Mindset Shift: Rethinking What We Pay for Our Clothes

Compared to 15 years ago, the average person buys 60% more clothes every year while keeping them for only half as long.[1] What happened, and how can we change this?


Today’s over-production and hyper-consumption cycles are causing an imbalance in our natural world.[2] Each year, 85% of all textiles end up in landfills, which can generate greenhouse methane gas and leak toxic chemicals into the groundwater and soil during decomposition.[3] Here we introduce a shift in the way we approach clothes shopping, aiming to have a greater ripple effect for good.


One in, one out

To avoid unnecessary purchases, let’s first take stock of what’s in our wardrobes. Start with a “closet clear out” session to identify clothes you need and those you don’t. Try the “hanger trick” to figure out which pieces you can toss, recommends Fanny Moizant, co-founder of Vestiaire Collective. “At the beginning of the season, place all your hangers in the same direction,” she advises, “and each time you wear a piece, turn the hanger the other way. Very quickly you will see what you wear and what you don’t – get rid of the rest.”[4] Once you have a general idea, you can apply the “one in, one out” rule: sell or donate one item before buying something else. Click here to learn more about the pros and cons of this way of shopping.

Bring out the needle & thread

A recent survey by a sustainable fashion brand, Thought, revealed that 1 in 4 UK shoppers do not mend clothes because “it’s easier just to buy something new.” Another research found that American millennials lacked the skills needed to make basic repairs to their clothes, and thus were more likely to discard them. Fashion leaders agree that there needs to be a shift from a “throwaway” culture towards a “caring” one.[5] “Repairs are best meant for items that you love,” explains Laurie Brucker, a Los Angeles-based certified image consultant. For those items “that are still in great condition but maybe need a tweak to be worn again.”[6] Here are 5 ideas on how to repair your clothes to make a fashion statement.


Tips and tricks

Sustainable fashion experts recommend using the “30 wears rule” coined by Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age. Before buying, ask yourself: “Will I wear this at least 30 times?”. If the answer is no, skip it![7] On the other hand, unsubscribing from fast fashion brands’ newsletters can remove any temptation to buy clothes that harm our planet. Instead, you can sign up for trends and promotions from more sustainable labels. Here’s a good place to start.



[1] “Black Friday: Greenpeace calls timeout for fast fashion” | Greenpeace. Available at: https://www.greenpeace.org/international/press-release/7566/black-friday-greenpeace-calls-timeout-for-fast-fashion/

[2] “Market practices and over‐consumption” | Hans Kjellberg. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10253860802033688?needAccess=true

[3] “The environmental crisis caused by textile waste” | RoadRunner Recycling. Available at: https://www.roadrunnerwm.com/blog/textile-waste-environmental-crisis#:~:text=And%20when%20consumers%20throw%20away,the%20groundwater%20and%20our%20soil

[4] “A complete guide to detoxing your wardrobe” | Harper’s BAZAAR. Available at: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/fashion/what-to-wear/news/a33146/how-to-detox-your-wardrobe/

[5] “Loved Clothes Last: 3 Simple Tricks to Mend Your Clothes and Why It Matters” | Good on you. Available at: https://goodonyou.eco/mend-your-clothes/

[6] “Should You Repair or Replace It? When to Buy New Items and Appliances” | U.S. News. Available at: https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-11-16/should-you-repair-or-replace-it-when-to-buy-new-items-and-appliances

[7] “The fast fashion fix: 20 ways to stop buying new clothes for ever” | The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/jul/14/fast-fashion-20-ways-stop-buying-new-clothes-fair-wage-wardrobes


Author: Naomy Gmyrek