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My Fashion Detox: Learning to be Sustainable in a Fast Fashion World.

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Welcome! Over the next year, I am taking a fashion detox! The plan is to eliminate fast fashion by shopping from sustainable brands and second-hand.

It all started last year while I was a substitute teacher at our local high school. We assigned a project for the students to teach them presentation skills. Each student could choose a topic. Being a Vermont school, most of the students picked environmental issues. To give them an example, I made a presentation of my own. The topic -- Fast Fashion.

It was random; I hadn't thought much of the evolution of the fashion industry, but I was running for Miss Vermont and started buying a lot of clothing. Growing up, my parents taught us to care for our clothing to preserve its quality. Now all of a sudden, I am hearing phrases like, "Just buy a new one!" "It's cheap; just buy it." It felt like cheap, low-quality brands popped up overnight. It just didn't add up. I needed more information.

How do you create fashion in bulk, sell it for so little and still turn a profit?

The answer: exploitation of workers and using the absolute grossest material you could think of.

Clothing brands are designing and releasing more garments more frequently. What was once 4 seasons of collections dropped annually has turned into multiple weekly collection releases. Most of these end up in landfills and are predicted to take hundreds of years to decompose. According to Earth Org, fashion production comprises 10% of total global carbon emissions.

Feeling morally enraged, I have been thinking, researching, and observing my consumer habits. I feel ethically obligated to act on the information I have gained.

I googled "fashion detox," where I found a challenge created by ex-fashion designer and researcher Dr. Emma Kidd and the sustainability team at Glasgow Caledonian University. In 2020 Emma's research on the Fashion Detox Challenge won the Best Research in Sustainability Award at the Global Fashion Conference. It challenged its participants to abstain from buying clothing for 10 weeks. After completing the challenge, participants concluded that buying clothing was simply an attempt to fill a void made by "nonmaterial human needs." Once they kicked the thought (desire to buy) that encouraged the action (buying), participants realized their former habits were those of overconsumption.

But other than that, it doesn't seem like taking a break from mass consumerism is trending… yet ;) *fingers crossed* If I have learned anything about business, one thing has always stood out: consumers control the market. So for the next year, this consumer will be taking a stand!

So here we go! One year, no fast fashion! Stay tuned for updates!



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