According to Quartz, we spend about 3 percent of our annual income on clothes (I expected it to be a little higher!). We also have five times the amount of clothes as we did in the first half of the 20th century, and it’s mostly due to the fact that overseas production has made clothes cheap to produce (low-cost fast fashion). But wages of workers overseas are slowly rising, and more consumers are considering the ethical dilemmas that come with cheap clothing. How will this affect the way we buy clothes in the future?
One option is to reconsider our approach to clothing by taking a cue from Europeans who have historically been more more focused on quality rather than quantity. Much of the cheap clothing we consume in droves is like our fast food diets—high in calories (quantity) but low in nutrition (quality). We are a culture that buys a lot of junk. Think about your own wardrobe—consider how many items of clothing you own and how often you wear each of those items. My guess is that most of us wear about 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. That is a lot of wasted space and wasted money.
In the past few years, I’ve changed the way I buy and wear clothes by going the uniform route, though I also like this European approach of buying classic, quality pieces that last a long time. One item that comes to mind is my peacoat—I’ve worn it every winter for the past 14 years or so.
Photo: Maegan Tintari