The last few years I’ve spent New Years day clearing and organizing my closet. This has been done in collaboration with a friend, who does the same thing on her end, and then January is spent trying to figure out “what do I need to buy?” “Why don’t I wear this more?” “Does this need to be taken in?”. There has been an awful lot of pictures sent between us looking for advice and encouragement. But I won’t do it this year.
Partly there is no need; after a few goings through I’m pretty much in order and know what I have. I’ve bought less, and better, as a result of the routinely purges and ,oh, there is that fact that my closet spontaneously combusted during the last half of 2016. Not counting socks,tights and underwear I “lost” something like 20 pieces of clothing. All loved and well worn should be mentioned. Some of them were in their third incarnation; a dress that had become a skirt that then,after a rupture, became an even shorter skirt. And that dress was was second hand to begin with. I have mostly lived like this because I love clothes and fall madly in love with certain prints and colors; I never want to loose them. But I do. And without wanting to get preachy;more people need to actually live with their clothes for longer. I read this article about the impact of fast fashion on the environment and it is depressing to say the least. The average lifespan of a garment is now 2 years(before it ends up in the thrash most often ) and it needs to have a lifecycle of about 10 years to lower the stress on the climate.
So what can be done? This are few pieces of advice that I’ve gotten, nothing you haven’t heard before, but the first step is to actually think about it.
- Take care of the clothes you have. Everything doesn’t have to be washed after you’ve used it. Connoisseurs of denim do in fact advocate washing them as rarely as possible. Sweaters maybe just need to be aired. Don’t use the same shoes and clothes two days in a row if you can, let the fibers rest and resettle if you can and it will last longer. I’m forever making this mistake; I usually only buy one pair of winter shoes and use them every day. At the end of the season they are rubbish.
- Buy fewer things, and better quality. Short term cost but long term gain. I will say from experience that good quality clothing ages better and is worth repairing. If you get tired of it then you can sell it,swap it or give it to charity.
- When buying clothes consider shopping in second hand stores, charity shops or consignments stores. Also look into the eco conscious collections that some high street chains have or search for labels that are sustainable.
- When things fall apart; don’t throw them in the trash. Can it be remade into something else? Maybe someone else can?(This is how I end up with a lot of my materials). At least in Sweden a lot of companies accept bags of used textiles, no matter what label or condition. If you want to know what happens with it you can read that here. They give you a voucher that entitles you to a discount, and when using it, try buy “green”. Other stories are in on this and they sell Swedish Stockings. H&M accept used textiles and have an eco-conscious collection that isn’t bad at all.