The apparel manufacturing process takes a well-documented toll on the environment. Factories use harmful chemicals to treat garments and process excessive amounts of water in washing and dyeing. The dangers extend to the people tasked with sewing, cutting and assembling pieces or attaching hundreds of buttons every single day for startling low wages. There are also people who work in logistics and endure unsafe working conditions or treacherous weather to deliver clothing around the world. At the end of it all, most of the clothing ends up in a landfill.
Then there's us, the consumers. We empty our wallets to buy new clothing on an increasingly regular basis. Weekly drops have made fashion a convenient hobby — and the more convenient it becomes, the worse its impact on our lives and the world around us.
Consumerism is nothing new. But now more than ever, it sits firmly at the center of our identities. In recent years, it became a negative aspect of my life. I shopped online every day. I spent hours Googling to find a specific item and buy it, along with anything else I discovered along the way. I fabricated excuses for almost everything I bought, telling myself I could always resell other pieces and recoup some of the cost.
Today, that mentality is commonplace. The resale market has been flooded with unloved and unvalued clothing that sells for a fraction of the original cost. I was stuck in this cycle, too — my shoe racks buckling, my clothing rods warped and my dresser drawers overflowing. Whatever I was doing wasn't working. I had to make some changes.
So I did. 2019 was the year I became a more conscious fashion consumer. Here's how.