Not so long time ago I joined an inspiring Facebook group that talks about up-cycling and reusing the textiles, reducing pollution from clothes and becoming aware of how we use the textiles. It has deepened my perspective on how I use clothes and textiles.
I have to admit that for the most part of my adult life I was not giving much thought to what I shop, how I use it and how I through it away. Like the majority of people I guess. Isn’t it just fun to hit the sales, buy some cheap stuff, and feel like a cool chicka wearing a new outfit every day?.. Then, do a spring cleaning a few months later and donate half of that stuff to Salvation Army. And feel like a reverent soul helping the poor.
Now as I am in the process of consciously examining and redesigning my wardrobe I came across the information that made me really uncomfortable.
Did you know that:
- Clothing is designed to fall apart. Fashion industry is interested in creating a buyer that will come back all the time.
- Fashion industry is designed to make you feel out of trend already a week after you bought your item.
- Fast fashion is a massive contributor to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, second only to the oil industry. And clothes infused with chemicals that don’t wash out, that our skin keeps absorbing long after those clothes have left the factory floor.
- Fashion industry employs one in every six people on the planet, hidden in a shadow system that intrinsically uses child and forced labor.
- More than 150 billion garments are produced annually, enough to provide 20 new garments to every person on the planet, every year.
- 80 billion pieces of clothing are churned out every single year. That’s 400% more than just 20 years ago.
- Fast fashion garments, which we wear less than 5 times and keep for 35 days, produce over 400% more carbon emissions per item per year than garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year.
- A quarter of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textiles.
This information makes me feel like stopping to buy clothes at all. But really, without going extreme how can You and I be more conscious and aware shoppers? Here is what I came up with:
- Buy quality vs quantity. Ask yourself: Will I be able to wear this item longer than 3 years? 5 years? 10? Will it make it for my children to inherit it? Cheap fast fashion is not made to last long. So it only seems that you are saving because the next season you will have to go out and buy the same thing again.
- Consider sewing your own clothes and/or reusing what you already have. I understand that not everyone can make their own clothes, but if you are one of those who have a creative sparkle in them, why not to try? However, even those with no creative sparkle whatsoever (or no time) can learn to fix a hole on tights (or any other textile) or sewing that button back on instead of throwing it straight away.
- Learn what suits YOU. That makes the process of acquiring new items easy and efficient. After I started following Dressing My Truth it became so much easier to shop! Last pair of pants I bought took me 5 minutes, I didn’t even have to try them on! And I love them and wear them a lot. Knowing the colors, designer cut, fabrications, etc that suit me makes shopping really targeted and effective. I wrote more about it in this post.
- Don’t buy on impulse. Here is the approach I have been using for years now and that helps me to buy stuff that I like and will use: look at it, try it, take a picture of it, and then go away and think. Give it some time. Often when I walk away from an item I am tempted to buy, it fades off from my head pretty soon. Then I understand I didn’t really need it. But if I get back home and still keep thinking about it and I see that I would benefit from it I go back and buy it some other time. Or, (when I am almost sure it’s the right item) I do buy on impulse but keep the receipt so that I can bring it back.
- Consider exchanging your clothes with friends. When I know I am done with a garment I pack it in a bag and let it wait until the next clothes exchange we run from time to time with the group of friends. It’s a fun way to bless someone with a new look, as well as to receive the blessing 🙂 It is a win-win for everyone and it is so much fun!
- Stop using shopping as a way to camouflage your real deep psychological needs. It’s not a secret that shopping can feel like a drug. It does bring very strong positive emotions. So when it feels sad, and lonely, and it sucks it’s so easy to go out and get yourself a new top. On sale. Wow! Feels good straight away. But is it a top you needed? No. You needed to feel good. What makes you feel bad then? Go there. Deal with it. It will feel so much better!
This is what I came up with. Do you have anything to add? What are your shopping habbits?