2019 Resolutions - Destroy Fast Fashion, Save the World

New Year's resolutions aren't for everyone. A lot of people don't like to make them because time is a human-made construct, and if you want to make a commitment to something, do it whenever you want instead of waiting for a fresh year. I can respect that, and I can also respect it when people decide to better themselves and use the ticking over of a new year as a springboard for their motivation. I find myself somewhere in the middle, and not just because my New Year resolutions are being made almost two weeks into January instead of the first of the month. Challenges like "Junk Free June" or "30 day plank challenge" appeal to me because a month isn't very long in the grand scheme of things. It's an easy commitment to make, and the results are generally achievable. The older I get the more I realise that a year isn't very long in the grand scheme of things either. So why not make some year-long (and hopefully, lifetime) goals?

Fast Fashion and its effects have been making more of an appearance in media and our daily lives. Stores like K-Mart and The Warehouse that provide cheap, short-lived clothing encourage us to cycle through our clothes regularly. Even more expensive brands fall into this trap. Summer clothes made from polyester still lurk in ready-to-wear racks (I don't know about you, but polyester chiffon is the devil and makes me sweat like nothing else).

There are plenty of articles and resources out there to help you make more sustainable choices when shopping for clothes, but that's not what this post is about. These are my personal goals for the year and onward, and they obviously won't work for everyone. But maybe you can get some ideas of how you'd like to think about your own future and the decisions you make to - literally - save the world.

1. Limit purchases of ready-to-wear

Over the years I've slowly stopped buying things off the rack. Op-shopping is a hobby for me anyway, so this wasn't too difficult. I still bought underwear and activewear new, and continued to buy from independent sellers and small companies. This year I want to seriously limit the amount of clothes I buy in general. I'm not going to buy clothes from op shops, excluding vintage pieces. While buying second-hand clothing is more sustainable, I still found myself buying clothes needlessly, in styles I didn't necessarily like or would wear, simply because it was cheap. This shows I still have that same fast-fashion mindset I was trying to be rid of.

Source: Noted.co.nz

Now, what to do with all the clothes I have accumulated? There are many I have no interest in wearing. More and more these days op shops are turning away clothes donations as they are inundated.  Clothes bins are another option, though it's difficult to say how much will end up in landfill after all of that.

Instead of dumping everything in one go, I'm going to carefully sort my clothes to donate into categories:

  • Vintage items / items that no longer fit - These will be sold to people who will love and care for the items
  • Good quality clothing - These clothes will be dropped off to Rainbow Youth to assist people in gender affirmation, or to Auckland City Mission
  • Clothing with good quality fabric - I will be able to up-cycle a lot of the clothing I own. Either it doesn't fit, or is a little threadbare in places, or too stained to donate
  • Other clothing in good nick - The remainder of my polyester clothes and clothes I just don't wear anymore will most likely be donated to a clothing bin. I'm not super happy with this but I need to look into more alternatives
  • Others - This category encompasses things that are too threadbare to salvage, or not fit for anyone to wear anymore. I'm open to suggestions!
Things I will still be buying new are handmade items, commissioned garments from independent sewists, and items from small companies that are made well.

2. Sew more everyday clothes

Due to my first resolution, I now have a gap in my wardrobe to fill. While I'm quite comfortable sewing blouses, dresses, and vintage reproductions, I haven't yet wandered into the mire that is underwear and active wear. In short - stretch knits. Being able to sew my own lingerie would be amazing. Imagine perfectly fitting bras! Hard, I know. I have already made steps in this direction by purchasing Simplicity's reprint of 8510 - a 1930s lingerie set.

Active wear is a whole other beast. What sort of fabric to use? Is power mesh an option? There is a lot for me to learn in this department. But to be able to sew high quality, long-wearing, and comfortable active wear would be an invaluable skill to have.

3. Create more sustainable household items

What I mean by this is to first and foremost implement a make-do-and-mend attitude towards common, everyday consumables. On my list already is to make a set of produce bags to use at the supermarket instead of using their single-use plastic bags. Additionally, there are actually crochet patterns for things like dishcloths. My mindset in this area should be to first see if I can make it myself. If I can't, I will look for the most sustainable alternative. 

© Yarn Blossom Boutique

4. Eat less meat

I'm not going to go into the effects of the meat industry on our planet, as it's something you can read about if you're actually interested in that sort of thing. Suffice it to say it's one of the easiest things I can do right now to make an impact.

In conclusion

Sustainability is something we should all be thinking about. There are so many little things we can all do to help, and these are just the kind of things I can realistically put into practice this year. Each month I'll try and post an update on the steps I've taken to realise these goals, and pop them under the "Destroy Fast Fashion" tag (it's very dramatic, I love it).