There’s nothing like the promise of a fresh, new year. Realistically, I know it’s a day full of possibility as any other day, but to me it’s a magical time where I reflect on the past and look towards the future with goals and to-do lists in hand. 2019 is a blank canvas, and as of now, I’m hopeful that I will grow, learn and achieve during the next twelve months. I’m notoriously guilty of heaping loads of unrealistic expectations on myself, getting overwhelmed and not surprisingly, failing to meet all of them and feeling defeated.
My list this year is much smaller than it’s ever been–I’m trying to be gentle with myself in 2019. One of the popular hashtags I’ve been using on Instagram (created by someone else, to clarify) is #fewerbetterthings and that’s the mantra I’m going into the new year with. It’s origin is rooted more in minimalism and capsule wardrobe movements, but I think it’s a really beautiful sentiment for me in all areas of my life. Recently, I’ve felt so inundated with things 24/7—more clothing, more material possessions, more shows, more podcasts, more things I need to achieve, needing to have more, needing to do more, needing to be more. It goes against all the exterior influences surrounding me to seek for fewer, better quality things and to live in contentment with what I have. I want to live slower. I want to live simply. I want to live authentically.
I spent all of 2018 doing research on fast fashion vs. slow fashion, ethical sourcing and brands after finishing a whole month of Dressember and feeling deeply uncomfortable that I was advocating against human trafficking while wearing brands that, in all likelihood, relied heavily on human trafficking and child labor every step of their creation. I’ve participated in this yearly challenge for the past six years (2013 – 2018) and thanks to the generosity of my family and friends I’ve raised just under $4,700 and I’m deeply proud of that. However (since I haven’t tracked my spending habits religiously) I know during those years, I’ve potentially spend nearly as much on fast fashion—fueling the very thing that I so desperately want to combat. Countless sites and sources have stated that fast fashion is a key industries contributing to modern slavery, and according to the Global Slavery Index 2018 $127.7 billion worth of garments at risk of including modern slavery in their supply chain are exported annually. That’s completely overwhelming and completely unacceptable, and if I truly believe that, then it’s time to change my personal habits to reflect that.
I’ve been overwhelmed and unsure where to begin, and am still working to navigate how to cultivate an ethical wardrobe with a (very) small budget. My number one response when discussing this (which I actively try to avoid honestly because I don’t want my family and loved ones to feel like I’m judging them for their $12 skirt they snagged at Marshall’s because I’m truly, truly not) is usually that it sounds great, but it’s just not affordable and I totally hear that. Seeing that jeans can go for $275 on many sites with high ethical ratings and transparency policies is pretty discouraging.
I reject the idea that only affluent influencers can live this out and believe that I can change my personal habits so I can continue as an advocate outside of the month of December. I’ve spent the last several months of 2018 seeing if it could work for me and so far, so good. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve learned some tips and tricks and I suspect I will even more now that I’m committed to focusing my efforts for this blog. I have a running list of topics that I’d like to address here, but if you would like me to touch on anything specific, let me know!