About 6 months ago I decided to overhaul how I "consume" clothing. This is something that has been building for a while, like a niggling thought about something I knew wasn’t right in my life. There are plenty of facts and figures on the way that we over-consume fashion these days, but this article is a good start: https://t.co/QacevqGPsR or here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/transforming-the-fashion-industry_us_57ceee96e4b0a48094a58d39
The upshot is that back in the 50's the average woman owned about 9 outfits. From the above articles, people have an "average of 16 items only worn once and 11 still with the tags on" in their closets.
The increase in consumption has much to do with fast fashion and the low cost of garment production by fast fashion companies. Why spend $100 on one top when you can get 5 or 6 for the same price at H&M, right?
The problem is, the cost cutting not only effects the quality of the garment (meaning they degrade quicker) but the wages and working conditions for people making the garments as well as the environment (watch this The True Cost on Netflix for more info on this. Ne prepared, having a box of tissues handy.)
What am I doing about it?
1. I've put myself on a temporary fast fashion ban. No H&M, no GAP, no Old Navy etc. It's been just under three months so far. Ideally, I'd like to go a whole year. I've realized that I actually need a lot less clothing than I'd previously thought.
2. Taking better care of the clothing I own, learning how to mend things instead of replacing them.
3. Shopping more carefully and thoughtfully when I do buy something new. I’m trying to choose more sustainable fashion brands or at least buying an item of high quality that I know I will use lots and will last me longer than one season.
4. I am now learning to sew and knit. This definitely isn't me saying we should all make out own clothing, but to me it was a natural part of changing my habits.
The easiest thing you can do to lessen your fast fashion impact is to simply buy less, buy thoughtfully and buy better
quality. I feel that this is one of those things where small behaviour changes across larger groups of people will have massive impact. Try “shopping your closet” by creating new pairings of items you already own, or making a promise to finally get those jeans hemmed so you can wear them out instead of leaving them unloved in your closet.
Is this something you’ve thought about? How have your shopping habits changed over the years?