Posted on March 8, 2023 by Cate Vegas
Fall 2022 I was in the midst of my epic clothing purge, after realizing how much time and money it was really costing me to move, store, sort, and organize things I never wore.
Clothes were listed on my Poshmark closet, but I wasn’t seeing fast enough sales. And some pieces were just plain unsuitable for wearing, repairing, or selling: Stained towels, torn underwear, moth-eaten dresses.
By surprise, I came across For Days on Instagram. This was before I started Wearing Conscious, so my IG was full of general “socially conscious” content. I saw there was a For Days donation event in my area and made it my mission to donate as much as I could!
For Days uses a standard process of garment recycling that turns old threads in any condition into new, usable pieces. Some fast-fashion brands use this as well, but the unsustainable pace and poor labor ethics negate any benefit of garment recycling by those brands, so I choose to avoid them.
The For Days website showed high levels of transparency and sold recycled ethically-made clothing. That’s when I realized, donating would help close the loop between recycling and buying recycled. Plus, the quality of the items was the opposite of fast fashion, with pieces that looked timeless and like they could be worn for many years without losing their luster.
I really felt guilty donating any clothes that weren’t A+ retail quality, as I’d learned that most items end up incinerated, sent to the third world as trash, or in a landfill anyway.
Now I knew I didn’t have to send clothes (or fabric goods like towels) to the landfill, I started to look more closely at what I couldn’t really sell, swap, or give away.
What helped me part with clothes that I was keeping for emotional reasons was creating a reel to say Goodbye, metaphorically. I included some photos of myself wearing many of the pieces over the years. Some photos were very old indeed, back to 2013.
Said clothes were themselves often fast-fashion that didn’t hold up well over the years, with little resale value since they were already so inexpensive to buy new. They’d been rejected in clothing swaps and certainly not nice enough to gift.
Once I donated my box to the For Days mobile pop-up, they took down my email for a clothing credit and gave me another bag to fill. I filled it up and sent it in for another $20 credit!
For a while, I forgot I had the credits. Then recently, I wanted another Take Back Bag, and went to order one on the site. The way it works is you pay $20 for the bag, then get credit for $20 on the site. I hadn’t had to pay the first times, but this way makes sense to me: They want to close the loop, so encouraging people not just to donate to recycling but to then buy the recycled pieces makes perfect sense.
After I’d stacked all these credits, I purchased a comfortable, post-consumer recycled sweater dress on the site that I’ve had in weekly rotation ever since!
Here’s a summary of what I learned from my Wearing Conscious experiment with clothing recycling:
Category: Anti-Consumerism, Buyerarchy of Needs, Conscious Brands, Recycled clothing, Wearing Conscious, Zero WasteTags: Buy Nothing, conscious clothing, Conscious Style, donations, For Days, greenwashing, socially conscious
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