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HOW TO EFFECTIVELY DE-CLUTTER YOUR WARDROBE

Having small houses is a problem in cities like Mumbai but having less space for storage is a worldwide phenomenon.  This is mainly because we all have a tendency to fill our houses with clutter. 

What is a clutter?

Things that are there where they are not wanted and make the place look untidy.

In this article we are mainly going to deal with cluttering of clothes…Yes, let’s tackle the elephant in the bag!

Now, how does cluttering of clothes happen? In our materialistic society, we are exposed to advertisements, models, Bollywood divas all telling us what we need to have to be well dressed, presentable, and confident. Our mothers and the ‘forever-present’ aunties too ensure that we dress in a particular way and play the part of a well brought up Indian girl to its best. This makes shopping for clothes an inevitable habit that we all grow up with. For some of us this habit becomes an addiction and we start taking pride in calling ourselves Shopoholics. Further the fashion industry by introducing cheap and fast fashion, has only added fuel to the fire. All this makes it easy to accumulate all sorts of clothes we don’t really need. These clothes keep lying with us for a long period of time and the clutter keeps increasing.

Why is it that we cannot get rid of this clutter? There are 3 main reasons why it is difficult to de-clutter:

  1. Sentimental feeling – Our sentiments are attached on may be what we wore on our honeymoon or on a special occasion.
  2. Guilt – We may feel guilty for wasting money on things, so we hold onto them to justify our purchase
  3. Fear – We fear the loss of security, status, comfort, and love when we throw things out. Or we fear that we will regret throwing something in the future.

But holding onto stuff by rationalizing that we may need it one day is a recipe for just too much stuff… Eventually everything piles up and cannot be ignored.

How does clutter affect us? Research has proved that ladies who have “cluttered” homes have a stress hormone similar to chronic stress. They also tend to have a more depressed mood throughout the day, are more tired in the evenings and have poor focus and productivity.

How does decluttering help? De-cluttering is the ultimate form of self-care.  It helps you clear your space, mind and heart. Decluttering can be hard to begin when we are at the end of a long day or the end of an even longer week. So it needs to be approached with an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful that we can give to others our unused belongings; especially those in good condition, not only benefits others, but can help us rewrite the story of who we are.

How to effectively de-clutter your clothes? Segregate your clothes into 5 piles:

  1. Keep – Only what you really love, what you would buy again, what creates a spark/joy for you and what you have used in the last one year.
  2. Upcycle – All Clothes which after repairs/alterations/or changes will be something that you love, then please have them done. Your very next occasion, do not jump to buy from the mall but check this shelf of your upcycled clothes first. I’m sure you will be very happy to use treasures from your own closet.
  3. Recycle – Whatever is completely worn out or torn or faded, needs to be sent for recycling.  Check with your local kabaadiwala for recycling of clothes.
  4. Donate – Traditional clothes and kids’ wear which are in good condition but no longer for you; Please ensure you only donate such clothes which can be utilized by the done as 60% of the donated clothes land up in landfills. You can check Goonj’s (NGO) website for donations.
  5. Swap – your branded Indian and western wear(in excellent condition)that you haven’t used in a year; it doesn’t fit you or your priorities anymore. Swapping is the best solution to avoid the clutter and falling into that viscous circle again.

How does Swapping help?

  1. Your shopping will reduce drastically and you will save money
  2. You can find some great finds as one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure
  3. It keeps you trendy and fashionable without feeling guilty.
  4. It helps you preserve resources of the environment
  5. It helps you from falling a victim to fast fashion

Is there an online website for swapping? Swap Fashions (www.swapfashions.com) in India is like an online thrift store at your doorstep. All the pre-loved/ second hand clothing that are received from swappers at Swap Fashions are thoroughly checked before being accepted. You can get some excellent brands and designer wear here for less than 20% of their price.  You have the options to swap as well as shop at Swap Fashions and as soon as you are done wearing the clothes, you can swap them again!

So ladies, get on with the task of de-cluttering your wardrobes today to ensure a calmer and more productive life!

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Is Thrifting better than Fast Fashion?

