The other day I was presenting for a large group of people at an international event. It was a webinar, so I didn’t really know how many people were there. For all I know they could have all left the conversation while I was speaking and it would have been an empty room by the time I was finished. Didn’t matter, though, I was presenting a topic that I found super interesting, “standing out in the current fashion scene as a sustainable fashion brand”.
One of the things that I had to answer was, “what is sustainability?”. Before I gave my answer I quoted an answer that I found online, which was a bit like this; sustainability is a way to give the current generation what it needs without taking from the next generations. My answer was this; Sustainability is the status quo. Sustainability is normal.
If you want to make your wardrobe more sustainable, you just do that. You buy what you normally would buy in regular stores except you buy them from stores that sell clothes that are made sustainably.
Now why do I call buying sustainable the status quo when you are still finding it difficult to navigate the sustainable clothing-scene?
Well, because it is not.
Talked to me 10 years ago and I would have had a different opinion. Back than when I wanted to work with natural fabrics in a collection I would have had about 10 magnificent different hues of brown to chose from. I still have the patches that I requested online, at about 7 different stores that did online shipping of natural materials. There was no way I could get the materials from where I was living. They were all very crude, with washed down colours. There was no way I could do with them what I wanted to do with them. It was hard for a brand to produce truly sustainable items at that time.
Not now. Now there are so many ways to be more sustainable with your wardrobe and new brands emerge weekly. The ways to find these brands, one of the things that was troublesome in the past, are also coming up like mushrooms too.
If you are still struggling with buying more sustainable it is possible that you are thinking with too much limitations. You are literally trying to keep your old habits while just trying to be more sustainable. Like I said to the people that were listening to the webinar, what else can you do? Okay, so you are sustainable, what more are you? What are your core values and do you clothes represent those? You values do not stop at clothes, right? What else is there for you?
I am talking about sustainability+.
The problem is that sustainability works in such a different way from normal fashion that it is impossible to change without really changing. The struggle comes from the clash between how you are used to doing things and wanting sustainability to fit into those same habits. You want to buy the clothes that you are used to buying, only they should be made in a sustainable way.
Simply changing the source of your clothes will make you feel better about them, but doing it without looking at who you really are means you pass on a great opportunity to reconsider what clothes could do for you.
And that is sustainability+. It just doesn’t stop at sustainability because solving the problems fashion production represent through sustainability can mean so many things!
Fashion being sustainable might mean the production of clothes that are only worn one single time. It might mean wearing the same kind of pants for everybody. It may mean having no secondhand clothing anymore. It may even mean having only one outfit where many outfits can be projected upon. There is simply no saying what sustainability still has in store for us, but knowing yourself really well is the quickest way to a sustainable wardrobe that you love, right here, right now!
If you want to be more sustainable out of guilt for the environment it is not going to make you feel well. You could be more sustainable while having fun. You can have fun changing your wardrobe if you make sure that the things that you are trying to do are in line with your personality. Because changing to a wardrobe that suits you better is always more sustainable.
I will say that again, especially for you; a wardrobe that is filled with items that are perfect for you is per definition more sustainable. Clothes that are so awesome that you never want to let go of are the most sustainable option. You will make sure they do not wear out so quickly by washing them less or repairing them. You will use old to create new or have somebody create something new. You will feel fantastic washing an outfit that is soo awesome by hand because the outfit makes you feel fantastic and you want it to last.
Sustainablility+ is more than just being more sustainable. It means you look at what is important to you and integrate that into you buying, caring and wearing habits.
And it is more fun because it is not done out of guilt. It is done out of love for yourself.
What is your biggest sustainability-lifestyle-wardrobe struggle? Let me know!