No New Clothes: A Used Resolution for 2019
I may have been late to the waste mindfulness game, but I arrived, strong and steady in my early twenties.
Moving to Northern California, where environmental consciousness is very much a way of life, living sustainably went from being something I was aware of to something I was actively pursuing.
Slowly, thanks to a handful of state-wide mandates, and friends who had been living this way longer than I had, I started to catch on to lots of little things that could make a big impact.
And so I began building my collection of reusable grocery bags, composting, and making sure I was recycling appropriately. I went to farmers markets instead of supermarkets and bought locally whenever I could, but it wasn’t until I assisted my eco-warrior friend Paige on a photoshoot for Fibershed that I started to think about the environmental cost of the clothes hanging in my closet.
Once you know something, you can’t un-know it. So, I started to keep my ear to the ground of fast-fashion… and this is what I learned:
Eighty billion pieces of clothing are consumed globally every year.
The wages of workers in garment factories can be as low as US$1-$ three a day.
Fast fashion giants make clothing to fall apart: they are obsessed with the bottom line, so will do anything to make you buy more clothes.
Only 10% of the clothes people donate to thrift stores or charities get sold, the rest goes to landfill.
1.4 quadrillion microfibres are estimated to be in the ocean as a result of laundering clothes.
Americans throw away a total of 14 million tonnes of textiles each year.
Nearly three-fifths or 60% of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made.
Women wear a garment, on average, 7 times before throwing it away
The US spends an estimated $2.6 billion on Halloween costumes every year: worn for one night only.
It takes an average of 7,000 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans. That's about the amount of water you drink over the course of 5-6 years.
If the industry doesn’t change, and it’s fashion business as usual, the apparel industry’s climate impact is expected to increase 49% by 2030.
The more I learn, the less I want to have any part in fast fashion. So for the last two years, I’ve been actively shifting away from filling my closet with the latest seasonal trends and instead only adding pieces I love, and as often as possible, investing in the work of other friends and sustainable makers who arrived to the slow fashion movement long before I did.
It felt good to know where my clothes were coming from and to be making intentional choices about things I wouldn’t have given a second thought in a previous lifetime… but I want to do better.
I want to make more of an impact in my own personal life and to encourage others to do the same.
Enter my new year’s resolution: No New Clothes for ALL of 2019.
If you just gasped and said to yourself “there’s no way” - I feel ya. I was there too a few years ago. But today, I know it is possible and I’m excited for the challenge.
The thing that excites me the most is being on this journey with friends.
Meet Jordan, the life of the party behind JordanJean.com. We met in college (GO HOKIES) and have remained steadfast friends ever since. One of the things I love most about our friendship is that we are always finding ways to lift each other up and to push one another to better their best. When I mentioned this idea to her, it took almost no seconds for her to be on board, and for us to begin brainstorming ways we could help make this feel accessible for others.
And then there’s Heather, a master vintage thrifter. Heather is another eco-warrior friend who welcomed me to Nashville with open arms. She had all the good recyling hook ups (suffice it to say there is MUCH work to be done in Tennessee’s sustainability department), a direct line to getting a back yard composter, and invited me to a clothing swap at her home that inspired me to host my own, and ultimately, to say yes to this “no new clothes for a year” idea I’d been dreaming about for a while.
Together we will be bringing all kinds of slow-fashion life hacks your way that we hope will inspire you to join us in whatever way feels right to you. We’re not asking you to dive in the deep end - I certainly didn’t just wake up one day and decide to stop buying clothes - we’re inviting you to come along for the ride. To take a closer look at your relationship with the clothes in your closet. To learn with us. And to use what you learn to build your own list of small changes that have a lasting impact.
I will always remember what it felt like to truly consider the impact my wardrobe was having on our world for the first time… if reading this has been that first for you, I welcome you to the party.
We have a lot of (really fun, creative, sometimes hard, but always worthwhile) work to do together.
Let’s get to it.
#NoNewClothes2019 - follow along, tag your own. - xo
*no new clothes were featured in any of the above photos - all garments in all photos have been thrifted or swapped