Fourteen years ago, I was graduating from college and had a closet full of clothes, most of which I had no real love for. Even though I was studying fashion and starting my career in the industry, I hadn’t fully developed my personal style or the understanding that your clothes should be an extension of your personality. Clothing is a human necessity, but 20 years ago clothing started to become a human consumption. We stopped buying items that would last us for years and started buying and throwing away clothing at a vigorous rate.
Past generations either made their clothing or purchased from a store or designer that created well-made garments. Without the social urgency to wear new clothing every day, people were investing in pieces that would hold up to constant wear. With the development of the capitalist economy, consumers stopped making their own clothing and indulged in buying more from shops. This shift saw every generation get further away from understanding how their clothing is made. Due to the introduction of offshore manufacturers, prices have been driven down and clothing has gotten cheaper and cheaper, allowing consumers to get in the habit of buying clothing without even asking whether they like it, let alone love it.
With the popularity of fast fashion brands who sent the message that we need new clothing every 2-3 weeks, and who are more than willing to supply us, we have become consumers. I was right there along for the ride, I lived 4 blocks away from an H&M and was there far too often. Every pendulum swings back though and as I became disillusioned with a closet that looked like every other girl, I started to analyze myself and my own personal style, looking at what kind of pieces I would need in my closet for life. It took me awhile to develop this style, maybe that comes with age and being more secure in wearing whatever I want, but now when I walk into my closet I always have something to wear, because I have invested in pieces that reflect myself, that are well made, and that make me feel good and look good. From my band tees I have collected from local resellers, to my vintage Penny Lane Jacket that I got for $60 at a second-hand shop, made over 40 years ago and still in perfect condition, to my Frye Boots which I waited years to be able to afford, but will last me forever and of course my Hunter Jean Jacket, Denim Carryall & all my classic Copious pieces. Each item holds sentimental value and when I wear them I feel like me, what more could we ask from these items that we spend our hard-earned money on, but for them to bring us joy and help us express our style and personal identity?
Hunter Jean Jacket, vintage band tees, thrifted fashion, secondhand clothing
This is just the start of the story, from here I want to explore with you what quality we should demand from our clothing and the people selling it, how we can spot throw-away trends, invest in staples, and how damaging our over consumption is to the environment. This series is not here to point the finger, that is why I started with my story, the one where I was an over consumer of things that brought me no joy. Together I want to learn more about what we can all do to enjoy fashion in a responsible way.
Written by Carissa McCaig

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