Fashion, Style, Sustainability

#onepieceamonth Challenge. Think before I buy.

Chapter Fifty illustration Tanja Minnee

New year, new challenge. Voilà, my fashion resolution for 2016: buy One Piece a Month. One piece of clothes. Or bags. Or shoes.
Simply for the reason that we can’t go on like this. The more I learn about the horrible consequences of the current (fast) fashion industry, the more I realise that change of my behaviour is the – small – thing I can do. No more fast fashion for me. Fashion is not a consumption good.
You know I believe in buy less, buy higher quality. The eco-chic marketplace I founded back in 2007, Designer-Vintage, was my first attempt to make a change. Recycle in stead of buy new.

The True Cost of Fast Fashion on people and planet

The  impressive mind changing documentary film The True Cost by Andrew Morgan is the final push I needed. It confirms what I already suspected but had no idea of its enormous scale.
The True Cost shows us that the short life circle of cheap low quality clothes, shoes and bags is destroying both people and planet. It is horrifying to learn about the impact of fast fashion by companies as H&M, Zara, Primark and the likes. The (mostly female) garment makers work under horrid circumstances for 12 hours a day. To get paid 3$. Yes, modern slavery.
Depressing detail is that the wages were 10$ only a few years ago but due to the power of these large companies in their quest for cheaper production, factories are forced to cut wages to remain in business.

The other downside of fast fashion is the fact that toxic chemicals, water used for colouring denim (10.000 liter for one pair!) and pesticides used for cotton is beyond the waste our planet can handle.

The #onepieceamonth challenge

Of course I’ve been there, excited about a ‘good bargain’ at H&M or Zara. But the last ten or so years I’ve slowed down. Fashion should not be a disposable product. The impact of careless production and endless consumption is too big. Inspired by women as Livia Firth, who strives for sustainable ànd stylish solutions, I’m thinking even more before I buy now. I’ve deleted my H&M account.

The biggest message is every time you buy something, always think, ‘will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?’ If the answer is yes, then buy it.
_ Livia Firth

Taking a close look at my wardrobe, I realise that most of my favourite items are over 10 years old. Are still in a perfect state and of timeless style. A Dries van Noten dotted coat, a pair of wide legged black Jil Sander pants, a Prada dress (or two) and yes, lucky me, vintage Chanel and Hermès bags. One of the perks while owning a designer vintage platform. What I no longer wear, I re-sell and from the proceeds another classic piece enters my closet.

So, with practising #onepieceamonth I strive for a timeless-favourites-only-wardrobe. Without fast fashion items.
Based on my sale shopping experience this first weeks of January, I can tell you that I’m in a different mindset already. Do I need this? Do I have something similar (and back into the rack goes a pair of black pants) already? Will I wear it at least 30 times?
Leaving a (online) shop empty-handed never felt this good. I’ll hang on to my January trump card for now. Think before you buy is the new black. One piece a month. Who’s in?

the true cost
illustration by Tanja Minnee
For my 2017 purchases, click here  

2016 purchases:

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  • Reply Sophie at

    This is very inspiring and very useful.
    Since I minimized my live I go months without buying a single piece of clothing. Its such a great feeling not to buy anything for so long.
    I also saw that documentary and ot really moved me ! A real eye opening.


    • Reply Karin B. (52) at

      Tnx for your sweet reply, Sophie. Isnt it an interesting phenomena that once you’ve made the click to think (hard) before you buy, that feeling alone is more rewarding than a bag full of new stuff?
      I just unsubscribed to almost all of my fashion newsletters… A capsule inbox as well, haha. Have a lovely weekend, Karin

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