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.