“Clothes could have more meaning and longevity if we think less about owning the latest or cheapest thing and develop more of a relationship with the things we wear. Building a wardrobe over time, saving up and investing in well-made pieces, obsessing over the perfect hem, luxuriating in fabrics, and patching and altering our clothes are old-fashioned habits. But they’re also deeply satisfying” - Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion
The fashion industry is one of the most unsustainable industries on the planet, responsible for creating an immense amount of pollution and carbon emissions, and though many of us are not able to change the way fast fashion operates immediately, we can make a change through our wardrobes, through individual actions that can make so much of a difference when committed to collectively.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you would probably have seen us use the phrase ‘conscious closet’ every now and then. It’s a term that was popularized by author and slow fashion advocate Elizabeth Cline through her book ‘The Conscious Closet’, and it essentially describes a closet that is curated in order to reduce harm to our environment.
Her book particularly focuses on shifting many of our current widespread views on fashion and clothing, not necessarily buying but how we treat the clothes that we already have. In an interview with The Cut she states, “You’ll notice that the book is not really geared toward buying. It’s about recognizing quality. It’s about building a wardrobe and loving what you’ve got. It’s about mending your clothes. It’s about sustainable laundry techniques. There’s space between individual actions and structural change, and I think it’s culture that’s in the middle. The culture is these habits and rituals and customs that we develop that need to exist outside of buying.”
And so, today, we want to give you the tools and tips to adjust your perspective to actively tackle and change the current culture, striving towards a more sustainable fashion industry. We’ll tell you a bit more about how you can get started creating your own sustainable, conscious, thoughtful, ethical closet.
Rethinking your closet
The core of a conscious closet is this: it has everything you need.
Now, this may seem simple but the fashion world is known to make us believe that we ‘need’ more than we actually do. Trends cycle in and out faster than ever and may convince us that we need to keep up too.
But that just isn’t the case. There are always silhouettes that are classic and timeless, pieces that can pair with anything, as well as ones that suit our own individual styles and body types. And so, the first important step to take is to evaluate what pieces you wear and what you neglect - it’s a simple idea but will certainly help signal the industry that we as individuals demand better sustainable fashion systems.
Bianca Rangecroft, founder of digital wardrobe app Whering, states in this Vogue article, “We need to be able to let go of clothes we aren’t wearing anymore and sell or pass them on to keep fashion circular. More importantly, auditing your wardrobe also helps you make future purchases you know you’ll love long-term, rather than buying into trends.”
Once your audit is done, your new outlook will inform future purchases, purchases that prioritize buying clothing that do environmental good and are pieces you know you’ll wear often.
“Andrea Cheong, a sustainability influencer and founder of the Mindful Monday Method (a five-step guide to a more conscious wardrobe), says it’s important to consider why previous pieces haven’t worked. “The Mindful Monday Method asks you to analyse what you don’t want more than what you do,” she says. “This is because you’ll see similarities like a certain retailer or silhouette that doesn’t agree with you.”” - vogue.co.uk
Going through this process, you’ll notice how much easier it is for you to put together looks either for your everyday or for occasions. Your closet will hopefully be composed of all your favourites that you’ll love to wear over and over again - and by doing so you’re doing our environment a favour! A core issue within the fashion industry is the immense waste it creates both through production and through our own choice to buy and discard rapidly, which adds to landfills that create toxic ecosystems. Valuing the clothes we have, as well as recycling or giving away clothing we don’t want anymore, means we don’t contribute to that problem anymore.
And so, we’ll take you through the clear steps you should take to create your very own conscious closet.
The Starter Kit
There is no strict way to create your conscious closet, truly it’s up to you to determine what pieces are of most use to you, however, here, we offer some suggestions as to what most of us would need.
1. T-shirts & button-downs.
An important point to a conscious closet is to have pieces that can be mixed and matched with most other pieces. A simple tee or classic button-down are perfect tools to do so, the former for more casual looks and the latter if you want to be a little more dressed up or formal.
[Wild Ocean Heart organic cotton button down shirt]
2. Comfortable jeans or trousers.
Along the same lines as the last point, whether you prefer jeans or a pair of comfortable trousers, they are your best friend for your everyday looks.
[The Holiday handwoven organic cotton straight-leg trousers & The Ocean Tide organic cotton straight-leg trousers]
3. A pair of shorts or skirt.
For those living in warmer climates, a pair of shorts or a skirt of some sort are great to keep you cool under the sun.
[The Ocean Tide organic cotton shorts]
4. A versatile jacket.
A jacket you can layer depending on how cool the climate where you are is, is another good staple to have in your wardrobe.
[The Coral organic cotton shacket & Ocean Oasis handwoven organic cotton crop jacket]
5. THE party dress/outfit.
And finally, for those festive occasions, a statement look that you feel your best in, whether that’s a dress or a co-ord look and so on, is always handy to keep!
[Sundown fitted Lyocell maxi dress & Coral Sunset organic cotton top paired with The Jellyfish organic cotton wide-leg trousers]
We hope this helps you reevaluate your existing closet, there’s always time to make a change and the start of a new year may be a great push to get your conscious closet started now.