A couple of weeks ago, a friend posted a challenge to boycott buying all new clothing for a year in the name of the climate crisis. My friend is part of an international movement called Extinction Rebellion. They are artists and activists and parents and regular people who are taking on the climate crisis from the level of culture.
I am taking the challenge! (for the most part… I still want to be able to buy activist t-shirts that support local artists and groups and candidates I support).
According to an article in The Guardian, this effort is about reducing consumption overall. The fashion industry (along with advertising) is an enormous promoter of our culture of waste and over consumption:
- “the industry is set to grow by 63% by 2030;
- 100 bn items are produced each year, “far more than we need”;
- fashion is a contributor to about 10% of carbon emissions;
- it is one of the biggest polluters, responsible for the release of a huge amount of microfibres and plastics into the ocean.”
And, there’s a lot that could be said about the fashion industry’s exploitation of women and children as workers.
But there’s another angle to this that I want to shine a spotlight on: the role of compulsory fashion consumption in body shaming and the development of poor body image and self-esteem. Our clothing becomes a source of comparison for all children very early. I’m inspired by the story of a middle school teacher who wore the same dress for 100 days. Part of her motivation was to demonstrate what could be done with the energy we might otherwise be spending each morning deciding what to wear.
Climate and environmental warriors have been promoting alternatives to “fast fashion” for years. If you’d like to support a Texas-based organization doing great work, AND have a FUN, creative night out (in Austin), check out Texas Campaign for the Environment‘s Trash Makeover! It’s always for much fun, and supports a fantastic group doing the hard work on cleaning up our state. Check out this cool video!