Nearly everyone knows the present phenomena of thrift culture, which appears to have taken over social media, Instagram in particular. You may have personally participated or not, but this new trend, which has overtaken the fashion industry, seems impossible to ignore.

It’s the year 2021, and you can’t shop without holding yourself and the brands you buy from being responsible. We can no longer excuse the purchases we make on a whim until we comprehend the difference between “need” and “desire.” The more we consume and contribute to the rapid consumption of goods, the faster we fill the landfills, which are quickly turning into toxic mountains in a third-world country.

So, what exactly is thrift culture, and why has thrifting become so popular recently?

Purchasing items (typically clothing, accessories, or fashion items) that have been previously worn or owned, dumped as surplus by fast fashion brands, or even old items that have been upcycled/repurposed and sold by thrift stores is what thrifting entails.

Many people appear to engage in thrift culture just for the sake of getting their favourite branded goods at off-brand costs, but is there more to thrifting than inexpensive purchases. Yes, indeed! Those thrift store jeans, rather than being purchased directly from a fast fashion brand, are not only kind on your wallet but also on the earth.

Yes, thrifting is more fashionable and “trendy” than ever, but being environmentally conscious and aware of what you’re buying has always been cool. Thrifting has become more accessible, which is something to rejoice about!

The second-hand industry is predicted to reach $64 billion in the next five years, according to ThredUp’s 2020 fashion resale forecast. This is huge, and it demonstrates how thrifting has progressed to become a major player in the fashion market. The younger generations show a significant willingness to buy second-hand as a solution to fashion waste, which presents a positive perspective for the future of fashion.

Fast Fashion is raising environmental degradation at an alarming rate!

Fast fashion is defined as the mass manufacturing of low-cost, low-quality, disposable apparel. It is a very profitable business model that focuses on speedily producing large quantities of garments at a low cost. Initially, the fashion business produced clothes seasonally; however, brands today generate a new collection virtually every week. It is now a $3 trillion worldwide market led by labels such as H&M, Zara, and Forever 21.

Fast fashion is harmful to the environment and consumes a lot of resources. Fashion production accounts for 10% of total world carbon emissions and is the second most polluting industrial sector, trailing only oil. The fashion industry is also the world’s second largest polluter of freshwater resources. A percent of all chemicals manufactured in the world are used in textile production, and the waste water is discharged into rivers. In fact, companies that create low-cost clothing are destroying some of the world’s most significant waterways.

The garment business depletes non-renewable resources, emits vast amounts of greenhouse gases, and consumes massive amounts of energy, chemicals, and water. Synthetic fibres, which are frequently used by fast fashion firms, can take up to a thousand years to biodegrade. Garment-producing countries, such as Bangladesh and Vietnam, suffer the weight of the pollution and environmental implications of products consumed in the global west.

Furthermore, garment workers toil for over 100 hours or more per week and yet do not earn enough money to sustain themselves, all while battling life-threatening health hazards. The recent #PayUp Campaign highlighted the plight of these workers- insufficient wages, sudden unemployment, missing salaries, etc. In fact, it was estimated that garment workers in Bangladesh were owed $500m for the first three months of the pandemic alone. Moreover, they are often forced to work over 16 hours per day throughout the week in unsafe buildings with no ventilation, leading them to breathe in toxic substances and fibre dust to manufacture the clothes. Most workers face verbal and physical abuse daily and aren’t even allowed to drink water or take bathroom breaks, all while being cheated out of their wages.

Did You know?

  • The fashion industry accounts for 10% of our greenhouse gas emissions, which equates to 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases generated each year.
  • One pair of jeans can consume up to 10,000 gallons of water.
  • Every year, 85 percent of all textiles are wasted and end up in landfills; they are also a major source of microplastic contamination in our water bodies, since simply washing clothes can release 500,000 tonnes of microfibers.

The solution?

Sustainable fashion, slow fashion, or long-lasting fashion, upcycling, and, of course, recycling close the loop. Patagonia, for example, was one of the first companies in the fashion industry to prioritise slow fashion and repurposing all used clothing. They even resell their used clothing to customers after upcycling it.

