As you might have noticed from my last posts featuring a sustainable way of consuming, enjoying and expressing love for beauty and lifestyle in the most possible sustainable way has become my new mission.
As you might have seen on my facebook account, I have been hunting for second-hand treasures to complete and enrich my closet with zero guilt.
Entering this new way of enjoying fashion I wondered how green my previous way of shopping and dressing had been.
I therefore decided to analyze 211 random pieces from my closet (anything from apparel to jewelry, underwear or accessories) and see how many of them were bought and consumed according to a sustainable lifestyle.
I decided to first classify the 211 pieces into six categories. To have a parameter to calculate the sustainability of the analyzed clothes, I gave each category a score (0, + and -, where + is sustainable, - is unsustainable, and 0 is neutral):
1) High street fashion (affordable trendy fashion which tends to be of lower quality. Often bought because it is just a trend that in one year you will not be in fashion anymore) which has been in my closet for 4 years or less.
2) High street fashion which has already been in my closet for 4 years or longer.
3) Eco fashion brands and lines (labels and lines officially related to a sustainable way of living, often due to their eco-friendly materials and production).
4) Second-hand and vintage.
6) High quality fashion (High-end and/or tailored pieces of quality that will last long even though there are no guarantees about the sustainability of the way they were produced).
63% of the 211 pieces come from high street brands (categories 1 and 2), 41% of which have been in my closet from less than 4 years (category 1) and 22% of which have been bought more than 4 years ago. The categories 3, 4, and 5 represent only 22% and category 6 represents 15% of the 211 analyzed clothes.
This means that about 60% of the 211 studied pieces have been produced in very dubious ways, while the remaining 40% has been created in the respect of natural resources and/or human and labour rights.
Taking a look at the score, my closet would reach through the above presented parameters (+, 0, and -) a total score of -20 (= +40 (%) - 60 (%)) , which is below the neutral score of 0 and which is therefore an unsustainable result.
Not completely satisfied, I thought of another parameter to analyze the sustainability of my closet, namely the degree of use of the clothes. My idea for this second way of classification is that the more a piece of clothing is used after its purchase, the more the production and the consequent environmental pollution can be justifiable. The less a piece of clothing is used, the less that piece has a reason to be and the more its production should have been avoided. Here are three categories of my clothes' degree of use:
7) Worn more than 5 times a year
8) Worn less than 5 times a year
9) Not worn yet
This time, thee results showed that about 50% of the clothes in my wardrobe are usually used less than 5 times a year, about 40% are used more than 5 times a year, and about 10% has never been used since its purchase. In a nutshell: I effectively use only 40% of all the stuff I have. The remaining 60% is either not used at all or only in a few occasions. This means that 60% of my closet could and should not have been produced in the first place.
Added to the -20 score from the first analysis, we reach a total of -40 (= -20 -60 + 40).
Still not satisfied of the final results, I went on thinking of yet another parameter to calculate the sustainability of my closet. Quality is a very important parameter as I realized that it connects the categories 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 since the quality of a piece of clothing dictates its longevity and the frequency with which it can be worn, washed and ironed before it belongs to the clothing bin around the corner. I had to add two new categories:
10) Good quality (the piece of clothing is expected to last several seasons as its materials are known to last long or it has already proved to be of good quality as it has been used often and for a long time)
11) Bad quality (the piece of clothing is not expected to last several seasons as its materials are known not to last long)
The good news here is that 55% of the 211 analyzed pieces can be classified as of good quality, while 45 % of them have to be classified as of bad quality. Not surprisingly, the said 45% contains pieces of category 1 only.
My total score now reached a total amount of -35 (= -40 -45 + 55). Not a good result.
All in all, what can be concluded is that clearly my closet did not reach a satisfying level of sustainability.
A first main reason is the high percentage of clothing coming from unsustainable cheap trendy fashion lables which offer low costs but also low quality. A second main reason is that I've been apparently buying way too many things that I did not use frequently enough.
In a nutshell: I used to buy too much and too much of low quality products.
The good news is that I can do something to adjust the statistics of my closet and my behavior as a fashion lover and consumer: by choosing quality over quantity.
Step by step, I am willing to create a smart, beautiful, and sustainable wardrobe in which lifestyle meets consciousness.