Rethink your closet
On this page we'll introduce and explore the impacts of fast fashion on the environment. We'll also share inspiration, resources, tips and tricks for creating an adaptable, lasting, season-less, and functional all-year wardrobe without overstuffing your closet.
Andrea's Little Wardrobe Look Book
Keys to a simple wardrobe
1. Wear what you love - feel comfortable and confident second-hand wool
3. Think about how you'll wear each item in your closet - to wear your clothes with love they should be adaptable, functional, season-less, and adaptable
4. Take care and repair - learn basic mending techniques and get to know those in your community who can create and tailor pieces.
Notes on Buying Less and Buying Well
First, check out this book, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline
It is an absolute must read.
A recent highlight in this book that stuck with me was this:
"Americans are so convinced that cheap fashion deals are fair that we often view with suspicion designers who make a well-made product that isn't cheap."
This is so true. We have devalued not only our clothing, but even the goods that we consume as well. If I tell someone what I spent on my hemp, organic cotton dress from Prairie Underground (which was $115 dollars) most people would tell me I'm crazy and how they could never spend that much on a dress for just everyday use.
But when I think back to my fast fashion days where I bought something new almost every week from stores like H&M, Forever21, and Target, I can tell you I have none of those clothes now, I have spent double or even triple of what this one dress cost. And I have nothing to show for all those purchases I made.
Each time I'd walk by one of those fast fashion stores I'd be lured in by the bright lights of cheap deals and the latest trend. Each $5 blouse, $15 jacket, $2 dollar accessory, $8 dollar t-shirt (that unraveled after a few washes) was a trap. I repurchased and repurchased over and over again. These clothes where never worth my dollar. I assumed that these types of cheap clothing was my only choice. It was my only choice because I didn't have enough money to buy a nice dress that was made with quality, of good fabrics, and of people who were payed fairly for their craft.
But the truth is, I spent hundreds of dollars more than if I had just saved, blocked out the noise of trends, and put my dollar to real use. What if I had given real value to my hard earned money? I would have a smaller wardrobe of pieces that carried me through season after season and year after year.
What is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. Fast fashion clothing collections are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at Fashion Week in both the spring and the autumn of every year (Wikipedia).
Fast fashion is expensive for you and our planet. Fast fashion is designed to be replaced quickly, not so much by desire but by need. Clothing literally falls apart ending up in landfills rather than making it to consignment shops even if you donate. In the U.S. only 10% of donated clothes get resold. The rest floods landfills - we send 13 trillion tons of our clothes to landfills in the U.S. alone where they sit for 200 years leaving toxic chemicals and dyes to contaminate local soil and groundwater. Our slow fashion community has found that investing in fewer higher quality clothes actually saves us money because each piece lasts longer.
Fast fashion is a disaster for our planet. The largely unregulated churn and burn of fast fashion is putting too much pressure on our planet. 12.8 million tons of clothing are sent to landfills in the US every year. This is a football field filled 14 ft deep with clothes. The fashion industry’s CO2 emissions are projected to increase by more than 60% to nearly 2.8 billion tons per year by 2030. Main cotton producing countries like China and India are already facing water shortages, and with water consumption projected to go up 50% by 2030, these cotton-growing nations face the dilemma of choosing between cotton production and securing clean drinking water.
Fast Fashion with Elizabeth Cline
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline. I can't recommend this book enough. It's a great place to start learning about the textile and fast fashion industry. Below is an excellent talk about fast fashion, ethically shopping, and sustainability with the author of the above book, Elizabeth Cline.
Check out the documentary True Cost
About the film
"This is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?
Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva, The True Cost is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes."
Resources on Taking Care of Clothing:
This little handbook has been compiled for those interested in learning how to give their clothes a longer life. We designed this zine to make information on how to fix your clothes accessible to all. The 25 pages are chock-full of step-by-step instructions on how to mend, as well as suggestions for how to own less fast-fashion clothing and curate a more intentional closet.
Sashiko (literally "little stabs") is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear or to repair worn places or tears with patches, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery.
How to Engage with Ethical Fashion | Clara Vuletich | TEDxSydney
Slow Fashion Businesses & Resources
My Favorite Fabric
Information on linen is provide by Trusted Clothes
Trusted Clothes is an organization linking people, organizations and brands that are ethical, environmentally friendly and health conscious. We are a group of volunteers dedicated to promoting Ethical, Sustainable and Healthy fashion.
Linen is created from the fibers that naturally grow as part of the flax plant.
Flax is a plant that grows worldwide and the production process is quite simple and sustainable, which is one reason why linen has been used for so long. The fibers first have to be naturally degraded from the plant. This is achieved through “retting“. Retting is the process of bacteria to decomposing the pectin that binds the fibers together. Natural retting usually takes place in tanks and pools, or directly in the fields. There are also chemical retting methods; these are faster, but are typically more harmful to the environment and to the fibers themselves.
- Flax can be grown on marginal lands
- Very breathable fabric that is good for the skin
- It creases easily and wearing linen clothing requires ironing thereby requiring more energy
- Since linen is created from a totally natural material, it is completely biodegradable
Linen fabric easily absorbs perspiration, while leaving a very cool and dry feeling to the skin.
Common Synthetic fiber List
Acrylic Petroleum Products
Modacrylic Petroleum Products
Nomex Aramids Chemical
Nylon Petroleum Products
Polyester Petroleum Products
Spandex Petroleum Products
Rayon Regenerated cellulose