besides the fact that if you buy something that's covered in sequins, how often are you actually going to wear it outside the festive period?

A street-styler in Rome
A street-styler in Rome ©Getty

The bottom line? Christmas might be the ultimate time for glitz and glitter, but not if it's going to cost the planet well after the fairy lights have gone down for another year.

Gallery

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An online community where users can buy and sell high quality pre-loved items. Unlike buying new sustainable clothing or renting new pieces of clothing for a night, the NTH collective lets customers buy and sell existing premium clothes, significantly reducing carbon, water and waste footprints as well as negative societal impacts.

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