Ethical, organic, free trade — they are all great buzzwords for sustainability, but if consumers really want to shop responsibly they need to shop mindfully. Sustainable fashion is in a sense an oxymoron since fashion by it’s definition is fleeting. The only way for fashion to become sustainable is by slowing down our consumption. Buying well made items in timeless styles that will last season after season, instead of a micro-season.
Quality isn’t in a name
Here are a few key stats on the state of our wardrobe gathered from Elizabeth Cline’s enlightening book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. She illustrates how consumers don’t think before they buy because clothing is an inconsequential purchase compared to previous generations. She also notes: “Quality and creativeness are being sacrificed for money and big business. There used to be a direct connection between high-end clothing and quality. Now a designer name is no guarantee of craftsmanship. As early as 1994 Consumer Reports was finding that designer clothing at Barney’s, in the case of a rayon chenille sweater, often offered no better quality than Kmart.”
The 30 Wears Campaign
Before you lay down your credit card, think how many ways you can (and will) wear an item and how long it will last before you buy. Understand what makes something a quality item by exploring the Senza Tempo journal here or here, or by reading Ms. Cline’s amazing book (remember: it isn’t the label.) It is shopping the way our grandmothers and their grandmothers shopped, who thought about every piece of clothing they purchased because it had to be versatile and last for years.