Life of a Garment

Wardrobe metabolism is a new word to me but not a new concept. All clothing has a life cycle whether it’s life is based off of its durability or the style at the moment. I’ve always learned that if something doesn’t fit anymore or I simply don’t want it, I just give it away. I don’t think I have ever thrown away a piece of clothing unless it was ripped beyond repair. I have been one to decide what I didn’t need anymore and allow my friends to pick throw it. Whatever didn’t get taken went to GoodWill for me or a resale shop. I never thought of this as anything less than normal. It never occurred to me that some people might just throw their clothing in the landfill. Unknown to me I have actually been very sustainable with my clothing, and I am proud to say that. Recently I have also started repurposing clothes to make them into something new or more trendy if they are out of style. The big thing a couple summers ago was to cut up old t-shirts and create workout shirts or create a completely new style. I think this idea is great because it gives clothing a new, unique feel from something that you loved but may not have been wearing often.
There is a few things that I think would make trying to be more sustainable with clothing a little bit more difficult. When repurposing clothing, what about the scraps? How can those become something new or useful instead of going into the landfill? This idea that is supposed to keep a consumer from being wasteful is actually creating waste from scrap fabric that are just going to be thrown away instead of a whole garment taken to GoodWill or given to a friend. Giving a garment new life is a great way to create something new but there are consumers out there that buy new things and get rid of the old because they can’t create something new in their mind. When a classmate pointed this out to me it made me realize that as apparel students we can see ways that a t-shirt can be reworked into a tank top or something else but someone else might not be able to see that. And even if they can would they physically be able to cut apart the shirt and sew it back together correctly where it wouldn’t come apart?
I think this would be a great new venture for a new company. A consumer can take something into the store or send it a designer with possible ideas for a new garment. Then the company can create something new for the customer with their old garment. This would be a somewhat sustainable practice. The customer gets something new but doesn’t have to go buy the newest trend for an outrageous price. I think this type of company would be either really successful or not at all. It would take some market research to figure it out.
All in all I think there is still going to be a high consumption rate for the apparel industry, especially considering the path we’re going down now. The whole industry would have to change to become more sustainable and I don’t know if designers and companies that are successful right now would want to completely change their practices. It would be interesting to see what they would say when asked, though. I see a possible research project in the near future…..

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