Putting The Value Back Into Your Wardrobe
words by Eirini
June 15, 2020
This blog is a contribution from the team of Fanfare, a contemporary sustainable womenswear brand based in London.
“As a society we have developed a mindset where we no longer see the value in things which are not outwardly perfect and are quick to discard anything that doesn’t meet this level of perfection. You can see this in all areas of our lives, from the vegetables that supermarkets won’t sell because they’re not the ideal shape or colour, through to brands burning products that haven’t met quality control standards.”
A lot of us have been there at some point in our lives – coming home from a grocery run at the supermarket with bags of shopping, only to realise that you have half of the stuff you just purchased already in your cupboards. Or you bought another white t-shirt from your favourite high street store because they released a new style, only to come home and add it to the five other white t-shirts you already own. In an era where you can buy a dress for less than £10 at a variety of online retailers, it almost makes sense to own the same piece of clothing in 5 different colours. But what is this doing to our sense of value towards fashion?
When a button falls off, a seam begins to rip, or your favourite top is just getting a bit old (which these days can happen after as little as a month of wear), we no longer see these garments as perfect. We disregard them in favour of anything that will give us back that feeling of novelty that we experienced last time we made a purchase and ultimately spend our lives chasing the short-lived high of consumption.
It’s a mindset that contemporary society has cultivated and exploited, to the point that many businesses now thrive off the fact that we have collectively lost the ability to see any value in the things that we already own. We forget that we own them because they don’t matter to us. The result of this is a massive increase in the amount of clothing we buy.
Overconsumption has quickly become the number one issue in the fashion industry; here in the UK in the last 10 years alone we’ve tripled the amount of clothes we buy on an annual basis. More and more of this is ending up in landfill, creating pollution and decimating environmental resources. Our population may be ever-increasing, but not at a rate quick enough to justify this rapid consumption.
So what’s the solution?
We need to re-evaluate the purchases we make and the clothes we already own to ensure that we’re really getting the most out of our clothing, no matter how much it cost when we bought it. It’s about building respect not only for the garments but also for the people who spend their lives making them – when we value what we buy and make it last we’re also valuing the hard work and craftsmanship that goes into producing clothing, and in turn we help to cultivate a fashion industry that respects both people and the environment.
This sense of value can come in a variety of forms. By extending the lifespan of garments they become treasures that see us through major life events – you won’t be so quick to throw out that outfit you wore at graduation, or that t-shirt you were wearing when you met your celebrity idol on the tube.
It’s also about cultivating a personal style. Our clothes are our most outward projection of our identity, and they form a part of how we wish to be seen by the world. The clothes that stay with us the longest are the ones that we feel represent a particular aspect of ourselves. Personal creativity plays a part in this – if you’ve got an item of clothing that no longer excites you, why not take it apart and turn it into something new or try styling it in a completely different way? Fashion is an artform at its core, and exploring your own creativity is a great way to feel like your wardrobe is full of priceless Van Gogh originals.
Brands can further play a part in helping to invest value into clothing. At Fanfare we’ve created a collection of versatile garments – statement pieces that can be worn in reverse, or styled in multiple ways to increase their value within your wardrobe. We also offer an upcycled vintage collection, and a garment upcycling service, through which you can send us the clothes that no longer inspire you and we’ll turn them from has-been rags into must-have statement pieces. By creating a wardrobe that can do more with less clothing, we’re reducing the need for consumption and encouraging people to view fashion with an extra eye of creativity.
But we also need to be more conscious when we purchase new clothing. We remain aware of what we already own when we’re shopping so that we don’t buy the sixth or seventh white t-shirt, forgetting about the one we bought just last week. And that’s where Save Your Wardrobe comes in.
By digitizing your existing purchases, Save Your Wardrobe helps you keep track of what you already have in your wardrobe to stop you from purchasing lookalikes or garments that you don’t really need. By having constant access to the content of your wardrobe, you can pair new purchases with the things you already own, helping you to really refine your very own sense of style and reducing the need to return garments because they don’t go with anything else in your closet.
Save Your Wardrobe also connects you with service providers – from environmentally friendly dry cleaners to ateliers and repair workshops – and offers you the option of selling or donating your clothes that you no longer need. By providing connections to people and companies who will help you take good care of your clothing, Save Your Wardrobe does what it says on the tin – it can save your clothing from wearing out and the novelty from wearing off, helping you to curate a fashion collection that’s never out of season.