“Can a wardrobe change the world?”
You might be wondering what does fashion have to do with minimum waste.
In Minimum Waste, we focus not only on waste as such, but on responsible consumption overall. Therefore, we decided to organize (together with the Czech slow fashion organization SLOU) a series of workshops called “The Efficient Wardrobe”, which is focused on a responsible approach towards clothing and fashion.
The series consists of four workshops. The participants can choose to come to all four or just one or two, depending on how much they want their wardrobe and shopping habits to change. The workshops are led by a well known Czech stylist Kamila Vodochodská, who actively fights for a more sustainable fashion consumption.
The topics are the following:
I. Introduction to an efficient wardrobe
III. Style and personal styling
IV. The capsule system.
After the workshops, the participants should be able to change their approach towards clothing and shopping habits. They should be familiar with different materials and learn which ones to choose and how to take care of them. They should learn what types of clothes actually fit them and make them feel good. Last but not least, they should learn how to shop better and less, and ultimately, stop throwing clothes away.
“While sorting out our wardrobes, it’s important what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.”
So, what have we learnt during the workshops?
The first workshop called “Introduction to an efficient wardrobe” was all about realizing who we are and how does it project into what we wear. It might seem too broad, but before we start changing our wardrobe, it is necessary to answer the following questions:
- what function do clothes have for me?
- what are my requirements for clothes?
- what type of clothes do I wear the most?
Once we know who we are and what do we want from our wardrobe as well as from ourselves, we can start changing our clothing habits.
The second workshop was focused on materials. The participants learnt not only the different types of materials and its characteristics, but also to perceive them from the environmental point of view.
Amidst all the eco tendencies, one might get the impression that the most eco-friendly material is cotton, but what people forget is that its production has a significant environmental footprint. Cotton’s cultivation requires huge amounts of water as well as pesticides. It’s a great material regarding its characteristics - light and breathable, but we shouldn’t base our whole wardrobe on it.
Other natural materials have great characteristics, too - they breathe, don’t smell and they can warm you when it’s cold. Just try to put on a wool or cashmere coat in winter! (An actually woollen one, not polyester with 5% of wool in it). You will feel the difference.
On the other side of the materials spectrum, there are synthetic materials, which make up about 90% of clothes found in fast fashion chains and most probably our closets, too. Polyester, acrylic, nylon… these materials often feel nice and soft to touch, but they don’t breathe, tend to keep sweat inside and don’t you ever think they could warm you in winter!
“Quality is not important for the fast fashion consumers, so the clothing chains have no reason to use good quality materials.”
Kamila’s favourites are naturally based manmade materials - basically a combination of both natural and synthetic. Such materials are based on a natural fibre (e.g. cellulose or protein), which is chemically processed into a thread. They have all the great characteristics thanks to the natural base but their production is not so hard on the environment.
“A sweater which has only 5% of cashmere is not a cashmere sweater, although it is often advertised as such. We don’t even notice the material while wearing it, unless there’s more than 20% of it." The third workshop was entitled “style and personal styling.”
We debated what “style” actually was and we learnt to play with our proportions.
It’s difficult to define what style is. According to Kamila, style could be defined as a mix of the right cuts, colours, prints and types of clothes (skirts x trousers) that fit us and make us feel good. Such pieces are independent on trends or what we see in the magazines and on instagram everyday.
Why is a cut so important for styling? Because the right cut can significantly help our figure (or the contrary). Therefore, we measured each other, in order to find out our body type and to know which body parts to highlight.
In case you wonder how “hourglass” or “apple” link to a minimalistic closet and sustainable fashion - when we find out, which clothes actually fit us, we know what exactly to buy (and what not). Thus, we avoid the “my belly is a bit bigger in it, but it only costs 199 CZK so I buy it anyway” type of purchase. “Style is kinda like love. Stye is about good feelings - clothes we feel good in.”
The last workshop was focused on “the capsule system.”
The capsule system is one of the minimalistic wardrobe techniques. It is based on a rather small collection of basic pieces (25-30), that are universal and timeless (white t-shirt, blue jeans, trenchcoat, leather jacket etc.), accompanied by a few seasonal/extravagant pieces. It is about quality, not quantity. These basic pieces are easy to combine and therefore allow you to create the “capsules.” A good quality white t-shirt can be combined with prints, skirts, jeans, shorts, jewellery, jacket, trenchcoat…the options are almost endless. Same goes for a simple trenchcoat - you can wear it with dresses, jeans, skirts, high heels, ballerinas, sneakers and much more.
By trying to do the “capsules” - a basic piece plus all the things that go together, you will quickly find out which are the types of clothes that you should focus on and that are worth investing in. And similarly - you see that those pieces that only appear once or twice in the whole capsule system are probably rather useless and not worthy buying.
Sustainable fashion is a very important topic to us in Minimum Waste. The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the worlds and it produces enormous amounts of textile waste. Therefore, we believe that workshops like these can have an impact on us as consumers. We are planning to do this series again in autumn, so will you join? :-)
Quotes by Kamila Vodochodská.
Thanks to SLOU for the organization.
Pics: Šárka Pakostová