The slow fashion and sustainable fashion conversation is finally turning in the right direction: addressing fashion’s overproduction problem, and subsequently, our overconsumption problem. An estimated 92 billion tons of textile waste is generated every year – and yet fashion brands continue to build overproduction and obsolescence into their supply chain.
We know all this, and yet it’s *really* hard to slow down our consumption and fully embrace slow fashion. Not only are our brains programmed for novelty, but the world we live in is designed to make us focus on everything we *don’t* have, all so that we can shop more.
When I was little and wanted something my mom wasn’t prepared to buy for me, she would always ask if we had something at home that would do the same job. Now, whenever I’ve needed something new, I ask myself the same question. Chances are, I usually come up with something. It turns out, this attitude works wonders when you want to get more out of your closet and effectively, shop your closet to make new outfits out of old clothes.
(Total disclaimer; I did not always use this approach with my closet. At one point in my life where I was constantly comparing myself to everyone else and had a lot of disposable income, I was a style disaster. I was never a shopaholic, but boy did I make bad and wasteful decisions. Likely because I finally had the means to do so, but also because I lacked knowledge about elements of style, and confidence about my own aesthetic)
What I’m getting at is, that if you’re having trouble curbing impulse buys, asking yourself this one little question can change the way you shop, and also shift your mindset to resourcefulness instead of instant gratification.
What I love about this, is that it takes the focus away from you not being able to acquire whatever it is you want and feeling bad about it. Instead, it reframes your need into problem solving, and tasking your brain to come up with something out of “nothing”. The beauty of this is, the more you do it, the better you get at becoming creative with what you already have.
It becomes such an innate way to approach “needing” new things that eventually it becomes a fun and rewarding process. Confidence in your ability to get creative with what you already have in your closet grows, and your need for new things diminishes.
Of course, every now and then you will need something new. But that pause gives you the time and space to truly reflect on it and determine whether it is a true need or not. For the record, I have another series of questions you can ask yourself, but this is a great question to start with if you’re just beginning your slow fashion or conscious closet journey.