I recently blogged about my big-deal-but-not-really-a-big-deal decision not to buy any clothes for a year.
If I were the kind of person who didn’t like clothes or was not easily swept up in the whispers of commoditized fast fashion that would not be worth telling you about. But I am, or was, that kind of person.
As I have previously said, I think expressing yourself through the clothes you wear is a wonderful thing. It just becomes a tad more complex of an issue when you discover that it takes 2,700 litres of water to produce one cotton t-shirt.
For the English among us, that’s 4,751 pint glasses of water.
If like in the 1800s we all wore one shirt per year*, perhaps that would be a sensible ratio of resources to output and no one would be getting so hot under the collar (I’m here all week) about the impact the fashion industry is having on climate change.
And that is the essence of fast fashion; more. More of the same, but in 5 different colours. More tops like last year but this time with more ruffles around the collar. More heels because the last pair broke and you might as well buy two pairs since you’re here anyway.
And so the cycle continues; more becomes more water, more cotton, more oil and more trees.
Which is why in my quest to buy better quality and far fewer clothes in the future, I’ve been exploring some of the amazing initiatives that are taking place to make fashion a much cooler, more sustainable industry.
My old uni, The University of Exeter and Fashion Revolution, an organisation set up to do exactly what it sounds like, have created a (free) short course designed to take the user on a journey of discovery about where their clothes really come from. It doesn’t start until 26th June and takes only 4 hours a week.
I’m really interested to find out more about the people, methods both good and bad, and the material that creates some of the clothes in my wardrobe. It means that when I shop in the future I will start to understand the places to go, the materials to look for and the true cost of what I’m wearing. You can sign up here if the idea excites you, too.
And to end with a piece of highly relevant trivia, did you know that H&M has created a ballgown entirely out of waste marine plastic for their 2017 Conscious collection? Well you do now, and apparently the material is ‘unlike other plastic-based fabrics, it’s supersoft and can adapt to almost anything you want to make, from jeans to cocktail dresses.’
Which gives me hope, because if being good can also mean looking good, H&M may just be on the cusp of unlocking a new, and rather large customerbase.
*Completely uncited but in some cases probably quite accurate statement, merely used to make a point about modern shopping habits.