Beyond Fashion | Mindful Consumption

Once upon a time, I stared into my closet and thought, what the hell is going on here? I had shoes littering the entire floor space; one third of them I didn’t even wear anymore. I had a corner of my closet that had formed into a section that I thought, “Oh, one day I’ll wear that, but no, not today. It’s not what I’m feeling.” Guess what . . . I never felt like wearing those clothes. So many clothing pieces and shoes just sat there untouched, and it was such a waste of space and potential. How could it have gotten this way for me? It’s easy to explain actually!

We live in a world where the fashion trends are changing more quickly than ever before. One Autumn, it’s nautical season, then Spring comes and it’s pastel colors, and then for Summer, Boho fashion is all the rage . . . should I go on? Needless to say, it’s tiring trying to keep up with all these trends that don’t really match one another. That’s how my closet filled up with clothes I didn’t wear enough because they didn’t match the rest of my wardrobe.

At the end of that day, it was clear to me that I wasn’t completely in love with a lot of the items in my closet. I didn’t vouch for them when it came time to pick out my look for the day. It was all so wasteful, so how did I change? After doing a little self-reflection, I realized that the most good I could do was to embark on the journey of mindful consumption. Mindful consumption Is buying selectively and sustainably. It is focusing on yourself, and what your personal style is (no matter the trends at the time). It is choosing, not settling, loving, not thinking too hard about the clothes you truly need. Mindful consumption is a truth! It is how you can be true to yourself, becoming waste-free with your closet, and making the Earth a cleaner place.

But what’s the first step? Walk over to your closet and just look inside. Are there clothes with tags still on them that have been sitting there for weeks, maybe even months? What about those really cute shirts you bought, but have only worn once or twice? What about those clothes that you swore were cute when you bought them, but now when you search for an outfit, you glance over them because they’re just not that cute anymore? It happens to all of us, but it really shouldn’t! We have to stop the impulse spending and holding on to the clothes that just don’t fit us right anymore, so pull those clothes out of your closet.

There are thrift stores that will take all of the clothes that you don’t want anymore. Curated thrift stores will buy your higher quality, name brand clothes, and the older stuff can be donated to a general thrift store. Once that’s done, congratulations! You’ve decluttered your closet and have created a fresh opportunity to change your shopping habits and style choices. You also have supported the cause of recycling clothes. Donating your clothes to someone else helps keep those clothes out of a dump somewhere, and makes the Earth a happier place.

Now you’ve rid yourself of the excess material, and should focus on the staple pieces of your wardrobe. A staple piece is one that can be worn with anything, something that is vital in your wardrobe. Remember that mindful consumption isn’t about not buying any clothes at all; it’s about buying clothes smartly. On a budget? Be thrifty! You can donate to thrift stores and buy from them too. It’s cheap and you can find the best hidden gems that will last you a long time. Also, buying from thrift stores does not directly support fast fashion brands and keeps textile waste to a minimum. You’re doing the least amount of damage you can do by choosing to thrift.

On the other hand, the desire to splurge happens every now and then. It makes you feel good when you can buy more expensive clothing that is high quality and serves you a good purpose. You can do this sustainably as well! There are sustainable luxury brands that participate in zero-waste production, fair wages for their workers, and foster cultural techniques unique to the area where the clothes are made. Sukkhacitta is a good example of a luxury sustainable brand that preaches mindful consumption, but we’re not the only ones! Search online and on social media to find bunches of brands that are creating change in the fashion industry. So, all in all, don’t feel guilty about spending a little more to get the right piece for you. They will last longer and the purchase often supports the livelihoods of the people who made the very item you bought.

Mindful consumption is a mindset, one that is hard to grasp simply overnight. It can be overwhelming thinking about how you can do your part to help the environment; or even just to clear your head. Approach these issues as a change in your lifestyle that declutters your closet and mind, and also results in wonderful support for global issues. Don’t think too heavily on all of these massive changes you can make that will make life instantly better for so many, because that’s what’s daunting to begin with! Small changes in your lifestyle add up to make an even bigger change overall for your environment. Remember that it is easier to see the positives you are making for your day-to-day life, and keeps your momentum going to keep making those changes that effect your life, our Earth, and society.

There is hope to reverse all the mess that’s going on in this world, and it starts with simply helping ourselves and changing our own habits. It is then that the domino effect runs throughout our world.

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Enjoy our Beyond Fashion stories? We'd love to hear from you! Reach out with your thoughts, questions, and feedback to our community outreach Tyler at tyler@sukkhacitta.com.