This Family Went A Whole Year Without Buying New Clothes

In June 2015, Emily Hedlund gave herself a challenge: She would go an entire year without buying any clothes.

At first she thought she’d try it out on her own. But because she was also in charge of clothes shopping for her husband and young son, she expanded the experiment to also include them. Hedlund calculated that she spent hundreds of dollars each year on thrift store finds and cheap fast-fashion impulse buys, stuff she and her family didn’t feel any connection to and never actually wore.

Together, they had enough of a stockpile to keep themselves dressed for a year, Hedlund thought. There was just one potential hitch: She was pregnant ― her second child was born two months after she started the challenge ― and would need clothes in various sizes. Fortunately, she had a strong rotation of summer dresses, activewear, leggings and jeans, including items from the first time she was pregnant.

Hedlund shared her pledge on Facebook and her personal blog to keep herself accountable. And to eliminate temptations, she unsubscribed from emails from companies like Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret and American Eagle, which peppered her inbox with emails about sales.

It worked. With the exception of a single pair of running shoes, Hedlund succeeded in not buying any clothing for anyone in her family for one year. Along the way, the exercise in frugality brought her attention to something else entirely: the clothing industry’s staggering wastefulness. This problem, Hedlund realized, was fueled in part by people like herself, who bought too many clothes they didn’t need or even really want. 

Worldwide, people buy more than 80 billion pieces of clothing each year. Compared to other household expenses, Americans are buying more clothing than ever before but spending less. These purchases power a fashion industry where pollution, waste and unsafe working conditions are too often seen as simply the cost of doing business ― unsettling truths that Hedlund realized as her experiment progressed.

“There’s this whole dark side of the fashion industry that I’d heard of but wasn’t really aware of,” Hedlund told The Huffington Post. “It definitely wasn’t at the forefront of my mind when I started the ban, but now it just makes me want to keep not buying clothing.” 

Read the entire article at The Huffington Post