Is a capsule wardrobe your next sustainable swap?
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
"Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.” —Vivienne Westwood (The Guardian Live Interview 2014)
Did you know that the fashion industry creates 20% of global water waste and 10% of global carbon emission? The average lifespan of a garment in the UK is 2.2 years but if we were to extend the lifespan of our clothes by just nine months this could have a significant environmental impact! A major part of this issue is the willingness of people to keep wearing their clothes, repeating outfits and to choose garments that are versatile and designed to be worn many times over. I would say having the classic 'Little black dress', as my Mum calls it, is a perfect example of a timeless garment that you keep for many different occasions and is extremely versatile. But why don't we treat the rest of our clothing like this? Why and how have many of us ended up with so many different versions of the same thing? I, for one, have at least two 'little black dresses' which practically fulfil the same purpose. Don't even get me started on how many pairs of jeans we all seem to have. Fast fashion has created the idea that we can only wear clothing a limited number of times or has even designed them so they don't last. I have started to view fast fashion much like fast food, seems great at the time but you feel pretty disappointed after. Not everyone can afford to buy real denim or expensive organic cotton clothing and I for one know that I have had to rely on a quick buy, which is cheap, every now and then as my body has changed shape. So what can we do?
Capsule wardrobes are a wonderful way to help you fight fast fashion and live more sustainably. If you're someone who finds themselves shopping for clothes frequently and feeling like you have to keep up with trends, or even that you just haven't found what style suits you and makes you feel confident. Having a capsule wardrobe might be the solution. A capsule wardrobe is where all items you own pair well with each other, are versatile and designed to last. This means you have to repeat your outfits (Which can be a daunting prospect for some people) but this is something that we need to start encouraging. Fast fashion, and marketing, are to blame for making us feel like we cannot wear an outfit more than once. The truth is that this is only a symptom of the fast-fashion crisis, so lets slow things down. If you have a set of outfits that you know you like and are confident in, who cares what anyone else thinks! You are the one who wears your clothes so let us make an effort to feel confident and stop sending clothes to landfill. Having a capsule wardrobe is the ideal way to fix this. Owning a set of clothes that you love and last can take time to achieve, so no need to rush it. Capsule wardrobes are not necessarily designed to be a response to the environmental issues of fast fashion, but it will certainly help. The general concept of a capsule wardrobe means that you will be extending the life span and usage of your clothing! This is exactly what everyone needs to aim for.
Start by sorting through the items you already own and you know you never wear, clear them out and see if you can sell them or try repurposing them into something useful. You can even donate them or swap them with your friends. We don't want them going to waste, so before you dump them in the bin, or at a charity shop (see my Blog "Getting to know Buy Wear Shop Repeat", as to why the charity shop might not be the best place for second-hand clothes) why not see if you can get a little creative or send them to someone you know will wear them. Once you are ready to start establishing your new wardrobe why not try shopping second hand? Second-hand clothing is often cheaper, so not only do you save yourself money but also reduce garment waste. Second-hand clothing is one of the best ways of slowing down fast fashion and is yet again an example of extending the life span of a single garment.
Alternatively, you can buy clothes new. If you are going to buy new really take the time to find items that you really love, that you know are going to wear for years and that you enjoy. If possible seek out clothing made from organic cotton or even from recycled fabrics! Second-hand doesn't have to just bee clothing but it can mean second-hand fibres! If you are looking for clothing that is timeless and elegant as well as sustainable I can point you in the right direction. Fouremme is a perfect example of a brand that is UK based with fantastic values and seeking to fight fast fashion. All of their garments are designed to be timeless in style and I think are very flattering to any body shape. Based in London, Fouremme is a fashion brand established by four Italian sisters, who make sure that all methods of garment production are in line with their values- "We only use certified eco-friendly fabrics partly made from recycled materials sourced from European suppliers who share and promote our values". They only make what is requested by their customers to help minimalize waste. I think this is a fantastic way to slow down fast fashion and prevent fabric waste. It also means that when you order a dress from them you know that it has been hand made especially for you. So, if you don't want to shop second-hand for your capsule wardrobe, why not take a look at Fouremme's website and see what might tickle your fancy. These ladies are setting an example for the rest of the fashion industry, so lets support them and find others like them!
In the words of Vivienne Westwood "Buy less. Choose well. Make it last" and do this however suits you best. Help us beat fast fashion in a practical and confidence-boosting way! Normalise outfit repeating and seek out sustainable clothing whether it is second-hand garments or new garments made from second-hand fibres! Get creative and find your own style!
Here are some of my favourite Fouremme dresses and if you think they are going to be your new favourite why not use a discount code to get 10% off your purchase!
Using the code Green10.