It’s easier than ever to buy new clothes, whether you’re shopping online, in-store, or even on social media. The youngest generation of shoppers is inundated with new looks and the constant reminder the more the better. In fact, if you type #fashionhaul into the search bar on Instagram, you’ll find tens of thousands of posts in which people show off heaps of new clothing from their latest shopping spree. For some of us, the Lizzie McGuire character from the Disney show of the same name made us think that being an “outfit repeater” was equivalent to being the biggest loser in school. We’re here to prove that isn’t the case.
Sustainable fashion advocates for not only understanding where your clothes come from but also instilling the mindset that less is more. This is because making and distributing clothing is having a hugely detrimental impact on the environment. With the emergence of fast fashion, clothing output has more than doubled in the past 15 years. This means more carbon emissions, more water use, and more potential chemical leaching into waterways and soil. But some headway has been made. For example, organic cotton doesn’t use harsh chemicals, but it does, unfortunately, use the same amount of water and, right now, organic cotton accounts for only 1% of the total cotton produced globally.
The average American throws away 81 pounds of unwanted garments every year, which equals 26 billion pounds of textiles added to landfills annually. Thankfully, companies are jumping on board the sustainable movement by spreading the word that clothes should be reworn. For example, renting services from Rent the Runway and Urban Outfitters are giving consumers the option of keeping pieces for a limited time and spending less money by utilizing a shared economy—a business model where customers share the goods and services, often through an online platform.
Patagonia’s famous “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign also encouraged the need to think before you spend and encouraged shoppers to rewear and reuse pieces. The timing of this campaign was particularly important considering it was launched for Black Friday, the day of the year when Americans spend nearly $5 billion on purchases.
Fear not! We’re here to help you embrace the rewear culture. Consider taking on the 30 Wears Challenge. Basically, try to wear a piece you bought at least 30 times before deciding what to do with it next. That could mean passing it on to a friend, donating it to a charity shop, or even recycling it into a different product. Make a point to think about this challenge before you buy your next clothing item. If you don’t see yourself wearing it at least 30 times, then don’t buy it. Simple as that. This is a great way to weed out the impulse buys from the staple piece buys.
Being an outfit repeater shows that you care about what you’ve bought and the effort that was made to create the piece. Wearing pieces multiple times and combining pieces to create new looks is the whole point of being stylish. Fun fact: the CEO of Levi’s admitted to wearing jeans for a year without washing them. While cleanliness-wise this doesn’t seem very appealing, one thing is for sure—repeating an outfit or rewearing a piece doesn’t make you any less cool or fashionable. It might end up doing just the opposite.
What are your tips for rewearing and reusing your favorite pieces? We want to hear from you. Comment below!