When I was a teenager, I thought being fashionable meant having a large wardrobe. It seemed downright wrong to wear the same outfit twice in one month, so I tried to avoid what felt like a social faux pas by stocking up on cheap clothing, most of which I didn’t even like. As it turns out, my fear of being an outfit repeater was totally unfounded, and many years later, I actually enjoy wearing the same clothes again and again.
Ethical fashion activist Livia Firth agrees. Firth, who produced the documentary The True Cost, has made it her mission to expose the negative human and environmental impacts of fast fashion. She’s also the brains behind the #30wears challenge, which smartly asks consumers to ask themselves if they will wear a piece of clothing a minimum of 30 times before making a purchase. If the answer is no, you should put it back on the rack. There a two main reasons this initiative is a game changer: the U.S. generates an average of 25 billion pounds of textile waste per year, 85% of which ends up in landfills. By only purchasing items that are intended to have a longer lifespan, we can reduce the amount of clothing that is disposed of annually.
Livia Firth showcases her own #30wears pledge on Instagram–a gorgeous handmade skirt!
The #30wears challenge is also easy! You don’t need to seek out sustainable or ethically made clothing (although it’s encouraged), which can be expensive and difficult to find, depending on where you live. Instead, Firth encourages us to be mindful and selective about our purchases. Rather than buying something simply because it’s 70% off, ask yourself, “Is this something I see myself wearing again?” Think about what’s already in your closet. Can you put together several outfits with this new piece? Do you already own something similar? You’ll be surprised by how revealing your answers will be. According to Firth, this demonstrates “how the current model in fashion is unsustainable–and needs urgent change.” We couldn’t agree more!
I’ve been unofficially doing #30wears for more than a year, and it has completely changed the way I approach my wardrobe. I no longer flock to sales (but don’t get me wrong…I still love a good sale) just because they’re in front of me. If I decide I’d like to add a piece to my wardrobe, I sleep on it. If I still want it the next day, I’ll go ahead and make the purchase–not because I don’t want to repeat an outfit, but because I’ve carefully considered the role it will play in my closet and life. And you bet I’m wearing it more than 30 times.
Do you plan to try the #30Wears challenge?
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Photo by: Vanity Fair; Instagram