Within one household, Americans typically spend thousands of dollars annually just on clothes. I realized how this pattern of consumption had become so common around college students as well. Students expect to spend $158.98 on clothes annually, making up around 50% of the funds that they have in their bank accounts. This is how I first became interested in sustainability, as I learned that much more is involved in clothes besides a price tag. When buying a new piece of clothing, there are many other components involved. Elizabeth L. Cline’s Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion really opened my eyes to the ethicality of a simple piece of fabric, including standards of safety and injustice against workers in this industry. My purchases at a store like Zara or Abercrombie & Fitch had a much deeper impact on an economy across the world and this spurred me to be more conscious of the purchases I was making. With that, fast fashion increases the impacts of climate change greatly, harming the environment. All of this in mind, I sought to begin changing my life to be advocating for these issues surrounding the fashion industry.
Through friends of friends who graduated from UVA, a challenge to make sustainable fashion choices a reality arose. My friend Jane and I decided to partake in this for the New Year. The goal is to hold one another accountable before making decisions to buy a new piece of clothing, which includes accessories, shoes, and more. Our maximum yearly purchase count is fifteen articles and we don’t intend to go over that! This allows us to be more thoughtful about what’s in our closet and to be less wasteful overall. I hope this could be encouraging to you and consider following a Thoughtful Thread mindset!