Another option for dealing with this issue is to buy pre-owned clothing rather than new clothing, which is known as thrifting!

Thrifting in India

A completely new area and identity in India, Thrifting has taken on a different level from the rest of the world. There are brick and mortar shops in several nations, like the United States, where you need to physically go and buy goods. In India, however, 90% of the thrifting sector flourishes online via Instagram accounts and websites.

Gen Z appears to be the backbone of the thrifty sector and the thrifting culture is steadily spreading in India, since it is the most environmentally concerned and ecologically-awakened generation. Therefore, it’s the Gen Z and millennials who are running majority of these Online Thrift Stores.

In the end…

Like most things in life, thrift culture has drawbacks, the first of which is over-purchasing. With so many cheap options and outlets to pick from, it’s easy to get carried away and wind up buying low-quality products that are worn once and then dumped as garbage. The easiest approach to deal with this is to prevent over-purchasing and to be mindful of the products you do buy.

Second, the demand for branded items encourages the production of first-copy goods. Which are essentially counterfeits that look identical to branded things. Many thrift stores, consciously or unknowingly, sell counterfeit goods in order to meet client demand for low-cost, branded merchandise. That is why it is important to buy from reliable thrifting platforms like Swap Fashions (www.swapfashions.in).

Furthermore, thrifting does not change the reality that the garments in circulation continue to come from fast-fashion labels that employ unsustainable, resource-intensive, and immoral production practises. As a result, while thrifting extends the life of these garments, it does not fully solve the environmental and social challenges associated with their manufacture.

It’s remarkable how many individuals are embracing thrifting and decreasing their environmental effect. While thrifting is ethical and sustainable, it is also crucial to buy only what you need and to be aware of your privilege while shopping second-hand and in which places you thrift.

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MYTHS ABOUT WEARING SECOND HAND CLOTHES

In October, 2020 when I started Swap Fashions, an online platform which allows like-minded women to swap their preloved clothes & accessories, I had to opportunity to speak to many women and understand their thoughts on swapping, buying second hand clothes, fast fashion, etc. I realised that some open heartedly preferred shopping second hand clothing, some had certain reservations, whereas some were completely averse to the idea of wearing second hand stuff.

There are many myths about second hand clothing especially, in our Indian minds (I say so as thrift stores abroad have been around since long) and let’s see what these myths are and whether they are really myths or are they true.

Myth No. 1:

When you wear someone else’s clothes, you take in all their negative energy.

I’m not an expert on this but isn’t energy all about intention?? If you believe that you will have a bad day, then guess what? You will.

How about when you stay in a hotel and sleep in sheets other people have slept in and use towels other people have used? Do you take in all their negativity too or do you feel great after a vacation? Further, think about any items that you’ve given away in the past – didn’t you feel happy seeing that the person you gave it to loved it and is utilizing it much better than you? Where is the negativity in any of this?

So if you feel (like I do!) that wearing secondhand clothing is fun, ethical, sustainable, a brilliant way to help solve the clothing wastage and save the planet, then guess what? It will be.

My Verdict: Definitely a myth

Myth No.2:

New clothes from the stores are cleaner and secondhand clothes are unhygienic.

Here’s something you might not have known before. That “new” smell you’re used to is actually a mixture of finishing treatments like urea resins and formaldehyde (one word: toxic). These are used primarily in construction and even to preserve bodies. The intention behind using them on clothing is that they prevent mildew, wrinkling and parasites – all of which are likely to occur during shipping.

Further, “New” clothes have also been tried on time and time again in the changing rooms/ at homes before they are returned and are back on the racks.  Whereas second hand clothes have already been worn and loved by one person, which means lesser hands have been laid on them and they’ve also had the time to get rid of the toxic substances with every wearing/wash.

Further, if the place where you buy your preloved fashion is credible then it’s an icing on the cake. For eg. @Swap Fashions, preloved clothes once received for swapping are quarantined for a few days in the sun. They are disinfected by steaming them before they are photographed. Upon receiving an order the clothing is once again steamed before being dispatched to the Swapper.

My Verdict: Only a Myth

Myth No.3:

People will think I buy second hand clothes coz I can’t afford new ones.

