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Breaking Free From Throwaway Fashion

Why do we keep pushing perfectly lovely clothes to the back of our wardrobes to replace them with something new?

Written by Casey Milano

What was the last piece of clothing you bought? Can you remember? For some of you out there, you’ll probably remember every detail. Perhaps the item was special, saved for or just utterly loved, but for most of us, we would have to have a think; we’d perhaps have to look in our wardrobes.

What do you see when you open yours? If you’re anything like me, you’ll see an endless sea of jumpers, jeans, skirts, dresses, even the odd Halloween costume (yep, even those one-time wonders get hung up in my house!). To put it bluntly, we are a generation of ‘wear it once’ shoppers. Our wardrobes are full of such throwaway garments, which are actually usually lovely pieces that can be worn time and time again, but for some reason end up being discarded to the back of the wardrobe once something else hits the fashion pages.

This wasteful reality came to my attention recently when I decided to buy a new jumper – not just any jumper, but a specific mustard cashmere jumper. Although I have 27 other jumpers (yes, I ashamedly counted!) to choose from I needed this mustard one. Why, you ask? Because mustard is in! Yep, that’s it – no other reason. I’m sure many of you have done the same, converted to clothing that we’ll only wear once purely because it was available. The trend for throwaway fashion has never been so in.

Now, arguably, having all this choice can be seen as a good thing. We have the freedom to wear what we want, when we want, but what is the real cost? Fashion was once something precious, something that we saved for as teenagers, something we wore proudly when we weren’t in our school uniforms – and now, for many of us, not in our work uniforms. Ultimately, we choose what fashion says about us. But now it seems it’s all become uniformed for the masses. When you can pick up a pair of jeans for under a tenner and an entire outfit for £20, it’s not difficult to see where the cult of throwaway fashion began.

I’m not saying don’t follow the trends or not to buy that coat you fell in love with in a fashion magazine, but don’t buy into the concept that you can’t wear the same outfit or – god forbid – be tagged on social media in the same outfit twice. I hold my hands up here: I still haven’t worn that mustard jumper. Did I get it just so I could say I have it? Same as the 19 pairs of jeans, those 27 jumpers, those 15 pairs of boots… OK, you get the picture. Throwaway fashion lives up to its name; it’s as throwaway as the next trend will be. And you know what? Tomorrow I just might wear that mustard jumper.

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Header image via Instagram @hollyounstead

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