We Explain #30Wears and Why it Matters
Go to Instagram now and search for #30Wears: You will witness an online movement from consumers all around the world who have an incredible passion for individual style and sustainability. The movement, created by EcoAge founder and sustainable fashion pioneer, Livia Firth, simply challenged consumers to ask themselves one question before making a purchase: “Will I wear this at least 30 times?”
The question may seem arbitrary, but it is intelligent and necessary. Right now, fashion is cheaper, more accessible and created at a faster pace than ever before in human history. This fuels a few major issues: the demand for quick, inexpensive fashion is an extremely polluting business that many consumers in the western world do not witness. For example, 20 percent of the global fresh groundwater people depend on is polluted from the dying and creation of textiles like cotton and denim. Secondly, the labor force behind the seams of each garment is overwhelmingly women in developing countries who are not paid a fair wage or able to work in safe conditions. This keeps the margins low for the end consumer because the cut of their wages is traded for a cheaper price tag.
Lastly, the lack of quality workmanship and hyperactive trend cycles keep shoppers buying more and more, which is extremely wasteful for the planet’s natural resources and toxic to the landfills when filled with cheap, one-use blouses. In addition to indirectly supporting the above atrocities, did we mention that the end-consumer is actually spending more money when buying into this fast-fashion cycle? Let us explain.
According to the Council for Textile Recycling, Americans generate 21 billion pounds of textile waste per year, throwing away 85 percent of the items they purchased. With an average annual shopping budget of $1,700, the average American throws away $1,445 worth of clothing that will need to be replaced each year, according to the International Business Times.
So, let’s get back to the goal of #30wears. If you are dedicated to wearing a piece at least 30 times, which is to say a blouse every other week for a year, or a few times a holiday season for the next five years, it will actually save you money and support a better fashion system entirely.
“The biggest message is every time you buy something, always think, ‘will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?’ If the answer is yes, then buy it,” says Livia Firth. “But you’d be surprised how many times you say no.”
Let’s do the math: If a $30 dress from Zara is worn five times, the cost per year is $7.50, then tossed, and you are right back at sourcing another $30 dollar dress. Over the course of one year, you could easily spend $90 on three separate dresses that lasted only one trend cycle each. After all, that is the point for fast-fashion retailers and the reason why the CEO of Zara is the fourth richest person in the world- he makes more money than those who own natural resources like oil.
If you invest in a $90 dollar dress initially, one that you adore and commit to, and it is worn 30 times over the years, the cost per wear is actually $3. If you wear it more than 30 times than the cost per wear keeps going lower and lower. You actually are saving money and looking good while doing it. In addition, a $90 dress if sourced well, will usually have much better attributes like better wages for those who created it, better business practices, and incredible design that will suit your personal style much better than a one-look-fits-all design from a retailer juggernaut like Zara.
Next time you are shopping for a new item (new to you from a vintage or thrift store, or new entirely), here are few questions you can ask yourself:
1. Does this piece excite me?
Would you wear it out of the store right now?
2. How will this be incorporated into my overall wardrobe?
Make sure you have an idea how you can wear it 30 times or more and incorporate it into your overall style.
3. Does it fit me well and is it made well?
Don’t force it. It will never leave your closet if you are already making excuses for it.
4. Does it fit my budget?
We all have one.
5. Does this brand support my personal style values?
Ask yourself if supporting this brand you are supporting a mission or company that aligns with what you want to see for the fashion industry.
Have suggestions or tips on how you practice #30wears? Share in the comments below.
A special thank you to @style.indigo for sharing her photos in support of #30wears!