Exactly one year ago I pledged to buy No New Clothes for one whole year. Prior to that promise I had been your typical consumer, actress, and influencer — more than happy to receive gifts of new clothes and money in exchange for promoting a level of consumerism that this planet cannot sustain.
Documenting this journey for Remake has been a wonderful opportunity to reflect honestly on this process and acknowledge that my pursuit of happiness was linked to buying things that I don’t truly need. I would like to say that I have been cured of my consumerism completely, but I think that will take a few more years of experimenting with consumption abstinence and reflection to cure myself of the desire to purchase pretty shiny things. But thankfully, this year taught me that the second-hand clothing market truly has everything to satisfy my whims. Especially now that COVID restrictions are softening, I still feel a strong desire to dress up and be creative with my clothing — but I no longer do so at the expense of exploited garment workers and the destruction of the planet.
And that is what this boycott has truly been about: proving to myself that I can still look and feel good without new clothes, and also sending a message to the fashion world that I can no longer support an industry that continues to pollute, extract, and enslave.
And that is what this boycott has truly been about: proving to myself that I can still look and feel good without new clothes, and also sending a message to the fashion world that I can no longer support an industry that continues to pollute, extract, and enslave. I don’t want a single drop more of our precious water wasted for one more t-shirt that will be worn a few times and discarded. I don’t want another child’s hands to make the next latest trend.
So what’s next for me and my fashion journey? I’m going to take this next month to buy some things that I do truly need and that I cannot buy second hand. Like underwear! (Sidenote: If anyone wants to invest in my idea for a compostable underwear line, please reach out! It is my dream to create compostable undies — ones that can be thrown into the compost bin and turned into food for the soil! ). And if I’m honest, I can say that I have had my eye on a few pieces of clothing that while new, I do believe are made sustainably if not regeneratively. I promise to be transparent about those purchases because dialogue and honesty are important as we navigate this transition to a just fashion industry.
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To change an industry as massive as the fashion industry, with so many powerful interests wanting to protect the status quo, is going to require a disruption on a massive scale. And that is what I’m hoping to inspire with this No New Clothes movement. But in order to make an impact we have to use our consumer power collectively to make this boycott truly effective. It’s not that I want designers and retailers to suffer — so many of them are my dear friends. But I think if they truly knew the impact that this industry is having on our waterways, animals, and fellow humans, they would agree with me that something needs to change.
And that’s why I’m asking you to join me in June as I embark on another No New Clothes challenge. I will be continuing this column quarterly, and we will be holding future events where can gather and share our experiences on this journey together.
You and I did not create this unjust world that we live in. We were born into systems of exploitative capitalism, and through the persuasive power of advertising, movies, and now social media, we have been programmed into this incredibly destructive cycle of endless consumption. Dismantling these external and internal systems will take time and won’t be without challenges, but I am game to take them on. Are you?