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In Search of Lost Fashion

By Kirsten Coates

As with most people who have spent the last few months isolating from the general public, I could be accused of “letting myself go”.

No trips to the hairdresser, no brush with the makeup bag, no accessorising with matching scarves.

In other words, my wearable wardrobe has been reduced to two pairs of pants (one on, one off), a rotation of seven tops (one for each day of the week) and one skirt, just for the fun of it.

This drastically reduced wardrobe has, in turn, provided the impetus to clean out my cupboards and cast a critical eye over what these cavernous receptacles hold and ask myself the tough question; “Do I have too many clothes?”

As cited on the ABC’s “War on Waste”, Australians are disposing of 600kg of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes. Of that, ½ million tonne of that waste ends up in landfill, which is enough to fill the MCG two and a half times in 12 months.

We get tired and bored with our clothing, or we see something that looks good, or we respond to a fashion trend or we just need some “retail therapy” to lift our mood when things are bleak.

Whatever the reason, we can’t stop buying new clothes, sheets, towels, cushion covers and throws.

Even though op shops might be closed, and on-line shopping is so very tempting when you are house-bound and bored, we can spend this time reflecting on the part we play in textile waste.

Just as Proust led his readers to look at the day-to-day fabric of their lives with new eyes rather than seeking out new places, it may be worth taking the same advice when looking at clothes you may be tempted to throw out.

Like any old and worn relationship, our wardrobe may benefit from being looked at with new eyes, asking ourselves the questions; what did we love about it in the first place? Does it have beautiful fabric? Is it well made? Did it look really good on me? Can I mend it, re-purpose it, or pass it on to someone else?

Believe in yourself and your first sense of why you bought that piece. Like a failing relationship, try to find what it is you first loved about it and love it all over again.