Fast fashion puts the environment at risk throughout all the steps of the supply chain: from the immense utilization of water and pesticides in textile farming to microplastics entering our oceans through the washing of synthetic materials. The cycle of manufacturing, distributing, and wearing clothes operates on a take-make-dispose business model. This linear system pollutes and degrades our ecosystem while putting pressure on our finite resources.


Every year, millions of tons of clothes are produced, worn, and discarded. The footwear and apparel industry is responsible for 3,990 million metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent gases). Every year, New York State residents and businesses throw away almost 1.4 billion pounds of usable and recyclable textiles, including: clothing, footwear, belts, hats, handbags, throw rugs, drapes, towels, sheets, and other linens.

To promote degrowth in the fashion industry, 1,297 changemakers joined Remake in resetting their relationship with fashion by taking the pledge to buy no new clothes for 90 days. From June 1 to September 1, pledge takers chose to wear what they already own. By either buying nothing at all or only secondhand, our community decreased its carbon footprint, reduced the amount of waste we send to the landfill, and avoided spending our money on fashion brands that exploit people and the planet.


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By participating in the #NoNewClothes pledge, 1,297 changemakers saved 18,587,740 gallons of water, prevented 7,187,434 pounds of CO2e emissions, and prevented 26,267 pounds of waste from entering the landfill. All together, they saved $294,121.

These numbers demonstrate the power of collective action. The campaign was successful in encouraging consumers to replace shopping for newest trends from fast fashion brands with something more pragmatic and exciting, like swapping, upcycling, buying vintage, or making their own fits! #NoNewClothes provided a creative platform for pledge takers to live a low-waste lifestyle. This campaign was a reminder of all the alternatives available that we can utilize to meet our fashion cravings.


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Actress Nat Kelly completed her year-long #NoNewClothes challenge earlier this year as a way to combat her overconsumption habits and highlight the devastating consequences that the fashion industry has had on our planet and the people making our clothes. Talking about fashion trends and its consequent impact on oceans, she mentions:

“So we demand justice from the fashion industry. Justice for the exploited animals, justice for the exploited humans, and justice for our exploited lands and waters. When there is no more clean water left on this earth we are not going to feel very glamorous. We can’t drink the latest trend.”

She also shared her own journey as an evolving consumer, from empathizing with her previous choices to showing resilience against fashion brand’s targeting marketing campaigns:

“As I painstakingly sorted, sold, rented, and attempted to thoughtfully give away or discard what amounted to several large boxes of clothes and shoes — I tried to have compassion for the small part of myself that had thoughtlessly made these purchases. And at the same time I told myself ‘never again.’ Waking up from this trance has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and my mental and spiritual health. I’m no longer haunted by hungry ghosts encouraging me to buy, buy, buy.”


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Also supporting the pledge was Natasha Halesworth of The Consistency Project in Remake’s Changemakers in Re-Use chat. Natasha talked about the fashion industry’s need for creating and selling something new every season. She talked about her process of creative reusing and how designing with second clothes promotes slow fashion that is more unique and ethical.

Many of Remake’s community members have decided to continue the #NoNewClothes campaign beyond the summer to further celebrate the message of re-wearing preloved clothes. This campaign’s most important lesson? The most sustainable clothes are the ones already in our closet.

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