By this time, many of us staying home have tried various activities to keep ourselves occupied—learning a new skill online, keeping in shape with fitness tutorials, watching some binge-worthy TV shows… you name it. Next on our to-do list: giving our wardrobes a little clear-out.
If you’re not sure how and where to begin, luxury resale platform Vestiaire Collective is here to help. Today, the site launches its ‘Wardrobe Reality Check’ challenge as part of its broader ‘Fashion Should Feel Good’ campaign, in celebration of Earth Day (marking its 50th anniversary on April 22). The initiative—geared towards informing, inspiring and motivating consumers to break old habits and free themselves from pieces they no longer need—challenges fashion lovers around the world to consider the environmental impact of their wardrobe choices.
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Among the first to kick off the challenge is model and environmental activist, Arizona Muse. Muse first began modeling in her teens, but it wasn’t until her breakout show for Prada in 2011 that she was credited as one of the top newcomers in the modeling industry. She has gone on to grace numerous magazine covers and front brand campaigns, as well as open some of the biggest shows in fashion.
While her career had taken off, Muse only found her true purpose within the industry some five years ago—campaigning for sustainability. She has since worked with Fashion Revolution and also sits on the advisory board of The Sustainable Angle, a non-profit organisation that “supports projects with a focus on sustainability in Fashion and Textiles and related industries such as food and agriculture.”
Here, we find out more from Muse on what inspired her to take up the challenge, her thoughts on circular fashion, and her top tips for building a sustainable wardrobe.
1) Why do you think it’s important to be aware of the environmental impact of your wardrobe choices?
I think that knowing about the environmental impact of your wardrobe choices means that you then have an opportunity, however small, to save the world every time you add something to your wardrobe.
2) Why did you decide to take the wardrobe reality check challenge?
I love games, and the environment has become my most passionate topic. I’m a dedicated environmentalist, and I live and breathe it in everything I do now. All I want to do is learn more about the climate crisis, and to educate myself and make changes in my life, because I know that the small changes I make actually do make a big difference, when compounded over time.
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3) What do you hope to achieve from taking the challenge?
I hope to achieve a refined wardrobe with a much lower environmental impact, and also to have learned even more about the choices I make, and the materials from which my clothes are made. For me, that’s the best place to start if you’re curious about sustainability. It’s important to know, for example, that cotton is one of the most harmful crops in the world (along with soy and wheat), because it uses an immense amount of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides every year, which then contaminates soil and runs off into water supplies.
4) Why is circular fashion important to you?
The circular economy means that any material that goes into the system will never be wasted, and will always be reused and recycled. In order to have a fully functioning circular economy, you have to design this intention into each product from the beginning; the idea that everything can be taken apart and recycled back to raw materials, so that it can be regenerated and used again and again.
5) Why do you think more young people are turning to resale as a sustainable alternative to fast fashion?
I think the reason I turned to resale is that I love the idea that I’m now using something that someone else owned before me. It’s so cool to extend the lifespan of a piece: to me it’s the definition of luxury. Luxury only used to be something that was brand new and wrapped up in lots of packaging, but I think we’re all waking up to how wasteful this is.
6) What is your top sustainable fashion tip?
My top tip is definitely to buy something that someone else has already used or swap things with your friends, just don’t buy something new! And of course to always start by searching on sites like Vestiaire Collective or your local thrift store. If you really can’t find what you’re looking for in the pre-owned market, and you need to buy new, make sure you do your research and find a brand that’s making that product in the best possible way for the environment.
7) What is your top tip for clearing out your wardrobe/ reselling?
I know that some people struggle to get rid of things sometimes, but I’m not like that. I absolutely love getting rid of things! Nothing feels better to me than to fill up bags of things that I don’t need any more and get them out of my house. But also I understand that it can be a real struggle to let go of things because sometimes you can be emotionally attached to them. I always try to focus on how good my empty closet will feel when it’s not so crammed full that I can’t find anything. It also feels so great to be able to have everything properly organised, it’s like breathing a sigh of relief.
8) In your opinion, what do you think are the top 3 most important considerations for building a forever wardrobe?
Building a forever wardrobe is obviously about buying timeless things, but I think first it’s about getting to know your own style, and asking yourself what you really like. I think most of the things I bought but never wore happened because I didn’t know what I liked. I’ve found it useful to create a Pinterest board for my style, and then to really analyse the pictures I chose and to ask myself what it was that I liked about them and finding the common threads between the pictures. It’s about eliminating the tyranny of choice so you can build an edited wardrobe of pieces that you love and know look great on you.