Ok, I am ranting, but honestly, what is it with all that fast fashion and consumption? I stopped buying things to look pretty for others, no clothing, nothing for the house, and I still do not have enough time for everything I want to do and enjoy. How did I exist when consumption and fast fashion were a thing that stole both time and money?
I already talked about the general aspect in my last post, “Fuck Eco Minimalism“, but I am not done yet.
As with coffee makers, cutlery, couches, towels, … there’s the functionality, and then there’s the fast fashion aspect. Apparently, the cutlery my parents got when they got married more than 50 years ago isn’t good enough to eat with these days. I also got some quite stylish cutlery once, and it’s impossible to eat with it and give it another 5 years, and it’ll be the most out of fashion thing ever – or maybe it already is?
It’s the same thing with clothing, just that the “In” and “Out” circles were much faster. It seems that I already saw most things come and go. As a result, I have all kinds of pants. Some might be super trendy somewhere atm, some were fashionable years ago, and some are quite terrible by today’s standards.
As with all these things, I am constantly encouraged to replace stuff that is perfectly fine to use, but what if I keep wearing what I already hoarded in the last 20+ years? (Yes, I said hoarded on purpose because I did go “shopping for fun” back in the days, buying cheap stuff I already had in several variations to look good and trendy and cool and fit in – but not too much)
I might have everything I need already
How many t-shirts does one need? And how many “break” each year. Let’s be generous and assume I need 1 t-shirt a day, I wash once a week, so I need 8 t-shirts not to run out. Let’s say each quarter one of them gets holes I can’t mend anymore—that’s 4 on top. So I start with 12, and each year I need to add 4 more. I haven’t counted my t-shirts, but I already have a lot as I still wear some I bought 25 years ago. So I won’t have to buy a new t-shirt in 10 years. I need to possess 52, and I guess I have that many. So that’s abundance right there. No new t-shirts needed in the next 10 years. Which doesn’t mean that I am not allowed to get any (Due to Covid-19, we bought some solidarity t-shirts…), but I want to be clear that I won’t need any until 2031.
I also have enough sweaters, jackets, hoodies, panties and the like.
Same with pants. The oldest pant I am still wearing is from an aunt, which she was wearing in the late 70ies. The sweater in the article picture is also from her and the 70ies. That’s 50 years!
Lots of my clothes are hand-me-downs from another aunt who is dead for a long time already. So it’s a nice way to remember her.
Bras seem to be something that I occasionally need to buy new, but there’s the question about the need for a bra. I still buy one each year on average – sports bras these days.
Socks I knit myself as a hobby.
And dresses I have until the end of time, as I have some and never wear any…
Why fast fashion? What is fashion even?
A way to tell people that you can afford it? A way to impress others? That’s a thing of the past, or at least it should be. To look good, but for whom? A way to reward yourself? That’s another article around the belief that consumption is a form of reward.
What I perceive as a reward, I can decide myself. (That idea is pissing consumerism right off! Dig in)
Besides protection, it’s also self-expression. The question is, what do you want to express? That you have money to buy stuff thought up by someone else, produces by someone else (under miserable conditions)? You can also express that you care. Care for your clothing, environment, the planet and everybody around you while looking as unique as you wish to.
Though I get that we change, I admit that I often don’t wear things for a long time until I rediscover them. (You need some storage for that system) But you can also indulge in clothing updates either by sowing yourself, which is also a great way to alter your clothing for the perfect fit throughout different waistlines or by shopping in second-hand stores or organizing a clothes swap with friends. To me, changing from summer to winter clothing is a whole shopping tour to the basement where I find things I haven’t worn in 6 months.
Abundance is there if I allow myself to see it
I have more than enough(1), and I can vary, exchange and update, and I still haven’t touched a single new piece of clothing. Reuse, repair (like the “new” cardigan), repurpose, recycle, swap. That’s a great way of self-expression. You are unique. You want your clothes to show that? Buying from a shelf comes with the guarantee that it isn’t unique…
Second-hand stores are a great way of fuck fast fashion shopping and reusing; there are even “cool” online shops – if you do not want to go and visit Oxfam – which sell “vintage” clothing like Vinokilo. Same principle – better marketing. 😉
The only catch I realized in all of this is that while I encourage everyone never to throw clothing or shoes away, my stuff seems to be so ragged by the time I decide that I can’t wear it anymore that I can’t possibly give it away. So facing this, I am planning of creating a rags rug, fill couch cushions, and old clothes also make good cleaning cloths.
Shoes! I forgot about the shoes. I have enough shoes too. This might be a bit trickier. Personally, I decided to wear them up, and I also invested in two pairs of really great hiking boots – one pair for winter and one for summer.
And yes, I see stuff I love in shop windows all the time – fast fashion temptation.
The fast fashion temptation
If I am in the city, I do some window shopping for inspiration and play the game of pointing out what I already have. And yes, I have the impulse to buy and then I remember what I already have, how I could create a similar piece or look if it’s really important to me by investing some time, fun and effort. But usually, the impulse never makes it to the next street corner, so it apparently wasn’t that important. I also have no hard rule of not buying anything new. I just have the rule of double-checking my investments.
Having been out and about in the city yesterday, I realized that I am not alone. I saw remnants of all trends worn ironically and unironically. The stage is ours to be fashionable as fuck without consumption, (over-)production or waste.
(1) In the article “Fuck eco minimalism”, I describe my perspective and personal situation. You might find that some things are similar for you, and there’s some takeaway. But you can also disagree, as your situation is likely different, and I do not mean to imply that everyone will live in abundance once they open their eyes to it. Unfortunately, there is real scarcity, real suffering, real lack. If the people who have more than enough realize the abundance they already live in, it might hopefully help share the resources available so that everybody will have enough.
(Cover picture) As mentioned above, this is a sweater from my aunt from the 70ies which I still wear. The illustration was my second practice piece with Adobe Fresco, with which I got to play around on a new iPad. Pretty cool, but by no means would I use it often enough to justify buying it for myself.