Can Polyester Save the World?

No, this is not an attempt to become Beauty Tips for Ministers II. I’m filing an update on my New Year’s Resolution not to buy clothes for a year. And I am on day sixty-something of this, having bought my last piece of clothing December 21. I was thrilled and renewed in my determination when I read this article at the New York Times – Can Polyester Save the World?

The article writes about the new trend of “fast fashion” where clothes are so cheap, they can be bought in larger quantities and just discarded when they go out of style or start to show signs of wear. Three of the stores named in the article are were three of my favorite places to buy clothes – H&M, Old Navy, and Target. Yikes. The problem is, of course, is that buying more, cheap clothes is not so good for the environment when multiplied by millions of people doing it. As the article points out

…clothes — and fast clothes in particular — are a large and worsening source of the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, because of how they are both produced and cared for, concludes a new report from researchers at Cambridge University titled “Well Dressed?”

And all of this helps me remember why I am not buying clothes for a year.  First, because I don’t need to.  I’ve amassed a collection that I need to learn how to work with and not get clothes just because it is fun. Which brings me to point number two is that I bought clothes just for fun, and I really craved them.  More made me want more. I didn’t like that. And three, this is an attempt to save money, although I realize that I really didn’t spend that much on them.  So while it saves some, it is mostly turning out to be a good exercise in discipline and anti-consumerism. It reminds me a lot of my transition to vegetarianism – it got easier with time, and each time I rejected meat I felt sort of accomplished and more content with my decision.  And much faster than with vegetarianism, the “I really might not stick to this” type of temptation has faded.

So that is the update.  No clothes so far with about ten months to go. It feels good.

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5 Responses to Can Polyester Save the World?

  1. […] Aside from a bit o’ ranting, Elizabeth has some interesting posts. This bit on polyester and consumerism is readable if you ignore the bit about not buying clothes for a year. posted by admin at 5:05 pm […]

  2. […] for Faith. You can also read about how our clothes choices and food choices impact the environment here and here. Happy planet […]

  3. […] of elizabeth’s little blog has written about her year-long attempt to not buy any new clothing; she alludes to a (not) recent article in […]

  4. […] new-things-make-me-feel-good sort of mentality that I would like to avoid for an array of reasons (including environmental ones). It wasn’t like I was a clothes freak before – but I would get a shirt here and pants there […]

  5. […] Can Polyester Save the World? Part of the series of posts on my (failed) attempt not to buy new clothes for a year. […]

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