Is minimalism the way of the future? I found myself asking this question whilst talking to my mom about a new Netflix documentary about minimalism. When I refer to minimalism, I do not mean the style of art that became popular in the 1950s characterized by simple strokes on massive canvases. I’m referring to the increasingly popular lifestyle of living with less things. Minimalists live out this lifestyle to varying degrees. Some minimalists could have as few as 20 items, and others could practice minimalism buy having strict rules about buying new items.
Minimalism can be applied to every area of one’s life, including fashion. It combats the hugely environmentally unsustainable patterns in the fashion industry. The buying and disposing of clothes is a practice that is becoming unsustainable. Being the second greatest polluter, the fashion industry needs to make an effort to be more environmentally friendly. I believe minimalism is a possible solution to getting one step closer towards achieving a greener earth.
To begin I need to underline a difference between a minimalistic look and minimalistic fashion. I’m guilty of calling myself a minimalist, because I tend to go for no-jewelry, simple, and monochromatic looks. However, I have a chest of drawers and a closet full of clothes. Therefore, I’m not a minimalist, but I tend to have a minimalist look.
To be a minimalist in fashion-terms means having few, quality items that are versatile. Capsule wardrobes are a great example. Now, I’ll put it out there that to dive full-fledged into the minimalist lifestyle is potentially unrealistic for most. True minimalists can own as few as 5 items of clothing and little to no personal possessions apart from the essential. However, I believe if fashion-consumers adopted minimalism to a certain degree, the world would benefit as a whole.
The question is, how can we as young women integrate a healthy amount of minimalism into our lives? One idea could be to clean out your closet (what I like to call a “closet detox”). Choose an afternoon to tackle your wardrobe, and go in with an open mind. Make sure that you only throw away clothes that are damaged or stained. Hopefully, you can donate the majority of the clothes you’ll be saying goodbye to (or even sell some of them online or at a consignment store). Have a repair pile as well, but commit to making the repairs soon! Otherwise they become just another pile of unused clothes. There are some pieces of mine that I love, but they might be ripped or missing a button, in those cases, I would certainly repair them. Ask yourself questions like; “Have I worn this in the last twelve months?”, “Is this currently my style?”, “Does this fit?”. Maybe even invite a friend to help you, as a second opinion is always helpful!
There are many other ways to have a more minimalistic wardrobe, such as having rules when shopping. The buy-one, donate-one rule, or only buy only timeless pieces, are a starting place. Maybe minimalism is the way of the future and maybe it isn’t, but I believe it is a step in the right direction in terms of the environmental sustainability of the fashion industry.