Considerate Consumption: How to Buy and Maintain Clothes on a Limited Budget

11 January 2023
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When I began my training to become a textile designer, I only had an inkling of the environmental and societal impacts of fast fashion. Through my training, I learned about the multiple types of pollution generated by the garment industry—from fibre-reactive dyes and multiple rinse cycles using kilograms of water per garment to factory pollution and overflowing landfills that affect air quality. It twisted my stomach. Knowing this, I wanted to spurn the use of these clothes, and, if possible, make my own. But by the time I had completed my training, I understood why people use fast fashion garments: Making clothing takes time, skill, and funds. So, how do I acquire clothing while being conscientious about the impact of what I purchase?

First, I became more aware of how I consume clothing. Today, I purchase fewer items of clothing by asking myself about what I specifically need when acquiring new clothes. Do I need more than one shirt? How many times will I wear this garment? What do I need it for? Does it fit my needs exactly? Is it the perfect colour? If I wait for these pants to go on sale, will I want them then? Does it match with at least 80% of my wardrobe? I use a limited colour palette to develop my wardrobe—this way, all my garments can be worn together. By limiting how much clothing I buy, I can invest in quality. By investing in quality, I can have clothing that will last longer.

Featured image by Crew on Unsplash. All other images credit Magan Wilson.

Copyright © Magan Wilson except as indicated.

About Magan Wilson

Magan Wilson is a potter turned fibre artist with a love of plants, experimentation, cats, and the hidden beauty of the natural world. Her love of glaze chemistry and form transformed into a love of dyes, fibre, felt, and knitwear. Her work catches the wholeness of existing in the present. The wild nature of the world that flourishes on the fringes of awareness. Chasing the idea of a 'wild night' you can find her work via her alias of Oíche Rua (EE-ha RU-ah), an Irish phrase capturing the chaos and wild beauty of the night sky.

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