A new year has just begun – but as resolutions take shape, what will be the state of our wardrobes in 2023? Articles proclaiming the “trends for the new year” are already filling up the web, but one thing that we must all keep in mind for the time to come is that fashion needs to slow down.
By Sascha Camilli: writer, speaker, activist, and vegan fashion expert.
The latest reports we have show that the garment industry emits 10% of the world's greenhouse gases – more than the aviation and shipping industries combined. So one thing is clear: 2023 needs to be the year when we take a different approach to our wardrobes. One surprising way forward might be uniting fashion with... mindfulness. Approaching our wardrobes with an attitude of presence can not only help us dress better, but also be a tool in the campaign to make fashion less harmful, from many perspectives. How exactly we do this? Read on.
Learn to slow down when shopping.
When scrolling through a shopping site or app, are you always quick to click on “add to cart”, without thinking twice – that top looks amazing, let's get it! Ooh look at that bag, let's click on “buy” - and so on? This might then repeat itself in your favourite store: you're walking and browsing, when you spot something you like and end up at the till in a few minutes' time. Then when the parcel arrives or you get home from your shopping trip, you realise that in stark daylight, that item looks different from what you imagined and is actually far from the amazing purchase you thought it was. So it ends up returned in the best of cases, and languishing at the back of your wardrobe or being sent to landfill in the worst.
It's time to slow down: next time you come across a garment or accessory that catches your eye, let it marinate for a while. Imagine the outfits you will wear with it. Picture it on different occasions in your life. How will it serve you? For how long? What do you already have that you can wear it with? Ask yourself these questions before parting with any money.
Find your personal style.
One of the most powerful tools for a sustainable style is knowing who you are when it comes to fashion. Being comfortable in your personal style keeps impulse shopping at bay and often stops you from making rash decisions and ending up with things you'll never wear. “Understanding your style personality will change how you shop and look at fashion,” says fashion stylist and vegan Rebekah Roy, owner of Bare Fashion. “It’s not about following the latest trends or owning a wardrobe full of designer labels. It’s about understanding who you are and wearing clothes to express yourself.”
She adds that finding your personal style can have another unexpected benefit: cost-cutting. “Knowing your style is going to save you time and money. You’ll know which shops align with you and you can create a wardrobe that you truly love, so that you can get the most wears out of it.” So get to exploring and experimenting – until you find the true you.
Knowledge really is power, and after learning that every second the equivalent of a garbage truck of textiles is burned or sent to landfill, that leather kills over one billion animals every year, and approximately 170 million children are engaging in child labour – many of them in the fashion industry – shopping will feel different. But it's not all about the gloom and doom: use this knowledge-gathering to also find out how second-hand shopping helps the environment, how new-generation materials can help minimise the impact of our accessories on the planet, and whom to follow online to learn more. The more information you have available, the better your choices will be.
Prolong the lifespan of your favourite clothes.
Found a hole in your favourite dress...so this is goodbye, right? Time to thank this garment for all the memories and part ways. Not so fast. There might still be ways to salvage the item and keep it in your life and wardrobe. The practice of mending our clothes has fallen out of favour as fast fashion made an entrance into our lives. Today, we prefer to buy new items rather than mend the ones we already have. But you'll be surprised at how many pieces can actually be fixed – and how much easier it is than you thought. Sustainable stylist Meg Pirie runs mending workshops in the UK, where she teaches fashion lovers to put their garments back together for a new lease of life. For trickier mends, take your items to a tailor. Chances are, they can make magic happen and save your garment from landfill.
Make friends with your clothes and enjoy the memories.
Rather than throwaway objects, learn to see your items as the good friends they are. Look back at the memories you've created in your clothes and cherish them. Begin to practice presence when you get dressed – what does the fabric feel like? Is it smooth or rough? How is its texture against your skin? Is the colour saturated or subdued? Really take in the experience of wearing the clothing and remember why you chose to bring it into your life. This way, you are more likely to treat your clothes with respect and appreciation, rather than something to be fleetingly used and quickly discarded.
By Sascha Camilli
Sascha Camilli is a vegan fashion writer, speaker and activist. Her book Vegan Style is out now on Murdoch Books. For more about Sascha, you can read our interview with her. You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Second photo by LUXTRA.
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