Throwaway Culture Why Not Repair What You Wear?
In this throwaway culture is it advantageous to repair what you wear? Most things these days are made to be disposable and lack quality.
This was confirmed when I decided to adopt a minimalist uniform wardrobe to simplify my life. I decided to buy and only wear black pants and a white top (now a blue top), sort of like Steve Jobs black pants and white top uniform you always saw him wearing.
The clothing I purchased wore out quickly. I first thought it was because I was wearing them more often than usual but I then realized the clothing I purchased second hand from The Salvation Army held up better.
Being a new minimalist I decided to repair the clothing and got the same results. The new clothing repairs did not hold and had poor original stitching.
Can Your Find Quality In This Throw-Away Culture?
We live in a throwaway culture but that is nothing new. In August 1955, LIFE magazine published an article in the now-vaguely-sinister, then-celebratory title, “Throwaway Living”.
In the article, the idea, it seems, was that humans had entered a kind of wanton Golden Age when cleaning up after ourselves was just one more quaint waste of time, and tossing more and more of our used-once items into the trash was another sign of modernity.
I see we throw away almost everything and replace it with new stuff. We don’t even limit it to items that are defective. Throw away just because it is older or out of style.
We purchase new items just because we are bored, want to be trendy or the newer model has a new feature that we will not even use or appreciate (ie. iPhones, Cell Phones).
The throwaway culture seems to be influenced by our ever-growing consumerism and over-consumption. This is exacerbated by our ability to mass produce these low-quality short-lived products. I wonder if we as a society saw the value in quality products and demanded them if this trend would change?
There is quality out there and we tend to discard it but sometimes in a different way. We value labels and constant marketing. We tend to treat those valued items better and either sell or trade them in or relegate them to the back of the closet, cabinet or garage. This is better but for our culture but not Ideal.
Buy Quality Clothing and Repair
To combat our throwaway culture I suggest you buy quality clothing. My journey to more simplify my life with a minimalist wardrobe I found out quality matters.
I now only buy what I need and I make sure It is of quality. Almost never buy on sale items because it may influence my judgment and because I rarely shop anyway I would not save much. I want my shopping experience to be in and out. Hence the minimalist wardrobe.
I am only looking for one color items that had quality when shopping. No decision overload. Simple!
Instead of giving into the throwaway culture I now repair my clothing before I buy new. Always out and about and walking or taking public transportation things get ripped or torn and I have learned to repair them.
I am getting better at it every day. Have even learned to repair worn items. I also resist the urge to buy new and using the damaged item as an excuse.
I have found that with repairing the quality clothing I have now become attached to them. When they get damaged I feel like an old friend has been injured and in need of my care. When I start to have funerals and memorials for clothing that is beyond repair someone please call the boys in the white coats to repair my ills. LOL.
The Joy Of Repairing What You Wear
I know it sounds corny but there is a joy in repairing what you wear. When you repair what you wear you are less likely to replace them and other items just because you can.
You seek out other things to repair. Your find new value in the things that you own. You also combat the stigma of the throwaway culture and that is a good thing.
Now that I try to repair before replacing I feel guilty buying new when I can repair what I already have. I had a nice quality computer bag with I broke zipper that sat in the closet for over a year.
The bag I use now is oversized which was ideal when I was working a 9 to 5 but not now. I passed Wilson’s Leather shop at the mall where I set up an office a few times a week. They had quality leather computer bags, just the right size for 70% off. WOW! I fought the urge to buy and went home and repaired the zipper on my old bag and I am happy with it.
I have been having a lot of fun repairing my pants and shirts as I try to only own 5 of each. There is a pride in my ever-growing ability to repair what I wear. There are monetary and ecological saving also. Nothing wrong with helping the planet help use while saving money in the process.
Possessing thing increases your responsibility to maintain them. Hence it is important to carefully choose your belongings. The time you save from having to arrange lesser things can be used for doing the things you really love.