Wardrobe goals for 2020

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Ninoshka Alvares-Delaney

The new year is all about resolutions. January sees us planning to start something – like exercising or eating healthier – or quitting something – like kicking the (cigarette) butt or excessive spending. It’s time we stick to these resolutions until these goals become a habit.

We are moving towards alarming times with climate change. Small differences in our wardrobe can make a big difference to the environment; as well as help simplify our lives and make it more holistic.

De-clutter your wardrobe: Do you really need five identical tops from the same brand? Do you really need to hang on to your college jeans that no longer fit you in the hope that you’ll lose enough weight to fit into them again? Studies have shown that people wear only forty per cent of what they have in their closet. Segregate your wardrobe into four categories – items you wear frequently and want to keep; items you don’t wear frequently but still want to keep; items that can be donated, sold or swapped; and items that need to be discarded, recycled or up-cycled. Be ruthless with your de-cluttering process and do not replace discarded items with new items.

Shop your closet: Majority of people wear only 20 per cent of their wardrobe 80 percent of the time. Instead of buying new fashion items, go through all the items in your closet and you will discover clothing or fashion accessories that you had probably forgotten that you owned. Having staples in neutral colours helps in accesorising. If need be, make a note or inventory of all the items you own in your closet which will help you plan your wardrobe. Planning a capsule wardrobe can help simplify your life and bring out the stylist in you.

Borrow or swap: Instead of buying or making clothes for a special occasion that you feel you will only use once, consider borrowing an item from a friend or family member instead. You can even host a clothing swap with your friends and family wherein you can exchange pieces of clothing and accessories.

Avoid fast fashion: It’s a trap! Up to about two decades ago, we only felt the need to buy or make new clothes on special occasions or festivals. Then came shopping malls that brought fast fashion brands with it. We were told that only certain designs are trendy and what we wore a month ago is already outdated. We were bombarded with the idea that we need to buy “the latest trend” in order to look fashionable. Then came shopping at the click of our finger tips and with online sites that sold items at “affordable” prices, shopping for fashion was never the same again. When the word ‘SALE’ flashes on your computer or smart phone screen, you get tempted to buy items you don’t need. In the bargain you end up spending much more on these items than you would on things that you
actually need.

Say no to synthetics: Nothing good can ever come from using synthetic fibers. Synthetic clothing includes fabrics like nylon, polyester, rayon, acrylic, modal and spandex among others. These artificial fibres are made from crudes and intermediates including petroleum, coal, limestone and water. The process of producing these fibres is extremely nasty and toxic, some of which emit nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more dangerous to the ozone layer than carbon dioxide. They only absorb chemical dyes which are harmful to the environment. They don’t breathe so they are very uncomfortable to wear and hold bacteria during perspiration causing odours. Synthetic clothing release micro fibres during wash care that leach into the environment and contribute to ocean plastic pollution in a subtle but pervasive way.  Because synthetic fabrics are made from by-products of petroleum, they are non-biodegradable and unsustainable to the environment.

Invest in eco-friendly and ethical clothing: Opt for clothing made from natural and organic fibres. Choose fabrics dyed in natural or non-toxic dyes. As far as possible, buy handmade products. Encourage artisans by purchasing handloom and handcrafted items. Our country is a treasure trove of crafts. Take advantage of it. Invest in classic styles that you can wear for decades. Contact your favourite brand and ask them questions such as their manufacturing processes, their carbon footprint, if they practice fair trade, how they contribute to society and what they are doing to preserve the environment. It feels much nicer to use a product from an ethical brand. Show
that you care.

Support local businesses: Look for products that are made in India. There’s nothing like bespoke clothing to set you apart. Patronise local designers, tailors, jewellers and cobblers.

Mend, repair, recycle and up-cycle: Loosing a button of a shirt is no excuse to throw it away. Replace the lost button with one in another colour to make the shirt look cool and one-of-a-kind. There are creative ways to mend rips and tears like colourful patches or embroidery. Revamp and recycle old clothes or up-cycle them to make meaningful and
useful items.

Hope that your New Year 2020 is clean, green and stylish!

(Writer is a fashion designer.
Follow her on Instagram and
Facebook @ninoshkaindia)