This year I participated in The Social Outfit’s #WearTheChange2020 Campaign to raise awareness and funds for the work they do through education and training of new migrant and refugee communities. The campaign was an ethical styling challenge that involved picking one item from my wardrobe and wearing that every day for a week.
The item I chose was a hand-knitted pink singlet, ethically and sustainably made in Australia by Revel Knitwear. I chose this because it’s an item that although I cherish I know I don’t get enough wear out of… thus, the perfect challenge for said item!
So I wore the same piece of clothing for a week and this is what I learned:
Preparation is key
Well hello, this one is obvious but it’s true. I ended up getting wear out of other items in my wardrobe that had been neglected because I had given myself the time to step back and visualise and plan my outfit for the next day. Having the time to pull from your whole wardrobe aka shop your existing wardrobe will motivate you to look further than your go-to items and utilise items you forgot you had or rarely wear.
I don’t need that much (I may have already known this)
Now of course this statement comes with the privilege of owning enough clothing to provide me with basic needs and style throughout each season, something that not everyone has which is all the more reason to be grateful for what we do have. With a little thought and creativity (maybe some inspiration from Pinterest as well) we can style our own wardrobe to create new outfits; we really don’t need a lot. This is why a capsule wardrobe and investment pieces are key in creating your sustainable closet.
I love knowing the stories behind my clothes
I think there’s something special in having clothing that has a story. I feel pride when someone asks where my clothing comes from and my response is one that I know will hold just as much sentiment five years down the track. This was also behind my reasoning for choosing the item I did. Revel Knitwear is a brand I have watched grow from an idea to the business that it is today; and it also happens to be founded by someone I call a dear friend. I’m thankful to have had a career that has allowed me to connect with so many amazing brand owners and designers in the fashion industry that gives me this personal connection to my clothes.
Outfit repeating should be the norm
I’ve never really given much through on whether someone else likes my outfit because I really just like wearing what is my vibe, but in doing this challenge I gained more confidence to outfit repeat. After all, at what point did we start associating clothes with just one wear and calling it a fashion faux pas when you wear them more than once? I’m proud to choose clothing that I want to become a part of my identity, so naturally I’m going to wear it more than once! It’s silly to throw away our own money and morals for a one-off outfit.
We should cherish the clothes we have and hold value to them in the same way we should hold value to the people that make them whether it be from a style point of view, function or just the basic need that you have clothes on your back.
I encourage you to take outfit challenges that help you reconnect with your wardrobes. There’s many different challenges you can do like this one; there’s the Project 333 Challenge that involves wearing 33 items or less for 3 months and the popular 10×10 capsule wardrobe challenge that follows the same philosophy but with 10 items instead.
If after undertaking outfit challenges you learn to live with (and shop) a lot less and don’t need so many garments, there’s lots of channels you can access to donate your excess clothing. Have a clothes swap with your friends or community, donate to a charity or organisation respectfully. Call first to see if they’re accepting donations since so many have temporarily shut due to COVID-19, and see what items they are in need of.
If we buy less, choose well and make it last, as Vivienne Westwood once said, we can overcome our overconsumption habits and have things in our wardrobe that we love, cherish and use over and over again.
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- 69 Facts and Statistics About Fast Fashion That Will Inspire You To Become An Ethical Fashion Advocate
- 13 Minimalist, Zero Waste and Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Challenges If You’re Keen to Live More Sustainably
All images supplied by author.