A practical guide on how to stop buying clothes.
Six years ago, Lauren Fay decided to stop buying new clothes for a full year. At the time, this seemed like a radical thing to do; but she was an early member of a growing movement devoted to drastically reducing our clothing consumption.

Back then, Fay was partly motivated to save money. She’s just left a high-paying job in finance for a more meaningful career in the nonprofit sector. But she had also become more conscious about how our insatiable appetite for new clothing is destroying the planet. “I realized I was overconsuming,” she recalls. “I had this ‘ick’ factor about how shopping had become compulsive for me, and I was also spending money that could better be spent elsewhere.”

So Fay gave up shopping cold turkey. Overnight, she no longer had the option of buying something new for a party or a big meeting. Still, she found that old habits die hard. When she was bored, she found herself mindlessly gravitating toward her favorite brands’ websites. “I realized I was going through withdrawal,” Fay says.

But when she surveyed her closet, she found she had more than enough clothes. Over time, as her favorite pieces became got worn out, she learned how to tackle stains and mend tears. “But then I realized there was a difference between wants and needs. When it came down to it, I didn’t really need anything new. I had more than enough.”

Back then, Fay felt fairly isolated as someone who refused to shop. But today, there’s a growing awareness among consumers about how the fashion industry is harming the Earth. Companies churn out more than 100 billion items of clothing a year, for only eight billion human beings. Those of us who live in wealthy countries buy the vast majority of them: Most people own between 77 and 155 garments, although we only wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.

To make more room in our closets to keep shopping, we collectively dispose of billions of garments annually. Donated clothes end up in places like Ghana and Chile, creating mountains of textiles that can be seen from space. Clothes are also ending up in the ocean, where the plastic in them harms sea creatures and ends up in our food chain.

For the last 50 years, the clothing industry has been focused on making clothes as cheap as possible by using low-wage overseas labor and disposable synthetic fabrics. Brands have all kinds of psychological tricks to tap into our basest instincts, so we feel we need to keep buying more and more. But today, conscious consumers are building a movement to stop buying new clothes. While most social media influencers are sponsored by brands, a small, mighty group is focused on showing their audiences what it is like to stop shopping and make the most of what they already have.

Remake, a nonprofit devoted to making the fashion industry more ethical, is helping to accelerate the movement. For the past five years, Remake has invited their followers to take a pledge not to buy new clothes for 90 days. So far, the challenge has been completed 3,900 times. “We picked 90 days strategically, because that is how long it takes to develop a new habit,” says Katrina Caspelich, Remake’s CMO.

The Ultimate Guide To A No-Buy Year
It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of consumerism. Shopping and errands lead to more shopping and errands. Before you know it, your quest to live a more intentional life is drowned out by stuff. One possible solution is the No-Buy Year, also known as a No-Spend Year: a whole year dedicated to cutting out extraneous purchases in order to reset your spending habits.

Spend wise – Guardian to Purse; waste less – Angel to Earth. Poll: protecting the planet given priority over economy growth
“Do well by doing good.” – Ben Franklin
“Spend wise – Guardian to Purse;
waste less – Angel to Earth.” – LuCxeed

The power of the purse is the most democratic power of all. Global warming & great recession sees the rise of ethical consumerism.


Image courtesy EdwardShtern/iStock/Getty Images, Mensent Photography/Getty Images, dit26978/Getty Images, sl-f/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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