Last night, I stumbled across an article from Real Simple on twitter with the headline “5 Fashion Resolutions to make in 2016.” In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a fan of the publication. It’s one of my go-to airport magazine buys.
I read it aspirationally, as though spending $5 will somehow turn me into one of those women whose closet organization is instagram-worthy, who regularly cooks delicious, balanced and wholesome meals, who truly consumes things like chocolate and red wine in moderation, never forgets a friends birthday, and always shows up with a beautifully wrapped hostess gift.
Does this woman even exist?
Probably not, but if she does, I bet she subscribes to Real Simple.
Anyway – given the source and the headline I clicked that link-bait. I was disappointed – angry even – with the suggested goal setting for 2016 wardrobes. There was not one mention of paying attention to materials used or the people who make our clothes. Not one.
And while, yes, paying attention to fit and investing in quality pieces are important parts of building a solid wardrobe – I am sick of glossing over the production of clothing to focus on only the clothes themselves as though the manufacturing of these things is something we consumers have no responsibility for.
With that in mind, here are the 5 Fashion Resolutions I am making for the upcoming year. This is public, so you can hold me accountable.
I challenge you to adopt one or two yourself. I am not being hyperbolic when I state that fast fashion and the textile industry is a huge problem. We can all do better this year.
1. “I will buy used. New is the last resort.”
I’m not pledging to go a whole year without buying something new (running shoes and underwear should not be bought second-hand), but new clothing is becoming a last resort for me. In 2016, I pledge to do the following before I buy new:
- Shop vintage, donated, and thrifted. There are very few articles of clothing I want to add to my wardrobe that can’t be found in great condition that need a second life
- Attend a clothing swap. I usually participate in Steel City Swappers (Pittsburghers, check it out). Some of my favorite pieces have come out of clothing swaps.
- Ask to borrow from a friend or utilize rental programs such as Rent the Runway. For a wedding this last fall, I borrowed a dress from my real life Fairy Godmother, Alyssa, and got more compliments than I could count. Stylish friends are usually more than happy to help you out for special events.
2. “I will only buy something I know I will wear at least 30 times…
(and only from brands who provide transparent information about their supply chains and publicly set goals to improve responsibility and sustainability).”
- Thank you, Lucy Siegle for the 30 times rule.
- Everlane tells you what the weather is like at the factories that make their clothing.
- Eileen Fisher has set a No Excuses vision for 2020.
- Zady introduces and breaks down textiles in an in-depth detailed way that makes the sustainabili-geek in me so happy.
- Timberland shares the ratings of the leather tanneries they work with.
- Newton makes certified B Corp running shoes.
- Naja is a lingerie brand empowering women around the world.
- And of course, Patagonia has been setting the standard in supply chain transparency for years.
Nope. There’s no excuse for virgin polyester anymore. Not when our planet is literally covered in PET and there are companies out there transforming it into beautiful fabric. Give me recycled poly, or give me nothing.
Seems pretty obvious, right? And yet the pounds of textiles that end up in landfills every year are staggering. There’s no reason to throw any clothing in the trash.
- I will keep a bag right next to my closet for clothing swaps. The moment I try something on and it no longer fits right, or I’ve grown sick of it, it goes into the bag. When it’s time for a clothing swap, my contributions are already sorted and ready to go.
- I will take my used running shoes to my local running store, where there is a running shoe recycling collection box. (If you’re in the ‘burgh True Runner offers this.)
- When I have clothes I no longer want and a clothing swap is too far away, I will take advantage of apparel collection sites at H&M, or The Reformation’s take back program, where you can download shipping labels for free and send your clothes.. These programs take clothing from any brand. Nothing should be ending up in the trash.
5. “I will sew more.”
It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and made myself something to wear. Just like cooking, it makes you appreciate the time,talent, and labor that goes into the design and making of your clothes. A quote that has resonated with me this year is, “Every seam on the clothing you wear is there because two human hands held that fabric together and ran it through a sewing machine.” A lot of people touch the clothing we wear. It’s our responsibility to know where it came from.