Information that Changed my Life- The True Cost

The True Cost is a documentary that I watched in a class last semester that totally changed my life. The movie was directed by Andrew Morgan and it goes into depth about the fashion industry’s effect on the environment. After watching this film I was so outraged that I made a decision that I needed to do something. This blog is a part of that. My choices as a consumer is a part of that.

I recommend this documentary to anyone who wants to learn more about how their wardrobe affects the planet. This film has educated so many about a major problem and what we can do to change it. The first step to a better world is watching.

 

You can find this documentary on Netflix and for anyone looking for more information about the movie I have linked the website for the film below.

https://truecostmovie.com

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What to do When You’re ‘Done’ With a Piece of Clothing

I purge my closet about twice a year to remove things that don’t make me feel good or that look ratty. I thought I would share with you what I do after I’m done with an article of clothing to minimize the environmental impact. Here are some options:

  1. Think about if you can wear this item for another situation (ex: working out, painting, getting messy, etc)
  2. Sell/Donate any lightly used clothing to thrift stores that could be worn again
  3. Repurpose any clothing in your own life (ex: make a quilt, dish rag, stuffing for a pillow, bag). Be creative!
  4. Repair any clothing if possible to wear again
  5. Minimize the amount being thrown away by only discarding the section of each piece that can not be reused in some way and save/use/donate the rest

There are probably other ideas out there about what to do with your used clothing but these are the five options that I use in my own life. Hope this helps!

Why Cheaper is NOT better

Most of the time price tags are the determining factor of what we buy. People get exited when an article of clothing is on sale or when it costs less than what they expected. The customers think the price tag is too good to be true. Here is the truth: it is.

The cheap clothing is enticing because it is trendy and customers can justify spending on it when they know they can throw it away after wearing it a few times. But what they don’t realize is you get what you pay for. When you spend less than ten dollars on an article, it will get ratty in less than ten washes and you have to throw it out. On the flip side, when you invest in more expensive pieces that you love, you get so much more use out of them and it is better for your wallet and the environment. When customers are stingy they end up spending more to replace the ratty, cheap t-shirt with another one and the endless cycle continues. The stingy customers end up spending more AND harm the environment in the process.

The next time your shopping: look at the long term.

Shopping Tips for a More Sustainable Wardrobe

Tip 1: Skip the trend

Trends go in and out so quickly that people feel the need to go out and spend so they can keep up with whats ‘cool’. The whole idea of being trendy is destroying our planet and your wallet. Companies like H&M, Forever 21, and Zara over produce trendy items that are very bad quality and in less than 10 washes will end up in a dump or the ocean. The fashionista in us then has to go out and replace the trendy shirt with a new one to keep up with the new look. This cycle will continue and we end up spending more on a trend and killing the planet in the process.

Tip 2: Buy what you LOVE

This should be something that people do regularly but you would be surprised how often people buy something because they just want the gratification of having a new piece in their wardrobe. My rule of thumb is that regardless of the price I would still have to have the piece in my wardrobe. Sometimes I even have dreams about clothing and I buy them and wear them after they have holes and need to be replaced. This is how much we should strive to love a piece. We should love it enough to wear it all the time and even after we shouldn’t anymore.

Tip 3: Vote with your dollar

What you wear shows what morals you support. When you shop at places that harm the environment and treat their employees like they are not human beings, you are not only supporting that, but also funding it. The same goes on the flip side: buy from brands that support the same causes that you do. This idea comes down to basic supply and demand. When consumers like us demand products that are sustainable, companies have to supply better products to keep up with the demand. Thus, creating a better cycle and helping the global community in the process.

Tip 4: make sure the product is ‘worth it’

Invest in the quality of the product even if the price is a little higher. Many complain about how people “just pay for the label” but this is inaccurate. You are playing for the quality of the product. Also, the amount of times one wears the item can determine the actual cost. For instance, one can divide the cost of the item by how many times they will wear it and this will show how useful the product will be in their wardrobe. So spending a little more and wearing the item more will be a more sustainable choice in the long run.

Tip 5: Buy used

Buying from used clothing stores, consignment shops, thrift stores, and in the ‘upcycle’ section of brands is a great way to get some new pieces that are sustainable. You are continuing the lifecycle of a product rather than letting it get thrown away. On the upside: the clothing is unique, cheaper, sustainable, and better quality. You can find really cool items that give your wardrobe a unique twist.

 

I really hope this helps! Every choice we make matters!