"I probably won't wear this dress again because it's already on my Instagram."
My eyes widened as I heard the young girl state this on the television screen whilst I was watching War on Waste. However, it isn't uncommon for young girls to only wear clothes a few times in our digital world where we are our own paparazzi. In Australia, we only wear an item of clothing 7 times on average. As a result, 6 tonnes of clothing are thrown away every 10 minutes. It's not hard for us to see why such young girls aspire to own a limitless wardrobe when viewing the constant stream of sponsored outfit posts created by digital influencers. It isn't just young girls who may stuck in this materialistic mindset- it could be anyone.
As a fashion blogger, I have been able to experience the joys of self-expressing through my clothes, but also the immense pressure to buy more clothes. Without a doubt, fashion bloggers who are environmentally conscious are often overshadowed by the storm of perfectly curated photographs depicting la-vie-en-rose lifestyles.
At times, it can feel difficult to build our recognition and exposure without spending more money on clothes as fashion bloggers. It appears that a large proportion of successful bloggers have constructed the ideal of an effortlessly luxurious lifestyle with a constant influx of free clothing, travel tickets and perfectly arranged food. With a dash of glitter and glamour, Instagram has rewritten their 21st century version on "How to Win Friends and Influence People." To adolescent girls who may already be struggling with self-confidence, it's little wonder that many of them idolise these fashion bloggers who have set the standard of only wearing an outfit once for a photograph.
Nowadays, it is even possible to make money by spending money- as long as you create a monthly haul video on Youtube to prove your purchases. The idea of generating money by spending money is also evident in the concept of affiliate marketing, in which a business can reward a social media "influencer" for each visitor or customer that they attract through weblinks. There almost seems like there is an unwritten law in the fashion blogging world that we should tag every brand of clothing we are wearing in order to gain recognition for our work.
Despite the massive pressures generated by some fashion bloggers, there are ways to be stylish and environmentally conscious at the same time. Instead of seeking for joy in shopping for new clothes, we can seek joy in finding inventive ways to style our clothes. We can learn how to upcycle our clothes by adding embroidery.
We can discover how to downplay a formal dress to wear it for a casual look, or alternatively, we can accessorise our casual outfits to shift from a day to night look. The image below shows how you can transform sleepwear into a formal gown. For more creative ideas, you can check out this article about maintaining and sustainable wardrobe and the blog Atlas of Mind.
Limiting the amount of clothes in our wardrobe pushes us to be more inventive with the way we wear it. When limits exist, creativity skyrockets.
Maria Nguyen is a university student who is studying to become a primary teacher. Maria likes to think of ways to teach kids about how they can help prevent climate change. In her spare time, she loves to up-cycle and sew clothes, practise martial arts and read books. She also blogs about sustainable fashion, and you can check that out here.
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