Let me start off this whole thing by saying that I am not a minimalist. I enjoy shopping, finding new things to wear, and trying out new styles. Since I started seeking out sustainable fashion clothes, I’ve felt a never-ending pressure to become a minimalist. This got me thinking, do I really need to be a minimalist to be into sustainable fashion? Does that mindset exclude the majority of people who are trying to find better alternatives to fast fashion?
Before I get into that, let me talk about this outfit. This dress and boots are over three years old and still kicking strong. This dress was one of my last purchases from the fast fashion store, Forever 21. (This dress was actually posted in this post and this post). It must have been under $20 and made out of a cheap cotton. It is not a sustainable fashion find in any way. The girls making this dress were not paid nearly enough and the dyes were probably dumped into their waterways. So why does it stay in my closet? It is a reminder to shop better and more mindfully. It is a reminder that three years ago, I didn’t know the impact my dollar had on the girls making these clothes and now I do.
How I feel about Minimalism
I give minimalists a ton of credit because it is a challenging task. Every day we are bombarded with thousands of ads that are telling us to buy, buy, and buy. Somehow minimalists b-line around all these ads and stay with their cute, basic outfits. Now, nothing is wrong with wearing a basic outfit, but I personally need a little bit of spunk to my outfits. I love wearing an array of different colors and different silhouettes. However, I do agree with minimalists that your clothes should be able to be worn in multiple different ways. For example, I wore this exact dress in this post. I can also put a shirt over the dress to make it look like a skirt. The best take away from minimalist fashion is that you should be able to wear your clothes in multiple different ways.
Style Shouldn’t Just Stop at Basics
One challenge I’ve faced when looking for sustainable clothes is the oversaturation for basic clothes. You can only have so many white, organic cotton t-shirts in your closet. I’m a big fan of fashion companies that are embracing equal pay and sustainable fabrics without sacrificing style. Some of these include Reformation, Mate the Label, and TAMGA. With bold patterns, witty graphics, and eye-catching silhouettes, these brands are making sustainable fashion for everyone. I’m hoping more companies will change their ways for the better once more people become aware.
The 10×10 Challenge
One challenge that has swept the sustainable and minimalist fashion world is the 10×10 challenge created by Lee Vosburgh. Lee created a challenge where you only wear 10 items for 10 days. This is a great way to see if minimalist fashion is for you and to push your fashion creativity to the next level. For me, I felt drained by thinking about how I was going to wear the same shirt a different way. My favorite part of the day is waking up and trying to figure out what I should wear. I can mix and match different necklaces, layers, patterns, and silhouettes. This challenge was particularly hard for me because I felt like I didn’t have freedom. I would recommend this challenge if you want to see if you can try out minimalism or if you are lacking creativity in your current wardrobe.
Bottom Line: Do You Need to be a Minimalist to be Sustainable?
Style is meant to be fun and it is supposed to represent you. If basics aren’t what exacts you then, by all means, steer far, far away from them. As sustainable fashion becomes bigger and bigger, more companies will make switches in their own companies. More and more companies are emerging and creating amazing pieces that are unique and different. As long as the item you’re buying is getting good use and you’re not throwing it away after 6 wears, it is okay. You can still be stylish while wearing sustainable clothes.
Some sustainable options that don’t fit the minimalist mold:
Rent the Runway: You can rent clothes for a select amount of time and they can get reused by someone else. This way you get to refresh your wardrobe and not create a ton of waste.
Thrifting: I’ve been finding so many goodies just by thrift shopping. You can get great pieces while making sure that these clothes don’t end up in the landfill.
Good on You: Check the app Good on You for tons and tons of options and alternatives to companies you like. For example, alternatives to American Eagle are Bon Label, Komodo, and Meemoza.
Wear what you already have: The dress and boots I’m wearing are over three years old. I wear all my clothes to the ground. If my clothes need to be repaired, I repair them. Use Pinterest and other bloggers to see how you can wear what you already have in different ways.
What is your thought on minimalism? Do you think you have to be a minimalist to be into sustainable fashion? Let me know in the comments down below.