We've all heard it by now- fast fashion is bad news. Not only is it known for pollution and exploiting its workers, but the entire industry is also designed to produce cheap, trendy clothing that is worn a handful of times before making its way into a landfill.
What can we do to avoid being part of the problem? You've probably heard the term "capsule wardrobe" tossed around quite a bit lately. Although it's not a new concept, it has gained a lot of traction recently, especially when talking about sustainable fashion.
Creating a capsule wardrobe
But what exactly IS a capsule wardrobe? Essentially, it's a wardrobe of several classic pieces, that gets updated periodically with seasonal or functional items. The key to the capsule wardrobe is that unlike most fast fashion clothes, it contains pieces that are well made and designed to last more than a few wears and washes.
This doesn't mean that you necessarily have to trash all cheap clothing from your closet- that would be counterintuitive. What is does mean, is that once an item wears out, you should think through whether or not it needs to be replaced. Ask yourself, "Can I live without this item?" If the answer is yes, then move on. If the answer is no, then think through how you will purchase the next piece. Consider thrifting, swapping from a friend or renting. Even better, see if you can find a similar piece made from recycled materials or fabric that is better for the environment- think organic cotton, bamboo, modal, hemp or Tencel. Look for brands that are known for their durability and cuts that are classic and not overly trendy.
Maintaining a capsule wardrobeTo help extend the life of your clothing, wash less often and when you do, use detergents that aren't as damaging to your clothes. Make sure you also skip the fabric softener- apart from containing possible toxic chemicals, it also causes a waxy buildup on your clothes over time. Skip the dryer are much as possible and hang or lay flat to air dry. Learn basic sewing skills or find a local seamstress if you notice signs of wear and tear. When an item finally does bite the dust, repurpose it for cleaning rags or find a collection point for recycling textiles.
While a capsule wardrobe isn't a solution to fast fashion, it is a step in the right direction. Interest in sustainable fashion is on the rise and more options will certainly become available.
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