“Most clothes are worn, on average, only seven times before they’re discarded, forcing an astonishing 150 billion new clothing items to be made annually…Polyester is… found in 50 percent of all clothing. It’s enormously energy intensive and doesn’t bio-degrade…”
“10 percent of the world’s total carbon footprint comes from the apparel industry, and apparel is the second largest polluter of fresh water globally.”
This article doesn’t even mention things like how much time is spent shopping (NOT a productive use of time, compared to a lot of other things…), nor the amount of money that is churned through one’s closet.
Buying and discarding cheap clothing means that you never get to wear anything truly amazing – a fabric that’s breathtaking, construction that amazes you at the skill of the human hand, or design that reminds you of the joys of creativity.
Read the full article at: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/analysis-fast-fashion-comes-steep-price-the-environment.
Coco Colmani says
Dear Janice, you are so right. Your blog is one of my two best weapons in my struggle against too much shopping. The other is the ethical/environmental cost. Thank you for the link, and thank you for being here.
Australian and NZ readers may also be interested in a recent report on our fashion industry. It is now produced annually on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza fire, and rates local brands and stores. http://www.baptistworldaid.org.au
Robyn in Tasmania
Your post and the article are important, and thank you. Next, we need to look for the root causes. Is it corporate strtegy that decides to pay workers in developing-world sweatshops 40 cents a day to produce a cheap t-shirt? Is it the cultural meme that tells young consumers (thereby building the habit) that they 'need' a new outfit for every occasion? Is it the ever-widening gap between rich and poor? (I know a number of women who say they would buy better things that last if they could afford it.) Then each of us should stand in front of our closet and ask, Is it too much? Why?
Madame Là-bas says
The environmental cost of our throwaway society is devastating. Globalization of factories has created more cheap merchandise
at the expense of workers (mostly women) in poorer countries. Often girls are forced to leave schools at an early age to work in factories. At our end, women who are "unsettled" about their appearance are wasting their energy that could be channelled into productive areas and spending money that could be put to better use. The "too much" that I find in my closet is often an emotional response to a feeling of insufficiency in some other area of my life. Thank you for the link and for presenting an alternative way of dressing.
I read your blog religiously. Thanks to you I have reduced my wardrobe size to a quarter of what it once was (and I have more outfits to choose from). Wardrobe churning is a thing of the past. Bless your generosity of spirit.
Ivy Bromius says
The thing that frustrates me the most is how hard it can be to find quality and how the price you pay has nothing to do with the quality you receive. I'm currently looking at items in my wardrobe that I bought thoughtfully and paid well for but that turned into rags after just a few gentle washes. Other items that I paid much less for seem well-constructed and should last for a long time.
This this this (this times a million). I struggle (especially with a recently postpartum body) between being a good steward of things that often no longer work and wanting a wardrobe that serves me well today.
I'm astonished that so much clothing is only worn so few times. I also follow your blog because you helped me to create a foundation of quality pieces that go everywhere and are worn regularly. There is no room in my wardrobe or budget for cheaply made shirts that fall to pieces after a summer in and out of the washing machine.
This post should not be depressing at all, especially if it helps people focus on what truly matters in their lives–a few good items of clothing and accessories, tailored to fit and maintained to perfection, in a minimalist capsule. This is why 90% of my wardrobe consists of thrift store items, because most have never been worn. I just look for good fabrics, good construction, and classic lines that suit me. Then I alter clothes myself, and even rework jewelry that I find into interesting pieces for me or for gifts. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Redo, and even "do without". Fashion is what everybody else is wearing. Style is what I wear.
Janice, due to you I also have become an advocate for fewer clothing items, better, gorgeous, vintage, etc. And I proselytize like mad! My closet is so right for me now. Of course, it always needs some tweaking, an addition or subtraction. But I appreciate my clothing now, just as I do the other things I live with. Thanks for the link.
A great reminder why less is more! I am not 100% there yet but I am getting closer since finding your blog! Thank you Janice for all you do!
Thank you for writing this.
Mary Loging says
I read your blog faithfully and admire greatly the work that you put into it. Your blog is a must for anyone interested in getting the most mileage from their wardrobe in a responsible manner. I recently watched the movie "The True Cost" and recommend it to anyone concerned about how we as consumers are responsible for helping to fuel the incredible waste of resources. Here is a link to the trailer: The True Cost movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaGp5_Sfbss Consumers need to be more educated about fabric sustainability, construction methods and proper clothing care. This will enable one to shop better, buy less and have the clothing last longer.
I so agree, I started reading your blog when I had a downturn in income and wanted to look good for interviews without spending loads of money on new outfits you helped me sort my wardrobe, make up ensembles with the clothes I had and when I needed to go shopping (in thrift stores) I knew what I was looking for to make my outfit work. I now have a much smaller wardrobe of clothes but they all work together and are worn "loads" thankyou for all your posts you are helping to save the planet one shirt at a time xx
Coco Colmani says
Coincidentally, I was looking for tips about wardrobe organisation when the search turned up a link to your post on 12 October 2012. It was about Project 333 and stimulated rich discussion in The VF community along similar lines to today's. I found it well worth reading. And I'd like to second the comment above about how you are helping to save the planet one shirt at a time. (Not to mention sometimes saving me from my own worst behaviour.)
Robyn in Tasmania
Survival games says
Thank you for writing this. A great reminder why less is more! I am not 100% there yet but I am getting closer since finding your blog!