Specifically, I’m limiting my purchases for the entire fall/winter season to five pieces.
Here’s what you need to know about me: I love clothes. I’m a Public Relations professional and certified Image Consultant. Dressing well is part of my identity. I have no intention of wearing fraying frocks to prove a point about sustainability.
On the contrary, I expect this challenge will improve my look by forcing me to make highly selective purchases based on a deep understanding of my personal style and existing wardrobe.
So while this isn’t an anti-fashion challenge, it is a rebellion against the wastefulness of “fast fashion” culture, which is the mass production of cheaply made clothing only intended to be worn a few times.
According to Livia Firth, Executive Producer of True Cost, a typical fast fashion garment only stays in our closet for an average of five weeks before being discarded. That’s a lot of senseless waste filling up our landfills. Reportedly, the average American tosses 82 pounds of textiles into the garbage each year!
The whole system of fast fashion is environmentally devastating and exploitative of third-world workers. Further, it’s killing our personal style. Our cultural obsession with shopping for the sake of shopping and buying cheap clothes for sport is the reason so many of us look in our bulging closets and sigh that we have “nothing to wear”.
I’ve long been a proponent of the “buy less; buy better” mentality, but I still fall prey to poor purchasing decisions from time to time. By forcing me to buy less, I imagine this challenge will force me to be a more methodological shopper and maximize the value of my existing wardrobe.
- Only purchase five new garments for the rest of 2015
- I must wear each of the items a minimum of 30 times before I donate or otherwise dispose of them
- At least three of the pieces must be consignment OR from an ethical manufacturing company
- Items must coordinate with my existing wardrobe, but also update my look
- Most items must be able to transition between my professional and off-duty wardrobe
Will I make any exceptions?
I’ll make an exception if a highly utilitarian need arises. If my winter boots are letting water in or I lose a glove, replacement is acceptable. This isn’t a militant exercise designed to weed out the weak with suffering and sacrifice; it’s a simple test of fast fashion culture to determine if there is a better way to live.