Pictured: City of Canada Bay Mayor Angelo Tsirekas with (back row) Five Dock residents, Dana Pekic with her children, Harlen and Havana Hunter and Allison Greenland with her children (front row) Ayla and Avery Greenland. Dana is the first City of Canada Bay resident to book a collection with Clothing Cleanup
So we know fast fashion creates enormous amounts of waste, clutters your wardrobe and puts a strain on your credit card and the option of “Slow Clothing” (like slow food) is gaining momentum, but why is it still so hard to throw out your favourite pair of jeans or not hit the “add more” items to your cart button on the showpo site?
Unfortunately we have culture of consumption ingrained into us – and strangely this has been transposed onto our reward/punishment psychology. Think Santa and presents when you’ve been good and buying yourself new shoes when you get a promotion or new 2XU tights because you can finally get around the Bay Run. All fashion label and retailer marketing is modeled on consumer behavior and our aspirations and motivations for buying – their photography, imagery, models, culture is all designed to bait us (and our wallets). Here are some guidelines that might help make the switch from fast fashion to slow clothing
1. Lead, don’t follow.
Sure the latest Burberry campaign is cool. But are you six foot tall with a lazy $3000 to spend on a handbag? The opening pages of magazines, billboards, TV campaigns for sales at David Jones, instagram posts for Australian made playsuits are all trying to get your attention. Ignore them all. You are a fashionista in your pyjamas. Style is on the inside. You do not need “their” look to be fabulous. Design your own look. Wear your mum’s shoes with your handmade cardigan and Vinnies scarf. This is true couture. For inspiration check out Alex Van Os or Inner Westies Annika Victoria and Kassia Aksenov.
2. Clear out your wardrobe every six months (winter/summer).
The general rule is, if it hasn’t been worn in the last 12 months – chuck it. Sell or donate frequently. It’s easy. Canada Bay Council have recently introduced a clothing van pick up every Thursday. As part of King Cotton’s recycling and re-use textile program, the company has teamed up with Canada Bay Council to make it easier for textiles to avoid landfill. The “new, free clothing and textile collection and recycling service for residents that will divert over 660kg of waste from landfill each year,” Mayor Angelo Tsirekas said. Accepted items include clothes, shoes, belts, handbags, accessories, towels, bedsheets and blankets. Donated items must be in a reasonable condition – no stained, ripped or unclean clothes or shoes. To book a collection, visit: www.clothingcleanup.com.au or call 1300 889 014
2. Buy second hand or natural fabrics only.
Fashion design consultant Ms Milburn is an advocate of buying natural fabrics only and says that “manmade fibres are effectively plastic clothes that don’t decay readily when they are sent off to landfill and they’re shedding micro plastic particles along the way,” Ms Milburn also noted the wasteful nature of the fashion industry when manufacturing these garments (20 per cent of fabric can end up on the factory floor) Natural fabrics include cotton, wool and silk, whereas man-made fabrics are made from petroleum-derived chemicals and plastics include nylon, synthetics, vinyl and polyester. Scour thrift shops, vintage shops and use apps like Shedd. There are some great shops in the Inner West (King St, South Newtown, Darling St, Rozelle),
3. Separate (and understand) emotional fashion shopping.
Resist temptation to buy clothing that doesn’t fit properly, is “on-trend” or is on being bought because it is a good buy/bargain rather than because it is needed. Avoid shopping when you are upset or having a bad hair or fat day. Make thoughtful meaningful decisions when you purchase clothing – ask – does it make me feel good, how often will I wear it, are the creators ethical? Think of your wardrobe as a collection and buy holistically rather impulsively. Stay away from websites like www.wish.com that reward you to shop. Slow down and make considered, informed decisions when you buy and dress, you’ll feel better, look better and make the world a better place
4. Sew, craft, create.
There is nothing more rewarding that making something that receives compliments from your peers. Not only is your creativity rewarded, magical things happen to your self-esteem and your image and your personal creative process improves. If unsure, start small, knit scarves while Netflix binging or just drop into Spotlight at Birkenhead Point for some inspiration. There are hundreds of natural fabrics, trimmings, ideas that will get the creative juices flowing. Grab a sketch pad, or camera and experiment with colours, textures and your own skin tones, shape and feelings. Many struggle with the actual time it takes to create something magnificent – but that is the point – take projects on one step at a time and enjoy the process.
Australians buy 27kgs of textiles every year and discard 23 kgs and as shown on the War on Waste, that is 6 tonnes every 10 minutes of textile landfill. So rather than dress to kill, dress to reduce landfill. It is definitely sexier.