Five Steps to a Minimalist Wardrobe to Limit Overconsumption

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September: the New Year’s Eve of the fashion industry. This is the time when we get
to change our wardrobe and identity in favour of something new. It’s time to bring out the new trends (are you going for the skiwear trend, garments in velvet or maybe the oversized statement pieces?). We see the new garments, shoes and accessories in fashion magazines, stylishly draped over bloggers and showed off on Instagram. It makes most of us feel the need to get ourselves new things. So what do we do? We go out and shop. The high-speed of the fashion industry does not only make us shop more, but it makes us throw away even bigger amounts. The documentary The True Cost reveals that the average American throws away 82 pounds of textile waste each year. Over-consuming fashion is a huge issue in our society and according to Forbes it’s the second biggest polluter on the planet. Thinking about what and how much we consume is crucial for the future of the planet.

Consider the impact

With veganism comes environmentalism. Most vegans want to make as little harm to the planet and environment as possible. Therefore veganism isn’t just about not eating or wearing animal products. It’s also about being cautious and making aware decisions when we purchase things. So what can we do to stop over-consuming fashion? Start with these five simple steps to limit your footprint without sacrificing on style.

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1. Have a clean-out
Go to your wardrobe, open it and have a look. Not a quick browse like you do in the morning, overcome by that “I have nothing to wear” panic, but a proper, critical look. Take all of your clothes, shoes and accessories and spread them out on the floor. You will notice that you’ve got a lot more than you thought.
Some of the pieces will feel appealing and you’ll fall back in love with them again. Others will make you wonder if you even wore it once and why on earth you bought it in the first place. Decide on what you want to keep (do you need it and do you think you’ll wear it again?) and what you don’t want to keep and pack those pieces down.

2. Plan your purchases
You’ve now got an overview of your wardrobe and what you already own. Do you still feel like you are missing something? Write down what that is – do you need a new coat, a new pair of boots or maybe some basic tops? Think about what you’ve already got and what could go well with several of those pieces.

3. Arrange a swap party
Before going out to shop for whatever garments you’ve written down, invite a couple of friends over and ask them to bring garments, shoes and accessories that they’ve cleaned out of their wardrobes. This is the perfect time to make some vegan food for your friends while having a good time chatting about everything and nothing together. It’s also the perfect opportunity to swap clothes with each other and update your own wardrobe. If you’re lucky, you might just find that coat you wanted to add to your wardrobe.

4. Embrace second-hand shopping
If there are still a few things you want to tick off your list post-swap party, it’s time to whip out the wallet – but no need to get anything newly made. By choosing something that’s already been worn, you will still be acquiring something new to your wardrobe. Give the clothes you didn’t get rid of at the swap party to a charity shop. At the same time, have a look and see if you find something for yourself. When shopping second hand you need to look more carefully to find the hidden gems, so remember to be patient. Second-hand shopping is a bit like lottery – you win some, you lose some. When you hit the charity shop, your fashion choices aren’t just great for the environment, but they also make your wardrobe more unique.

5. Choose ethical and eco-friendly brands
After all that second-hand shopping, you’re still missing that pair of boots? Check out sustainable brands with the planet at heart, like Bourgeois Boheme for autumn boots and  Matt&Nat for the perfect handbag. For a high-end look, there’s always Stella McCartney and for a less pricey outfit you can turn to ASOS Eco Edit or People Tree. You can even get a sustainable wedding dress from vegan label Atelier Tammam.

Being ethical with your fashion choices doesn’t have to be expensive and by not over-consuming you’ll get more creative with your style. Let’s make this year’s fashion-New Year’s resolution about making more aware decisions when creating our autumn wardrobes.

Pictures by Brooke Cagle via Unsplash

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Olivia Kahlin

Fashion Writer

Olivia is a lifestyle blogger who loves fashion and food. With a background studying at London College of Fashion she's now based in Stockholm as a journalist and media student. Read her blog here: http://oliviasveganlife.blogspot.com/

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