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 |
Updated on

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.


SEE: The Best Fashion Rental And Second Hand Shopping Destinations

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Sign Of The Times

With more and more importance placed on shopping sustainably, if you're looking to buy and sell preloved designer clothing, bags, shoes and accessories, check out SOTT.

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DCEY encourages customers to rent, mindfully shop and have access to environmentally sustainable products. Browse hundreds of styles from international brands such as Cult Gaia, Staud and Coperni.

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NTH Collective

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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Hurr Collective

The UK's first peer-to-peer wardrobe rental platform. HURR COLLECTIVE is for members to rent and lend their wardrobes, making economic and environmental sense. From Chanel to Uterqüe, there's something for every price range.

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Endless Wardrobe

Rent, Wear, Return. ENDLESS WARDROBE allows you to tailor your rental time. Choose from a 4, 10 or 16-day rental period. And, for anyone that's a bit clumsy, amazingly, you won't be charged for damage or stains. Red wine is your friend again.

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Take the first step towards sustainable fashion. Bagbutler specialises in handbags and accessories, giving you the opportunity to rent everything from Chanel bags to Dior jewellery.

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Rent, Reduce, Repeat. ROTARO's carefully curated selection of contemporary luxury designers work for multiple occasions, work events, holidays or as a platform to discover new brands... Designers include: Rixo, Ganni, Reformation, Cult Gaia, Cecilie Bahnsen and Stine Goya, with weekly product drops. Items cost between £15 for a 4 day loan and £80 for a 12 day period, with the option to extend. ROTARO also offer a try at home service, where you can choose two dresses and return the one you don't wear.

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#SeeItLoveItRentIt. FRONT ROW'S mission is to provide a lifestyle service that eliminates the age - old question "Will I ever wear this again?" Featuring up-and-comers and established favourites including Chanel, Fendi, Jenny Packham, Roland Mouret. FRONT ROW offer a rental period of five days, however this can be tailored to your needs.

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My WardrobeHQ

Buy less, buy better, rent it out. MY WARDROBE HQ is a social community for buying, selling and renting designer items. Customers can shop womenswear clothing and accessories from the wardrobes of Poppy and Chloe Delevingne, Olivia Buckingham, Arizona Muse, as well as fashion stylists and influencers.

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Cool clothes on subscription. ONLOAN was created by two girlfriends, with a shared mission to reduce waste, curate brilliant independent designers and reignite a love of clothes without the guilt.

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By Rotation

Rotate your wardrobe at your fingertips. BY ROTATION is the UK's first and only peer-to-peer fashion rental app. No subscription fee and no waiting list. Do good for the planet, your wardrobe and wallet at the same time.

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Own your style. Not your outfit. HIRESTREET might be a new rental platform, but it's already made a significant mark on sustainable premium fashion. The brand is conscious of building a community and empowering women is echoed in its broad range of sizes.

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