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How do you deal with the dark side of fast fashion?

I know that it’s hard to keep wearing your clothes for a longer period with the same love you did when you wore it for the first time. I also know how tempted you are when you see all these new stylish garments in the showcases. New trends inspired by the catwalks are coming out every week! Moreover, fashion bloggers and influencers are churning out their new outfits so intensely, that you feel “out of trend” if you haven’t shopped for two weeks. The goal of fast fashion is for consumers to buy as many garments as possible, as quickly as possible. This doesn’t seem to me like a sustainable lifestyle, so some time ago, I changed my mindset about shopping clothes. I also stopped being completely blind to the ugly truths of the fast fashion industry.

Things that fast fashion industry doesn’t want you to think about

So how are the popular clothing brands able to mass produce their products so swiftly? They use sweatshop labor in Bangladesh, Vietnam and other developing countries. In these factories, mostly women and children work hard long working hours for less than $3 per day in horrific and dangerous conditions. I’m sure you’re already aware of that, but in case you’d like to find out more details, you can spend hours here. Another truth is that fast fashion is a disaster for our planet. Negative environmental impact, water pollution, the use of toxic chemicals and increasing levels of textile waste makes fashion one of the dirtiest industries in the world. Clever campaigns of some popular brands make us think that they are OK and even doing good in the world. But as long as they’re still selling clothes as cheaply and as quickly as they are, these “green” initiatives aren’t going to make a difference. But it’s all about the profit, my friends, that’s the deal breaker.

The change starts with you

Well, we can’t expect these fast fashion giants to change their business model. What we can do however, is to start with ourselves and change our shopping model! It’s tough to make big changes overnight, but we can be more mindful and minimize our excessive consumption patterns. So, how to start? First of all clean your wardrobe and I’m sure you will realize you have a lot more things to wear than you thought. When you go shopping, prefer quality over quantity. What I’ve learned during the last years I’ve been sewing is to be really picky about the fabric quality and its composition. Check how the garment is sewn, you can see that some clothing is just garbage designed to fall apart after one wash. Stop with the impulsive shopping. Buy only clothes you are 100% sure about and you know you’re gonna wear it for a long time. Also, it’s always a good thing to support local brands and designers who manufacture or handcraft their products with care and love.

Finding an ethical way to shop fast fashion brands is tough, but when we buy clothes more responsibly, we send market signals to change the system for good. The more demand for sustainable clothing we generate as consumers, the more supply there will be. So let’s start treating our wardrobe consciously! Will you join me?

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Lifestyle

The Rewards Of decluttering Your Life

I started to think about the clutter issues a few months ago while I was moving to a new place. I realized I was surrounded by things that I didn’t need or I didn’t even like. I categorized all the stuff that had no value to me as clutter and I got rid of them. But this was just a beginning because there are so many areas in our lives that need to be cluttered up. Every time I search for something in my handbag, I get mad about the mess I accumulate inside. It keeps reminding me that decluttering is not a one-time action, but maintaining things relatively clutter-free is an ongoing process I still need to work on!

Reasons you need to declutter

You may think that it’s not a big deal because everyone has some extra stuff, right? But too much junk can actually be harmful to your health. No doubt that clutter invites chaos into your life, it can distract you or weigh you down. In a messy environment, it’s harder to focus and process information, so you have to expend more energy to do everyday tasks. It also stresses you out as according to researchers there is a link between clutter and depression. This extra stress caused by clutter could be the thing that leads you to overeat. The bottom line is that however innocent the whole situation might seem, the cost of ignoring the clutter can be higher than you imagine. By devoting a little of your time to get rid of the things that aren’t functional and don’t make you happy anymore, you’ll reap the rewards of pleasing living areas, reduced stress, and a more organized and productive existence.

Time to take a massive action

Just look around you and start the process in order to simplify your life with easy items like useless receipts and similar papers. If you are one of those people who get super nostalgic getting rid of a train ticket, take a photo of it before you scrap it and throw it away. You can digitalize almost everything, so your memories can live in the cyber space forever without being a physical clutter. Then go room by room and drawer by drawer. You don’t have to do it in one day, but make a plan with milestones and deadlines. An important thing to keep in mind is, that every item needs a place where it “lives.” You never lose anything when you put it where it lives.

Going over all the things you have, you may find asking yourself questions that hold you back like “What if I need this one day?”. Instead of that think about questions that will work for you. My favorites are: Have I used this recently? Would I miss it if I lost it in a fire? Would I keep it if this was someone else’s stuff? Would I buy this today? If you are still not sure after that, I suggest you apply the method of the “unsure box”, where you put everything you are not sure about. You will keep that box for a month or two (write an exact date on it). During that period you are able to take anything you need from that box and these are the things you will keep. After the expiration date is over, you have to throw the box away with the remaining items as it is without opening it again.

If you find it difficult to get rid of something because you spent a lot of money on it, remember that the damage has been already made. It’s gone and just because it was expensive, it doesn’t mean it’s worth keeping. You will not miss it and after a month you won’t even remember that you had it. You don’t need to throw it away, you can donate it to somebody who will utilize it.

When it comes to downsizing your wardrobe get a friend, family member or significant other to help you with it. They will hold you accountable and give you an honest opinion. Put all the clothes you have in one pile. That way you will see the number of clothes you have and you will probably get overwhelmed. How much of that do you actually wear? Hold up each piece and ask some tough questions. Besides the cliché ones, like “When did you last wear something,” come up with hard-hitting questions that may make you feel a little uncomfortable, but definitely will bring the result you need. An example could be: “How did I feel the last time I wore this?” or “Is this a representation of my ‘fantasy self’?”

Since I’m on a massive mission to declutter, I was excited to discover the Kon Mari Method by Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo, whose book can walk you through her extreme strategy for simplifying, organizing and storing your belongings.

Clutter prevention

Now when you have done some decluttering, the good news is that you will be able to control your purchases easily. If you don’t know what you have, it costs you money. Try to keep your space airy and do not accumulate new things. Be smarter of what you are buying, because that’s where it all starts anyway. Don’t buy anything you are not sure about, don’t buy “good deals” and don’t buy back-ups! Be honest with yourself to find out the reason you are buying that because maybe you are doing emotional shopping or you are buying it because it’s cheap. You don’t want to bring these items at home because half a year later you will face the question whether you should get rid of it because you don’t use it. Take care of the things you have and you love, simplify your life and be more minimalistic. Be pure 🙂

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