The rapid globalization of our world over last few decades has resulted in severe offshoring from large fast-fashion companies. This further results in the overlooking of critical environmental and human rights regulations in developing countries, as well as fuels the growing addiction for temporary goods in our consumer driven societies. Many, like I, see this as a large issue in both human advancement, and environmental preservation.
- The Problem: Endless, compulsory purchases of inexpensive, temporary fast-fashion goods to satisfy the growing sentiment of never having enough.
Unfortunately, there is always a reason why goods are cheap. The ability to sell clothes with a little price tag requires that a company searches out for the most inexpensive labor. As the most competitive labour is found in developing countries, 97% of clothing manufacturing happens overseas. Most of these workers are not provided with the same safe conditions and reasonable pay as workers of developed countries are provided with. These small factories in developing countries also do not have the infrastructure and reinforcement faculty possible to make the production of these items in an environmentally safe way. We can see critical habitat degradation in these manufacturing territories, such as areas of China and India, due to the army of coal powered factories hard at work pumping out cheap merchandise for the consumer countries of the world.
If you are interested on more information about the clothing industry and its many impacts on the world around you, head over to The True Cost.
- The Solution: The capsule wardrobe promoting conscious clothing purchases from fair trade, environmentally conscious brands.
There is nothing wrong with having an interest in fashion, nor is there anything wrong with consuming, but there is something wrong with compulsive, excessive purchasing without a double thought about where the item came from. The capsule wardrobe, as I have created it for myself, is a way to simplify my wardrobe and remove the everyday stress of picking out a stylish outfit. It also keeps me constantly thinking about the “true cost of clothing”. This wardrobe is a compact select set of clothing, in which every piece coordinates, and never goes out of fashion. This can provide you with a way to easily put together simple and fashionable ensembles as well as a way for you to keep track of your impact on the world. As I have mentioned in another post, minimalism is different for everyone, and thus the capsule will be different for everyone as well. The first thing to ask yourself before you begin is, what do you need? If you go to the gym on a daily basis, you may need to strongly incorporate versatile activewear. Also, how many times a year do you wish to change your wardrobe? Some minimalists decide to have a capsule for every single season. I find this excessive, and personally choose to create one big year long capsule, and refresh it with a few new pieces every couple of seasons. If winter is coming and I realize that I need another sweater, I will purchase another sweater. If one of my dresses is becoming too warn, and no longer fits my needs, I will change it. It is imperative that you chose your wardrobe model, and stick to the rules that you set for yourself as far as wardrobe renewal. Further, I strongly encourage that you steer clear of fast-fashion brands, and venture into the countless high-end, fair trade, eco-friendly companies that exist. Below is a list of some of my favorite brands from where I have purchased some pieces in my wardrobe…
- Pact: Women’s and men’s underwear, socks, and essential basics.
- Alternative: Women’s and men’s clothing and activewear.
- Everlane: Women’s and men’s chic and classic clothing collections, shoes, accessories, and handbags.
- ASOS Eco Edit: Clothes, accessories, and beauty products.
I motivate you to search for more brands similar to these on your own wardrobe creation journey!
To keep in mind while creating a wardrobe:
- Purchase quality items that will last you a long time. As having a capsule wardrobe will force you to wear the same items more often than you used too, things tend to wear and tear faster.
- Pick a color scheme that is easy to mix and match.
- Choose timeless basics. Once again adding to the mix and match ability of your wardrobe, and giving you the ability to wear them for a few years without them going out of fashion.
- Versatility is key. Pick pieces that will go with everything, and serve multiple purposes. A black tank top, for example, serves under a nice blouse, under a shirt, by itself with a cardigan or flannel, as a pj top…
- Magic word…Accessories. This is a great way to create your own personal style against the basics. I, personally, have a collection of scarves and jewelry that I pair with all of my outfits.
To conclude, as we have discussed above, the fast fashion industry has become a grave issue in the world for worker rights and the environment. By minimizing your wardrobe and choosing to purchase high quality items made in ethical conditions from eco-friendly resources, you have the potential to greatly minimize your own impact on the world. You will also find it refreshing to remove the clutter from your closet enabling you to remove the everyday stress of getting dressed and put focus on the more important tasks. Not to forget, as shopping has become an addiction for a lot of people, the capsule wardrobe can help you control your purchasing habits, and save you a lot of money in the long run. Weather its for the purpose of simple living, minimizing your impact on the environment around you, or just an act of rebellion against the current societal expectations, I urge you to create a capsule wardrobe for yourself!