Am I just being paranoid, or does being “eco-friendly” run the risk of eliminating our quest for being original, creative designers? If this is the case, then I will quit the movement right here and now.
It’s one thing to say, let’s recycle our clothes, but totally unsettling to hear, let’s only have a couple of pieces in our wardrobe! I don’t know why this rattles my brain, but it does. No, I do not have loads of clothes or a walk-in closet the size of Taj Mahal. I actually hold onto my clothes for as long as I can, unless they start to lose shape, unravel at the seams or smell a bit funky (sometimes, no matter how hard you try – it just doesn’t go away!) I still have a top I bought with the first pay cheque I ever earned. It’s lavender, has a lace décolletage and until recently (as in, 15 years or so ago) wore it proudly under a black blazer to the office. Now it’s hanging quietly in a corner of my closet, waiting to make another appearance before I turn it into a halter top.
Yes, I know, we do buy WAY more clothes than we need. Ever since I saw the documentary, True Cost and learned about fast fashion, I stopped buying clothes “on sale” and stick to high quality, domestically made garments whenever I can. But this is getting harder and harder to do in Canada. Fast fashion, and ugly fast fashion at that, is a way of life here. It’s the main reason why I started to sew again.
Cheap clothes are everywhere. And they seem to come in bundles. Why get 1 crop top when you can get 3 of them for an extra 5 bucks? You don’t need 3 crop tops but if you get them in 3 different colours, then it’s probably okay (it’s not.) You, my friend, are now contributing to the global epidemic of Fast Fashion Proliferation and Over-Consumption of Cheaply Made Goods. This, in turn, contributes to vast amounts of waste filling our landfills which takes hundreds of years to decompose. And before you know it, people who do Yoga and practice Feng Shui are preaching about less is more, and let’s stop buying clothes.
Whoa, let’s stop right there. First of all, Yoga is not for everyone and does Feng Shui really work? And if we stop buying clothes, where is my motivation to make new clothes? Sure, I can probably use left-over material from my sewing projects that I have yet to wear in public. But as soon as I start following instructions in the order that they’re given, I’ll learn how to sew properly and will no longer have these fabric stashes at my disposal.
The need to create is an innate part of the human existence and must be protected at all costs. If we stop creating, we are regressing and reverting back to our cave-man ways. Some people are there already and it’s too late for them. But for the rest of us, there’s hope. We can continue to create, make new things and live minimally at the same time. Although it may sound like an oxymoron, Creative Minimalism is what I’m all about. For a great article about creativity and minimalism working together, read 4 Reasons Why Minimalism and Creativity Go Hand in Hand (Even if you Don’t Come by It Naturally) . Proof that it can be done, if you’re willing to give it a shot.
If you need help or ideas on how to re-use clothing, the team at Fashion Takes Action are heroes in this regard.
Somebody came up with the saying “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Whether it was Einstein, Walt Disney or Cyndi Lauper, I think these words resonate beyond existence. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we should ever give up having fun. The stakes are too high.