Remind yourself that it’s not what you wear that defines you, but rather it’s you who defines what you wear! And what’s humiliating about buying a Chanel bag for a tenth of the price at a market? Or getting 4 branded pre-loved tops for the price of one top from Zara? Surely just because you can afford to doesn’t mean you should waste money!

Further, do you think our Bollywood divas and models all buy the designer-wear that they wear and flaunt?  No way. The stylists of these celebrities rent out the outfits from the designers (mind you which may have already been worn by the models on the runway) which are then returned. The same designer outfit is then sold for lakhs of rupees in retail. If celebrities, who can afford expensive clothes, choose to rent over buying, as they know they are not going to repeat it, then why do we feel compelled to buy the so-called “new” clothes???

My Verdict: A myth that needs to be busted hi-time

Myth No.4:

The clothes are of poor quality

Contrary to popular opinion, second hand clothes have already stood through the test of time after having washed and dried.  Further, many second-hand clothing sites/pages like Swap Fashions only accept clothes if they are in good condition. @Swap Fashions all items are thoroughly inspected in different lights and only then are they uploaded on the site.

My Verdict: A Myth if the source is credible

Myth No.5:

Second hand clothes are outdated and not up with the trends

If there’s one thing true about fashion it’s that trends follow a cycle and they’ll always come back in style. So something that may be a few seasons old, be rest assured it will make a COMEBACK. Moreover, making a statement with Vintage pieces is so IN right now.

Anyways due to fast fashion, women/girls nowadays do not wear or keep clothes for even half as long as they used to before ;( From personal experience, apart from some timeless pieces, most clothes received by Swap Fashions are THIS season or last season at the most.

My Verdict: A Myth in todays’ times

Fashion industry produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions. It is the second largest consumer of water supply and is a major polluter of the oceans with micro plastics released from Polyester and other blended fabrics. If we continue abusing nature’s resources then we will need another planet to live on. We owe big time to our environment and to the next generation.

Clothes swapping, shopping second hand, and thrifting are all ways to fulfil the want for something new, without incurring more clothing waste – and the process of looking in your own closet to decide what you want to swap also helps bring insight into the things you want to keep and wear. 

So ladies, let’s be responsibly fashionable at all times!!

Stuti.

You can swap/shop secondhand clothing and accessories on www.swapfashions.com or connect with me on 8591088819.

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Upcycling: The need of the hour in the fashion industry

The thought of upcycled or refashioned garments can be unusual in a society still churning out trendy, casting-out fashion items at dizzying pace. It is, nevertheless, a constantly expanding trend and one of the most sustainable things that people can do. Since upcycling employs existing parts, it frequently makes little use of resources when creating them and actually retains the waste stream from “unwanted” things.

The apparel business faced a slew of issues as the covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc throughout industries. This has necessitated the revamping of all our processes, from manufacturing to consumption. The discourse has shifted from a free-wheeling one about fashion weeks and trends to a more serious one about sustainability and the dangers of mass production. As of now, the fashion winds appear to be shifting toward mindful consumerism and a burgeoning phenomenon – upcycling from the trash stream.

Upcycling pre-existing clothing is one technique to assure sustainability because it promotes the concept of cyclical fashion. To ‘upcycle,’ you take something that has already been manufactured and improve on it or make it into a new item, which means you are not looking for new, raw materials to start from begin. It means that outdated clothes are kept in use rather than being discarded.

Why Upcycling is the need of the hour?

Today, the world produces more textiles than it consumes; many huge clothing chains can generate up to a half-billion garments per year. And what happens to those clothes once their ‘useful’ life is over? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, around 14.3 million tonnes of textiles were discarded in 2012, accounting for approximately 5.7 percent of total municipal solid trash generation in the United States.

Unwanted clothing is frequently donated to thrift stores if it is not discarded as trash. Though this is a helpful step toward avoiding landfills, it is not as beneficial as many people believe – only approximately 20 to 30 percent of donated clothes are resold. And, in the last 15 years, the enormous growth in the number of second-hand clothing has driven down its value, meaning that charity shop storefronts are now stocked with cheap fashion and junky necessities rather than vintage gems.

