REducing Your Fashion Footprint: One 'R' at a time
by Daiya Lambert
It's true that the effects of the growing fast fashion industry push planetary boundaries and pose social challenges. Increasing consumer efforts and awareness of the issue are pivotal in the solution to sustain today’s traditional fashion model and will aid in turning the wheel towards a fashion industry more environmentally conscious.
Of course, this is no job for a one-man army! The transformation of an existing system can be challenging and slow and requires an all-around collaborative effort from sourcing to production to selling and consuming. Here's what you can do to minimize your fashion footprint; I like to call it treading lightly.
Eliminating junk is a great lead step when making the effort to minimize. Reducing isn't only limited to wardrobe density; it can also include decluttering other varieties of life like papers, books, miscellaneous items, and sentiments. Remember, you are partaking in a shift of your normal habits. When's the last time you actually look through those papers you're saving for "just in case" or wore those hideous low rise, bell-bottom jeans? Huh?! Reducing will increase tidiness and organization in addition to discovery and use for items you already own. & believe me, when I tell you it feels AMAZING! Think of having a cleaner, tidier, less cluttered space for a better flow of ideas and projects, and overall productivity.
But the real issue is the urge to buy new, especially after getting rid of the old. It's apart of natural consumer habits. However, reducing your fashion footprint requires you to reject that urge and move into a remodeled way of consciousness where you value quality over quantity. You should focus on optimal use of everything you own; like turning tequila bottles into vases and filling them with denim roses from an old pair of jeans. lol...…..
“REdiscover your items and get creative inspiration. Look no further for inspiring ways to create a fresh look from the things you already have.”
Now don't get me wrong, even I fall victim to the urge to buy, nobody’s perfect! But instead of looking to buy new items or clothes or whatever, try item swapping with friends and family. Its kinda like giving a life for a life. You'll be satisfied because you just got something "new" all while practicing sustainable consumer habits, and the world keeps spinning!
Questions to ask yourself when decluttering:
- Does this item bring me joy?
- Has this item served its purpose in my possession?
- How else can I use this item?
Answering these questions will help you sort things to keep and which to REdefine whether you donate, do clothing swaps, or repair and resell.
Ever wonder where all your discarded clothes end up? Haha haha, me either. Well not until now.
It's sad but true, the fashion industry is one big waste machine. The industry is one of the most resource-intense when it comes to water usage, waste, land clearing, materials, and more. Not to mention, clothing production has doubled between 2000 and 2014. Consumers are buying more garments and only keeping them half as long. So where exactly does all of the throwaways land? Each year billions of pounds, yes billions ......an estimated 21 billion pounds to be exact, of textile waste are sent to landfills. There, they can sit for an eternity decomposing and releasing toxic greenhouse gases into our environment.
Reusing is essential to combating this issue and minimizing your fashion footprint. It’s like this whole thing is tied together. Peep this .... after reducing your wardrobe, your other knick-knacks, and your shopping frequency, you’ll know exactly what you have. Like I said before, get creative. Try to pair things you normally wouldn’t have or try substituting to bring life back to items you’ve had forever. When you think about discarding something, think again. Ask yourself if what you’re getting rid of can be used differently than it’s original purpose. “What can I make from this? How else can I use this?”
Take my friend RY for example, the man calls himself the AF1 Connoisseur and indeed he is. He says he paints from time to time but that’s an understatement. His artwork is impeccable. Anyway, he customizes Nike Air Force 1s and apart of his process is to remove the check from the shoe. Instead of simply throwing away the Nike check, RY painted some more, added a split ring, and BOOM; a keychain was born. Genius, right? He dropped an exclusive 40 keychains and sold out. He probably had no idea of his impact considering sustainability and minimizing waste, or maybe he did. Either way, RY played his part in reusing to minimize his fashion footprint. And his consumers, well they got a little taste of recycling the life of something as minuscule as a Nike check ..... and the world keeps spinning, right?
One other important point I want to make is that a big part of reusing is also buying better quality shit. Spend that extra cash and buy clothes that are made to last. Of course I’m not advising you to stop shopping completely, just buy thoughtfully. Invest in quality and classics when you shop.