Most of us can remember our mothers or grandmothers mending clothes or at least you would have heard the stories. My mom often tells me how they had to repair their clothes by darning or sewing patches onto worn out garments. I can even remember her mending our clothes when I was little, but as time went by it became something to be ashamed of – you only repaired clothes if you were poor. Fast fashion made is very easy to replace clothes. You can afford to buy a dress of low quality, that looks tattered after a few wears and washes, and then replace it with another dress of low quality. And so the cycle can continue on and on. The big issue isn’t even the quality of fast fashion clothing, but of the cost to the earth and the people making the clothes. I think it is time to remember how to take care of clothes and how to keep them in our closets for longer.
Consumers, now more than ever, are curious about where their clothes come from and how they were made. We feel let down by the fast fashion industry. Inexpensive, mass produced and marketed fashion trends are contributing massively to the decline of our climate. The slow fashion movement attempts to be the cure.
That brings me to the main reason for this post. Can you wear a white summer dress into autumn and maybe even in our mild South African winters? Well, I’ve decided to give it a try.
You cannot live in our beautiful country and say that you don’t see poverty everyday. Because of this, South African consumers are willing to donate unwanted clothes to local charitable causes. We have a culture of donating clothes to less fortunate people, but buying pre-loved clothing is a relatively new concept. Students and eccentrics would scour markets for vintage finds, but most consumers just want to save a few rands and still look decent. The easy and affordable way is to buy from fast fashion brands.
Last time I shared my closet wishlist with you. One of the items on the list is a pair of black pants. I removed my only pair from my closet, because the fit wasn’t quite right. So, I had no black pants. Autumn is around the corner and it was my intention to get pants that I could wear all through winter. If you want to see Belinda and I discussing our lists, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxs7V7Uct5M
Lately though, I have been doing a little bit of research regarding the sustainability of cotton. It is a natural fiber, and it does biodegrade after time (as sometimes, chemicals can be used in the process of creating the fiber). However, from planting to harvesting, enormous amounts of water is used. Even when growing cotton organically, without the use of fertilizers or pesticides, the amount of water is astronomical, and that sort of makes this fiber a less sustainable option than other natural fibers available.
I haven’t purged my closet recently, except to remove damaged clothes. They had to be really beyond repair. The most important reason for this is that I had so little clothes for a while that I just kept everything. (You can read more about that in my previous blog post https://cutt.ly/msjslfs.) Then the tide changed, but I didn’t. So now I have an urge to purge.
I can’t say that I have a lot of clothes, but I don’t think I have too little either. It is all relative, don’t you think? A capsule wardrobe usually have between 25 and 50 pieces, which includes clothing, shoes and accessories. Most capsule wardrobes have 30 items or less. But what about minimalists? I feel that they are a bit extreme at 10 items.
Every end of the year, it is my practice to take stock of the past year and to see where I can improve myself in different areas of my life, for the coming year. In 2019, I started off very well committing to buying only one item each of the following per month: one item of clothing, one accessory, one pair of shoes and an item of makeup. For me, this didn’t include any replacement items eg. if a foundation finished, I gave myself allowance to replace it.