Further, large quantities of donated clothing that are not deemed “re-tradable” in the United States are exported to developing nations and flooded with needless items that hamper any growing economical textile developments. Although many individuals may have the concept of assisting the impoverished in these nations to clothe, access to the Internet and to cell phones has lately enhanced substantially in many of these countries and they may not be interested in the developed countries’ cast-offs. Because this business is based on a trash economy, where products are bought and discarded instead of mending clothing or leasing clothes – what if exports are no longer an option?

What does upcycling mean in the fashion industry?

Upcycling and recycling cannot be utilised interchangeably, contrary to popular assumptions. While recycling refers to the process of an old product being utilised for the production of new product, upcycling is a far deeper process – the creative use of a previously deemed waste item to generate a new totally utilised product. Upcycling is the ideal choice for designers and other leading brands looking for sustainable solutions to lessen their impact on the earth. As we go towards a more consumer-friendly scenario, this solution is simply adopted by many well-known labels and fashion firms. It is not only sustainable, but also adds value to clothing waste and produces fashion items that are of great quality.

How Upcycling is beneficial for the Fashion Industry?

Our environment needs it – Certain materials used in garments may in fact entail hazardous substances throughout the manufacturing process that might contribute to environmental problems, such as soil damage and air pollution. These chemicals are also at risk of entering our waterways, air supplies and many others. Upcycling reduces the demand for additional raw materials, which reduces the requirement for certain chemicals to be utilised during production. This technique contributes to addressing issues such as poor air quality, the quantity of waste that ends up in landfills, water contamination, greenhouse emissions, and the preservation of our rainforests.

Reduction of Manufacturing costs – Upcycling can help enterprises in the garment sector reduce their overall production costs. Using this strategy, shops can reuse materials for their items rather than having new materials manufactured. Upcycling not only benefits the environment, but it may also help businesses save money on materials and labour. Another significant advantage is that it might lead to higher profit margins.

Helps in preserving the natural resources – The reduced demand for new materials can save both money and natural resources, as I have already said. When a retail fashion business employs certain materials, such as bamboo, for a pair of earrings but may instead use recycled bamboo, the need to cut down further trees is reduced. The number of natural resources utilised in the whole mode can be reduced by upcycling. This can be useful for problems such as deforestation or natural fibre loss.

Promotes local companies and businesses- One of the main advantages of upcycling is that it helps local companies and industries. Updating helps to strengthen community economy, from manufacturers to suppliers of sustainable waste management to local resellers. This is also beneficial in creating new collaborations for brands. The need to outsource to manufacturers that contain dangerous products has dramatically reduced by taking advantage of upcycling and local firms.

The appeal of Upcycling attracts customers- Consumers in today’s society continually learn where the items they buy come from and how they are produced. Due to the crisis in our environment, it is more and more vital for consumers that their purchases are environmentally friendly. 93% of consumers around the world expect enterprises to participate in environmental issues, according to Forbes. What most businesses don’t realise is that upcycling not only saves them money, but also makes them money. Customers are more ready to buy things they know are of high quality, have been recycled, and are contributing to the fight to save the world.

Provisions for increased creative liberty – Most fashion goods today are mass-produced and have a very uniform style. Using reused textiles enables for the creation of distinctive, fashionable lines as well as the expansion of what merchants can showcase. To know how to effectively use recycled items, you must have a very creative mind and an eye for fashionable patterns. Upcycling presents designers with fresh difficulties worthy of an episode of Project Runway.

To conclude with….

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the act of converting by-products, waste materials, worthless, or undesirable things into new materials or products of higher quality, such as artistic or environmental value. So take a look around, repurpose, renovate, and redesign.

Given that the fashion industry’s future is built on reimagining the past, one thing is certain: upcycling is here to stay.

Tell us what you think about upcycling in the comments area below.

If you are concerned about the environment and worry about the excess clothes which are dumped in the landfills, then look no far as SWAP FASHIONS (www.swapfashions.com) is a very viable option to look upto for preloved and upcycled fashion.