Could reinvention solve your shopping addiction? A recent article on BBC took a very interesting perspective on the fashion industry and overconsumption.
This is the first time I’d ever read about fashion companies—even really big names, like H&M and Zara—that were trying to find a model where they could promote sustainability by creating blends of recycled clothing. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I really support this idea. There’s something about it in the post I wrote “Can Advanced Style Be a Retreat From Compulsive Buying.” Additionally, during my recent trip to South Africa where I was a counselor at Camp Sizanani, I led a program that taught kids how to repurpose old materials—such ties, shoelaces, and other fabrics—into wearable art.
This message of recycling what we already have is particularly pertinent to those trying to recover from shopping addictions. What we already have, at least as far as material possessions go, is usually way more than enough. Continuing to buy compulsively harms us and the environment, and since you can never get enough of what you don’t really need, it’s an endlessly frustrating and ineffective solution.
Trends fly in and out; many of us feel it’s justified and appropriate to update our wardrobes every season. Americans add 11 million tons of textile materials to landfills each year. While the BBC article doesn’t specify the population that it’s referring to, it does offer the following statistic: Wastefulness results in about 60 percent of all clothing being consigned to landfills. It’s a very good sign and quite commendable that the fashion industry is investing in research and innovations for textile recycling, as well as trying to create a “circular economy” that eliminates all waste by turning our leftovers into something new. In fact, last year, about 20 percent of H&M’s clothing was made of sustainably sourced materials, and one company, Dutch Awareness, envisions producing 100 percent recycled clothing blend in the near future. Furthermore, some companies even have a policy that encourages people to bring in their old clothing to be recycled by offering discounts on future purchases.
Jill Chivers recently wrote a blog post about the impact of “fast fashion” and has shared a video that I found particularly interesting. You can watch it below.
To read the article in full, click here, and the next time you go to the mall or get online to shop, ask yourself the tried and true six reminder card questions, and now add a seventh: Will this very likely end its days in a landfill or is it likely to have another few lives? See if your favorite brands are working to support sustainability. If necessity is the mother of invention, consciousness is the mother of reinvention…and might just resolve your shopping addiction.
Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence.