21 Mar Fast Fashion Faux Pas: Why I am not buying anything new in 2019
At the start of the year, I vowed to not buy any new clothes, shoes, and accessories. Instead, I resolved to only buy vintage, second-hand, recycled, and upcycled items, as well as shop my friends’ closets, but most especially my own.
When I first moved to Miami, I stumbled upon The Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique, a boutique that benefits the homeless women and children who are victims of domestic violence. I found incredible clothing and shoes (some with tags still on) from Black Halo, Armani, Dolce and Gabbana, and more. They also have a cute coffee shop serving Panther Coffee and all the employees on the floor were former residents of the shelter. It was well-curated, charming, and beautifully-decorated.
So I decided that every year, I will celebrate my birthday in an unconventional way by having a shopping event with my girlfriends at the Lotus House boutique. We would bring our gently-used clothing, shoes, purses, and accessories to the boutique and shop each others’ closets. Whatever gets left is donated to the boutique and I also strongly encouraged cash donations to the shelter if you take an item from the shopping event.
It was so much fun and it really brought into mind how much stuff we have and how much of it we do not need. This is why in 2019, I am going to focus on a more sustainable lifestyle and hope I inspire others to do the same.
Fast fashion has made style more accessible to the masses but it has the most devastating consequences. I am not only talking about human rights violations, but also the toll on our environment as well as on our psyche.
We are so inundated by stuff that our tendency is to:
1. Take everything we have for granted-why value something when it is always available? It is so easy to buy a replacement or a substitute that we never realize the value of an item. Did you know that over 3 billion people, about half of the world’s population live on less than $2.50 a day? That’s less than a cup of coffee for most of us. If we appreciate what we have and practice gratitude, I believe that our lives will be richer and more meaningful.
2. Increase consumerism and espouse materialism-More is not necessarily more. When is it ever enough? Will having the newest it-bag make you happy? Maybe it gives you a burst of dopamine and you’re happy temporarily, but it never lasts. We chase high after high only to never be fulfilled. We have so much stuff, we do not even know what we have. It was estimated that consumers in the United Kingdom have an estimated $46.7 billion worth of unworn clothes in their closet. That is wasted money just sitting there! All this obsession with having stuff does not make us happy. Materialism has been correlated with unhappiness and has been shown to makes us less compassionate of others as well as making us have a difficult time forming loving relationships with other people.
3. Pollute the environment-the textile industry is one of the most ecologically-atrocious industries. Second only to the oil industry, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world! The creation of man-made textiles produces water and air pollutants. Additionally, a majority of clothing ends up in the land fill. According to the EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year! I didn’t even know that I own 68 pounds of clothing…
4. Live in a disposable world-This leaves less room in our lives for the things that matter. All this crap we are surrounded with leave less room for mindful and meaningful thoughts, actions, and activities. If everything can be thrown away, then we value nothing.
5. Look like everyone else and withhold opportunity for creativity and uniqueness-When I was growing up, my great aunt, “Lola Auntie”, made the majority of my clothes. She was a talented seamstress and my twin sister and I never ran out of fashionable and unique clothing. When items are made with care and love, it comes out as beauty and inspiration. Now, everyone looks the same because we all shop from the same 50 stores. One of my favorite things about visiting Japan was their love for vintage items. They are in fact, the largest importer of vintage clothing in the world. I also love seeing how the young designers in Harajuku repurpose vintage and designer clothing to make it their own.
My goal this year is to live a more liberating life where I am not bogged down by the trappings of material things. I want to have more quality in all aspects of my life. I want to know where my items came from, perhaps get to know the artisan whose hands created my dress or my shoe, and discover their creative inspiration. I want to be more mindful about what I bring into my life.
My next posts will be about my fashion finds, sustainable products, services, and businesses. I am so excited to go on this journey. I hope I encourage you to do the same.
Lots of love,