It’s starting to feel like spring and lots of good energy vibes are spreading around! My main fashion New Year’s resolution this year was to fall in love with my clothes again. However, I have to admit that this resolution hasn’t been at the forefront of my thoughts since the beginning of the year but finally, last week, something happened: I was feeling incredibly bored with my clothes… again. This sudden feeling was quite strange: one day without notice, I ended up finding boring what I used to find exciting and wanted a complete overhaul, which usually ends up with buying new outfits.
This feeling made me reflect on my habits as a consumer. I haven’t started this blog and read so many articles about the disastrous humanitarian and environmental impacts of fashion to rush into the first second-hand shop to fuel my hunger for new garments. So why are frequent wardrobe updates so important to me?
The truth seems to lie in how clothes make us – modern women – feel. Fast fashion has deeply transformed the fashion industry in the last 20 years and we have gradually changed our purchase habits. We have adopted a ‘wear it once culture’, wearing items only a handful of times before considering them ‘old’ and boring. It has also become cheaper to buy new clothes than to mend old ones. According to the last report published by the Ellen McArthur Foundation at the end of 2017, the amount of clothing bought has doubled in 15 years, yet the number of times an item is worn has fallen by 20 percent.
Another interesting habit we have developed is that the majority of our fashion purchases sees the light of day just a few times, before staying in our closet, being binned or donated. Most of us conveniently repress what’s in our closets, and fool ourselves into thinking we are waiting for the clothes to come back into fashion or for the perfect occasion to present itself to take these unworn clothes – most of them still with tags on – out of our closets. Sounds familiar, does it?
Moreover, having to choose a daily outfit in my over-filled wardrobe can sometimes make me feel overwhelmed and I regularly go back to the same pieces as a result. It appears that the average woman owns 95 items of clothing and only wears 59% of them regularly (these figures change depending on the sources, but the pattern stays the same). Psychological research shows that having more choice actually leads to indecisiveness and less satisfaction rather than greater contentment. Having regularly a clear out is a great way to feel more in control of our wardrobe and our life. Simple!
All these facts and figures made me ponder: do I want to be the victim of a system that I haven’t chosen or do I want to act in order to help the fashion industry to better itself whilst making me feel more content? I truly believe that the big fashion companies haven’t taken full responsibility in this issue yet. However, as a consumer, I can change my habits in order to behave in accord with my values. It is our duty as responsible consumers to fall in love with our clothes again. Far from me the idea to stop buying clothes – I am way too much in love with fashion for that but it is worth working out how best to shop and the first step for that takes place in our own closet.
The only way to get out of these over-consuming habits is to try something different. I have written an exciting ‘10 Steps to Fall In Love With Your Clothes Again’ programme. My goal is to look at my closet more creatively and view my clothes as I used to: with love and enthusiasm. During this period, I will not be allowed to buy any clothes at all. Five to six weeks of no-shopping don’t seem too scary, do they? Anyway, I should be too busy testing these new ways of putting the spark back in my relationship with my clothes!
Stay tuned for the reveal of the #ReLoveReWear challenge!
Interesting Facts & Figures
- The amount of clothing bought has doubled in 15 years, yet the number of times an item is worn has fallen by 20 percent.
- The average woman owns 95 items of clothing and only wears 59% of them regularly.
- UK shoppers own £10bn worth of clothes they do not wear.
- 33% of women consider clothes ‘old’ after wearing them fewer than three times.
- The majority of fashion purchases see the light of day just seven times.
Sources: 2018 Weight Watchers Survey, 2017 Great British Wardrobe Report commissioned by Ariel, 2017 Ellen McArthur Foundation, ‘Throwaway fashion: Women have adopted a ‘wear it once culture’, binning clothes after only a few wears (so they aren’t pictured in the same outfit twice on social media)’ by DailyMail, 09.06.2015