Baby Steps towards Sustainable Fashion

Keeping in mind my environmental goal of this year, I have come up with something that will help me buy fewer items of clothing. Last year, I bought nearly 30 articles of clothing. This does not sound like a lot, but when you take into account the amount of effort that goes into making a single piece of tshirt (it can take upto 2,700 litres of water to make one) and add it all up, it starts to seem like a lot.

So, this year, my goal is to buy nothing that I do not absolutely need. Ideally, 0 article of clothing. Keeping this in mind I wanted to make some changes in the way I dress and the way I shop.

I know from experience that wanting to do something is not the same as actually ensuring you do it. I am a big believer of processes. So I knew that I needed to come up with two things to make this work:

  • Ensure I am not tempted to buy into new trends
  • Ensure that I actually look forward to wearing the clothes that I already own

To ensure that I am not tempted to buy into new trends – I researched upon the incoming trends for this year. Then I picked out the trends I actually would love to try. Out of these I picked out the trends that I could pull off from the clothes I already own. The rest I just put a pin in it for now. I will write a detailed post about it soon.

To ensure that I actually look forward to wearing the clothes I already own, I borrowed from the concept of ‘Capsule Wardrobe’. I call it ‘Monthly Rotating Capsule Collection’ or MRCC. Capsule Wardrobe was something I actually wanted to try for ages, but without getting rid of all my clothes.

For the uninitiated, Capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe consisting of small number of items (say 30 or 60 or a number that works for you). These items should be of good quality(I am going to start with whatever quality I currently own) and such that they go well with each other thus optimising the total number of outfits you can wear.

I decided upon a Monthly Rotating Capsule Collection keeping in mind the following requirements:

  • I did not want to get rid of all my existing clothes. It would defeat my goal of being environment friendly as it is unlikely that all the clothes that I give away will be reused or recycled
  • I want to be slow and conscious about downsizing. I want to run experiments and be 100% sure that there is no way I can use an item before giving it away

At this point I should probably note that I did undergo a purge session last year before my wedding which means most of the clothes I currently own are not very old and are of decent quality (or so I believe)

How does a Monthly Rotating Capsule Collection work?

At the beginning of every month, I take a stock of everything I own (clothes, shoes and bags) and plan a wardrobe of around 33 pieces. For the rest of the month, I will be making use of only these clothes and getting creative with them. I have not placed any limit on the jewellery and scarves to ensure that I can keep my outfits interesting. I keep the rest of the items away in a big suitcase until the next month.

At the end of the month I classify all these 33 items into – things I want to keep wearing, things I do not want to keep. Things that I do not want to keep will be given away (where and how I still need to figure out – recommendations welcome).

The next month I repeat the cycle with next set of 33 items (some of which may be same as last month).

This way I am hoping to get through my entire wardrobe in 6 months to a year. After which I will only keep those items that work for me and give away the rest.

January 2020 – observations

I already tried this experiment for the month of January, and I am happy to report that:

1.      My room is tidier than it has ever been

2.      I found ways to wear the black blazer that I bought last year (and could never find an occasion to wear) at least 5 times this month

3.      I feel more put together, since I now plan my outfits and everything goes with everything anyway

4.      I notice that laundry needs to be done at least once a week

5.      Found out that a shirt dress can also be used as a duster (which is when you wear it as a jacket over an outfit)

Would you want to try MRCC for yourself or have you ever tried drastic downsizing of your wardrobe in one go? Let me know! And watch this space for how the experiment fares in the coming months.

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