Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t worn more than half of the clothes in my wardrobe in over a year. Some items I had bought for a night out and never worn again. I recently undertook a wardrobe purge after being inspired by slow fashion, a minimalist approach to buying clothes.
Now I’m sure I’m not alone in having an overstuffed closet. In the fashion world, the only constant is change. Catwalk trends are quickly imitated and cheaply manufactured, hitting clothing giants such as H&M and Forever 21 in a matter of weeks and becoming obsolete almost as quickly. Now this means a lot of people can afford to wear the current trends, but it means a lot of money is spent on poorly made garments. And recent exposés into the unethical working conditions and environmental impact of these companies have highlighted just how unsustainable this system is.
Slow fashion, a term first used by author and design activist Kate Fletcher, is an idea that moves away from all this. Brands that adhere to the slow fashion philosophy typically have a slower turnaround, use sustainably-sourced materials and labour, and produce higher quality garments.
There is also a small following of people that extend this ideology to an entire minimalist lifestyle. One such person, fashion blogger and Youtuber Jenny Mustard, makes videos on keeping her life free of material and aesthetic clutter. In one video, a tour of her new apartment, she describes her unconventional approach of only buying the bare essential furniture until she finds items she is completely happy with- for example, roughing it on an air mattress for a month before buying her perfect mattress.
While we may not all be drawn to the extremeness of a minimalist lifestyle, there’s certainly something cathartic and satisfying about parting with things you don’t need and being more thoughtful about what you buy.
“The Business of Ethical Fashion,” last modified 1 July 2013, https://www.notjustalabel.com/editorial/business-ethical-fashion
“H&M factories in Myannmar employed 14-year-old workers,” last modified 21 August 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/21/hm-factories-myanmar-employed-14-year-old-workers
“Minimalist Apartment Tour” YouTube video, 7.07. Posted by
“Jenny Mustard,” June 10, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u3FIJebnrA