Launching my site and Instagram account in September 2020 was a result of my slow fashion journey. That journey didn’t start overnight: it was a process that involved more than a few moments of self-reflection, and learning facts about fast fashion that made it impossible for me to carry on in the same way: shopping for the sake of it.
Shopping was my hobby
I am sure I’m not alone when I admit that shopping was a hobby. In my early thirties I was fortunate enough to have enough time and disposable income to indulge in shopping for the sake of it. Bags, shoes, dresses, shirts, jeans, jumpers, more bags, coats, more shoes. Having kids reduced the amount of time and energy I had to spend on fashion: clothes just had to be practical and easy to clean!
Having come out of the era of very small and messy children, I started to spend more time (and money) on my wardrobe again. Having previously worked in an office, I started working as a stylist from home. Having gone through a period of adapting my wardrobe to my new work-circumstances I started to feel uncomfortable about the renewed rabbit hole of consumerism that I disappearing into again.
Banned from shopping
In 2019 I decided to have a 6-month period in which I wasn’t going to buy any new clothes or shoes. Hard though it was (and believe me, it was hard; it felt like a form of detox), that period gave me a great sense of freedom and clarity; not being on the hunt for the next new item gave me time to reflect my shopping behavior of the past and planted the seed of change.
The shopping-ban more or less coincided with serious attempts to try and to reduce our household waste, buying products from a zero-waste shop (rice, pasta, shampoo, washing detergent) and generally trying to consume less. I was also trying to educate myself more about sustainability, and the more I read about the polluting effects of the fashion industry, the more I really wanted to make efforts there. The knowledge that this industry treats the environment and the people that work for them as disposable and without value really did it for me: this site was born from this feeling of no longer wanting to close my eyes.
One of many voices needed
I know I am not the first to write about this and I hope I won’t be the last. We need a lot more voices out there to really change the way clothes are made, our behavior towards fast fashion and the ever changing ‘trends’ that we are on the receiving end of every season (for example, did you know that H&M and Zara have as much as 14 collections each year? And that their aim is to get you to buy something from each one of them?)
Take stock of your behaviour
If the pandemic has shown me one thing it is how little we really need; most of my work clothes not worn often enough, the only clothes I really needed are presentable tops visible during online meetings. This period is a very good time to take stock and ask yourself some questions: Why do I shop? Do I really need this? Is it a hole that I am trying to fill by shopping? What does it represent?
Other things you can do:
- Reorganise and tidy up your wardrobe
- Put together different clothes to make new combinations
- Repair clothes that need mending
- Swap clothes with your friends
- Send to a charity shop what we no longer wear
- Recycle what can not be mended or reworn (the same H&M have fabric-recycle bins in their shops).
When you are finished and are in need of a few new items, give your support to truly sustainable brands out there that need our help and make sure you buy something that will last you a long time and makes you feel good when wearing it.
Also have a look at #closetmassindex: a great way to gain some insight into exactly how many clothes we actually own. You can count the number of different items you have (tops, trousers, shoes etc), or count new and second-hand clothes or – if you want to be ambitious – count the amount of clothes that are not worn in 6 months.