"I have nothing to wear!" How often have we exclaimed this even though we have a closet stuffed full of clothes? Yet, it happens - so we might head out and purchase something new at a cheap price point, and there it is - the fast fashion habit! The problem is, it is causing huge harm to the environment, and perpetuates poor labour practices. But, not to worry, we have AK Bryan here to help us to break the fast fashion habit, with practical tips and great ideas!
As you are aware, the fashion industry has been ramping up the production of inexpensive and cheaply made fashion and it comes at a high cost - to the environment and to the poorly paid workers in the industry. The problem with excess production of cheaply made garments is that it is placing an enormous toll on the environment. Everything from the source textiles whether it is cotton or synthetics, and all the way along the production process there are resources used and carbon emitted, and waste generated.
And what are we left with? Clothes that are cheaply made, don't last, made of synthetic (aka plastics derived from fossil fuels), and people paid inadequate wages and often with poor working conditions. And somehow, we still have "nothing to wear"!
So, here to help solve some of these problems is Sustainable Influencer and Thrift Stylist, AK Bryan. She is building an online brand and trend that looks first to clothes that are already available to us, either in our own closets or in Thrift shops. She helps people find their own unique style without having to go out and purchase new clothes to get there.
In our conversation, she shares a wealth of tips on how to sort through your current wardrobe to find the clothes that really work for you, so that you can feel great, look great, and do something great for the planet in the process. She suggests that a review of our closet starts with first setting goals for what we want to accomplish. Is it to pare down, to be able to find the clothes that we love, or to just be able to get dressed in the morning more easily?
Then she introduces us to the idea that we need to create a vision board for what we are looking for - offline, old school version of cut and paste from old magazines is fine, or the Pinterest type is also fine. But we need to get savvy about the colours and silhouettes that work for our skin tone and body shape. Great starting point!
As we sort through what is already in our wardrobe it is important according to AK to acknowledge that clothing can be sentimental. It can remind us of the times when we wore it, who we were with, what size we were, and so much more. So, it's Ok to take your time with the process and understand that we can have sentimental attachments to the garments that we own, but, we still need to remember that original goal, so it may still be necessary to pass along those clothes that don't work well for us.
If we are passing along our clothes, it is important to do so with intention, in fact, AK suggests that we should be thinking about the end of our clothing's life cycle right from the beginning. Asking ourselves, how often will I wear this? What is the quality of his item? Will it last? And, is it synthetic and going to shed microplastics into the wash water and head out into the environment with every wash?
AK recommends that we need to get a lot better with how we care for our clothes as well. Not just to preserve the clothing that we own, but also to prevent the unnecessary wear and tear from washing too often and the release of those microplastics that comes from each wash of synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon and anything stretchy.
To help green your clothing care practices, AK recommends:
1. Not washing it each time you wear or use it, only as needed.
2. Wash your synthetics in a microfibre capturing laundry bag. (Available on her website and elsewhere.)
3. Wearing with care - wear the right clothes for the task.
It is a really great podcast episode with too many tips to pack in here, so have a listen to this episode!
And, if you are rocking those thrifted fashions, I would LOVE to see it! Tag me @khflourishing on Instagram.
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