Minimalism vs. Versatility

October 16, 2015

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“When the earth is shaken with its [final] earthquake. And the earth discharges its burdens. And man says, “What is with it?” -That Day, it will report its news. Because your Lord has commanded it. That Day, the people will depart separated [into categories] to be shown [the result of] their deeds. So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” 99, 1-8

After reading what I thought to be two excellent articles on the “slow fashion, pay per wear, capsule wardrobe, wear the same thing everyday… movement” I was both surprised and unsurprised by the commentary below both articles. Both had the same basic idea, buy less and get more out of what you wear. One of the articles focused mostly on cost, buy good quality clothes that you love less often and pay a significant price for them forcing yourself to put more thought behind each purchase. The writer specifically suggested not purchasing anything less than $150, just enough to make the spender a bit more self aware. The comments on this article ranged from people who thought the idea was ridiculous and people who thought the writer was out of touch to those who didn’t think it made a difference in terms of what the clothing factory worker would be paid. Is a $150 shirt really guaranteeing the worker get paid more than the $15 shirt or is it merely putting more money in to the designers’ hand? On the second article it emphasized being iconic, less stressed, and less time wasted on choosing from a plethora of outfit choices. I understood the negative feedback on the first article since telling people to spend more money on something they can get for significantly less is never going to be popular, the negative feedback on the second article came in a more interesting form -what about versatility? What about those who enjoy choosing a new outfit every morning?

I was really surprised by the second round of feedback. It’s a good point, if you love fashion then why wouldn’t you want to enjoy a versatile closet and a range of choices? And if, to tie it in to the first batch of commentary, there is nothing to show workers get paid more if you buy less but more expensive items, what’s the real incentive?

Firstly I’d have to say the mistake the first article made was to not also emphasize and encourage buying American made clothes and clothes made from any country in which there are regulatory laws on work environment, places were unions and minimum wage exists. My guess is that anyplace -besides America, in Western Europe would abide by those standards, I’m sure there are other places but that would take some research. The last time I went shopping at a local store in my neighborhood I was pleasantly surprised to find two garments that were ‘made in America’ and both were less than $50. Another issue that should be further emphasized is the environment. The more we continue to produce tons of stuff we don’t need we hurt the environment, buying less allows us not to continue to contribute to the earth’s burden. Something we usually forget and will forever stick with me (God willing) from the documentary ‘No Impact Man‘, “‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ is in order of importance”. If we refuse to reduce or reuse at the very least we must recycle and give our old clothes to those in need.

I sometimes think about how much money I spend on myself compared to others and I must say it’s shameful. The amount of money we spend on frivolous things to make our selves feel better, to raise our self esteem, to express our selves, the less money we have to spend on the things that actually matter. Imagine what would happen if we bought just %15 less clothing items and allocated that money to the poor or to a worthy cause. For me that is the greatest motivation behind the movement that can be simply put as “being more intentional with one’s time and money”.

Here are the articles I referred to and one bonus which I also love:

  1. The Case For Expensive Clothes
  2. Wearing The Same Clothes EveryDay

Bonus: hello.jcrew.com/2014-10-oct/alice-gregory

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