Nearly three weeks ago I decided to do a social experiment. On myself.
The challenge; to wear the same dress every day at work for one week.
Suddenly, the negative effect that the fashion industry has on the planet became very apparent to me. Not only from a sustainability point of view, but also from an ethical standpoint. From an environmental perspective alone; did you know it takes 2,700 litres of water to make one t-shirt? To put it into meaningful terms, that’s about three years worth of drinking water for one person. Crazy, right? This isn’t even taking into account the textile waste that, by 2030, is expected to be a 148 million ton problem or the thousands of polluting chemicals used to dye our beautiful threads.
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My second key reason, was that I was previously a massive culprit of an absolute bargain buy from any of the well-known brands. $7 on sale for a cute dress? Amazing. It was mine. Then I started listening to sustainability podcasts and doing my research. Exactly how could my purchase be justified when the women making them, with so much love, care and attention to detail, are being paid next to nothing? In Bangladesh, the majority of garment workers receive salaries of around $45 AUD per month, about half of what is considered an acceptable living wage.
The evidence was mounting up and my conscience couldn’t cope. So off I went on my challenge.
I’ve never been massively interested in fashion, although I do have a substantial wardrobe. Working in media in a client facing role means I have to dress fairly smartly, so I knew there was a bit of pressure to change it up a bit as I was worried I might get a bit of judgement from my peers if they noticed. In hindsight, this was all in my head. Then it occurred to me, the problem was that we all care far too much about what everyone else thinks. If you eliminate that worry and focus on what matters more, the environment, you alleviate the angst and can then rock it with confidence.
The dress started out on the Saturday prior as a blue denim style material, which I then decided to dye, with a natural dye from Rit Dye. So off I went to work on Monday, day one, in my new dark grey dress, a pair of black tights and a short, black jacket. I also curled my hair. Totally easy, because it was like any other day.
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Tada! Three “new” items of clothing. Thank you #ritdye ☻????????♠️♣️ Faded black, ripped jeans now given new life. A plain, white top now a gorgeous dusty, navy/grey. Finally, a blue denim dress now a very dark shade of grey ???? Very successful first attempt ???? • • • • • • • #upcycledclothing #proudoutfitrepeater #ritstagram #consciousliving #environmentallyfriendly #naturaldye #rewearcare #revitalize #goodasnew #ootd #consciousfashion #sustainablestyle #changemaker #dyersofinstagram #memademay