**I published this last September and now it seems more relevant than ever. You can see where my Wardrobe Project idea started, but it also speaks to how I think we need to approach our love of fashion and design going forward.
As I mentioned, I (like many others I hope) am grappling with my love of style and fashion and the growing acknowledgement that most of us own far more than we need. Over consumption, paired with bad production processes are wreaking havoc on our planet. We have to change how and what we buy and how we practice business. Sooner than later, this process will be disruptive on a large scale. There might be a lot of shuttered businesses, but there will also be exciting, new alternatives. If that sounds depressing, I thought so at first too. But my small part of the solution is this: To concentrate what I cover on TFI so that every story fits at least two of the following categories.
“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”–YSL. A woman with unique, personal style is much more intriguing than a woman dressed in head-to-toe trends. Sure, I want to look modern, but it’s more about adapting what works for you, than being sure you ticked off all the boxes from a magazine’s latest runway report. In that light, I plan on featuring women who have innate style, their have-forever pieces, shopping tips and advice on how to find your own. I believe when you learn to stick to your style, you’re less apt to make impulse purchases you later regret. I also admit to slipping up (the “so-and-so looked so good in that leather jacket, maybe if I bought one that’s similar”), but it’s still a worthy endeavor.
Are you thinking intentionally about what you buy and what you want to wear? Do you know the ethos behind a brand, and why what they make matters and is worth it? Very few fashion, beauty and luxury lifestyle companies have the sustainability factor right (yet), but some are working on it, others have high standards of quality and craftsmanship and create long-lasting designs, and some work with natural materials. They are the future (even if some of them have been around forever) and what I want most to share with you.
This is where fashion, in particular, has a long way to go. I want to know what companies plan to do about it. But sustainability is also about buying less, and buying better. It’s about learning the value of timeless, beautifully designed things. And perhaps more importantly, and something that takes discipline in the age of immediate gratification, not tiring of them. It also means taking care of what you have, and knowing what to do with things once they no longer serve their purpose. Living in New York in pre-war buildings for over 30 years, I have never had the luxury of a walk-in closet. Have I always wanted one? Fits of jealousy when I see anyone else’s; what kind of fashion editor has to suffer without one? Until now. Lately, I’ve been trying to ruthlessly winnow what I have in my ungenerously-sized one down (with some luck).
(On another note: Going forward, I’m ignoring fast-fashion brands that are based on 6-week merchandise turnovers; most have literally tons of unsold clothing waste. I understand that everyone’s “best” price point varies, but there are smaller affordable brands that are better alternatives.)
So, look forward to more women with great style who incorporate these ideas into their work, wardrobe and lives, and honest conversations about how to bring these ideas into our own lives. Learning to love fashion in a new, more thoughtful way feels like a challenge. But I am always up for a good challenge and believe change can be for the better. Changes in the fashion industry and how we consume were already long overdue. Let’s figure out a new way forward. If you ever have thoughts on this you want to share, I would love to hear from you!
Betsy Ames says
Thanks Jennifer for continuing the conversation.
I started my business, Mindfulstyle, five years ago after being in the fashion biz for many years before having four kids, and seeing what the “fast fashion” brands were doing to the clothing market with continuous releases of cheaply made clothes.
The secondary clothing market (vintage, used) is overwhelmed now and I find its harder to sell even good quality pieces than it was three years ago.
There is a new study out that says climate change will likely cause the demise of our world by 2050. This is a pressing issue that many want to ignore.
Thanks again and I am looking forward to your new content. xo
Cayli Reck says
When I read this post I immediately thought of you Betsy!
Love that you two are connected!
Betsy Ames says
Now we are. Thanks Cayli. Miss you. xo
Hi Jennifer! I find the subject of style eternally interesting. I don’t work in fashion (I am an investment banker), but have always been fascinated with the curation of beauty and style, and I find your perspective really refreshing. I imagine with your career you have access to incredibly stylish women, so it would be great to hear what style, substance and sustainability means to them whilst taking a peak into their lives and closets. I read your blog for inspiration (and to take a little break from looking at numbers all day), but I also think it is essential for more people to spread the message about sustainability and enjoying fashion without ruining the planet or your bank account
I love TFI and the direction you are taking with it. In a scary world It is comforting to see someone taking an optimistic and realistic approach to the the challenges before us. Thanks!
Val H says
This is THE issue of our time, and I’m glad you’re here to lead us in the hard discussions that need to take place. I think of my grandkids’ future and know that nothing is more important.
I’m a fleeting reader, but this will make me devoted. I buy mostly vintage/ antiques –
But how do we deal with all the beauty product waste?
I keep reading about “fast fashion” but I am not sure what brands are and are not included in that category. I know brands like Mango and Zara are and most designer brands are not. Would you be able to share brands that are and are not?
Tina W says
I agree this is the most important issue and everyone needs to take heed! I found myself almost clicking on a fast fashion website because of a 70% off sale. Instead I held firm and unsubscribed. For me, the first line of defense is not exposing myself to temptation.
Dana D says
I echo all of these comments and thank you for your commitment to this.
Fast fashion is harmful to people and the planet.
We need more examples of what it looks like to live stylishly, with less.
Elizabeth Velasquez says
TyLynn Nguyen is starting a similar series on her IGTV.