by Cashmere Wrap & Macadamia Nuts
Meaningful. High quality. Timeless. Planned. Seasonless. Thought through. Selected. Flattering. Those are my first associations with “slow fashion”, a lifestyle philosophy opposing mindless consumerism and fixation on short lived trends, treating purchased garments as disposable, short lived additions to an ever changing closet. An illusion of cheap fashion is anything but, for it costs real money, but presents no real value, weights heavily on the environment throughout a full life cycle of a product, from manufacturing and transportation, through storage up to a purchase and a speedy disposal. There is nothing affordable about cheap fashion, not for you nor the environment.
I regularly visit Fretex, an established chain of charity shops run by Salvation Army, supported by donations from individual citizens. Apart from a chance to find hidden treasures, I can observe what others deem unnecessary. It is scary to see that the majority of pieces in Fretex shops bear labels from cheap high street brands, but even more frightening when you realize how many of those have original price tags on. What does it mean? In general people buy and throw way too easily, because one doesn’t mind to part with a garment that is valueless and of no significance. To follow the slow fashion philosophy it is necessary to make friends with pieces that you own – select them carefully, invest in the relationship, maintain it and go through life together for many years to come. Are you smiling? I stopped some time ago, when I made an estimation of total cost of purchases that I made, but: a) never wore; b) didn’t like; c) were of inferior quality; d) were not flattering, too loose or too tight; e) did not match anything in my closet; … That made me reflect and in the end there was nothing to smile about. Over the years I have misplaced and in the process lost thousands of euros, spending so much money on garments that did little to bring any value to my life and failed to be useful in any way.
The only gain from that are multiple experiences that helped me to get where I am today. So yes, I know the feeling of facing an open closet and thinking “I have nothing to wear”, finding clothes I honestly forgot I owned, buying something because of a label, hiding purchases to avoid questions from my dear Husband, spending too much money and ruining my budget, feeling the urge to hit the shops and “buy something new”, tossing low quality garments after few weeks, shopping when angry, stressed or upset… What I try to say is that I have been there, I know how it feels and what it costs.
I write this text for you as much as for myself. I think I am half way through on my own journey to a mindful consumption, more consciousness and awareness in my approach to style and fashion, but I still am guilty of taking shortcuts and allowing myself for occasional weaknesses. Like buying that great wool scarf, which was an impulse, but I wear it so often ever since that in the end I forgave myself for that small transgression, I absolutely love my new scarf and its quality is superb. At this point I am after a serious wardrobe detox, know how to say no to high street seductions (most of the time…), have much better control over my budget (even though I earn more that I did back in time) and with great help of inspirational books and blogs managed to build a solid base of timeless classics. Still, there is work to be done, so perhaps I can share my reflections and experiences with you, offering inspiration to those who are going through the same process and in turn getting more motivation to carry on with my own progress.