A Case for ‘Borrow Not Buy’4 months ago
Which do I want or need more? A pair of winter boots or to go out the next four weeks?
For a student invested in sustainable fashion, buying new clothes often comes down to a toss up between social life or a new wardrobe. Yet, for a student, these two are inextricably intertwined. “Never be caught in the same thing twice” is deeply ingrained in much of the student body.
‘I can’t post a picture to Instagram if I wear the same dress!’
A trivial concern, but dominant in many students’ minds. Sustainable fashion is then, for many, out of the question. I can’t count the times I’ve been told “I care. I want to help, but I just can’t afford to.” When I tell my friends they can go thrift shopping, or upcycle their clothes I am greeted with “I don’t have the time.” A very fair response. A student’s life is notoriously fast-paced, frivolous and cheap. Do as much as you can, have as much as you can, for as little money as possible, is the mantra stuck in many of our minds that makes investing in sustainable fashion, impossible.
Yet, if we are going to change the way we shop, and mitigate the effects of fast fashion, it is the student body that we must turn. We all know too well how difficult habits are to break. If as students, we spend three to four years with “low cost” being our main priority, and without making sustainability or ethics a consideration, we will be less likely to change the way we shop in the future, even when we have the money to.
So we need to change the way students consume fashion, we need to do it at a low cost, and we need to do it now. Recent university graduates, Aisling and Ali, have devised a way to bring sustainable fashion to the student community, through borrowing. Borrowing is arguably the most sustainable way of “shopping” even more so than buying sustainable clothes. Any production, ‘sustainable’ or not, uses resources and therefore impacts the environment, to a greater or lesser degree. Borrowing, however, makes use of the resources we have right now without creating more waste. No water is used up in the process, no electricity, and very little money.
The Nu Wardrobe initially began as a monthly swap shop in Dublin, Ireland and recently, in order to give people an accessible way to consume fashion sustainably we created an online platform to get the world sharing clothes. The platform in many ways, resembles online shopping- without the environmental impact and the cost.
The Nu Wardrobe fashion-sharing community has recently launched in 9 universities across Ireland and the UK and are hoping to expand to more campuses and workplaces around the globe.
You can sign-up, upload your wardrobe and borrow clothes from members in your area. There is a small flat borrow fee for everyone so that we can keep the cost as low as possible (It’s not a rental platform with high fees!). By sharing, together we can not only save money and look great but we can also reduce a significant amount of waste and get educated about the harms of and solutions to fast-fashion. Sustainability can no longer appear a ‘sacrifice’ a student has to make but a sensible choice for both planet and purse.
You can check out our beta trail platform and sign-up here: https://goo.gl/9xR9Tc
If you’d like to start a Nu community in your area please fill out our ‘new location’ form here: https://goo.gl/hzZ9Ww
With The Nu Wardrobe we hope to fill the void of fast-fashion for the times that you may need an outfit for just a few occasions and that you may not wear 30 times yourself. By using the platform to borrow these items we hope that our community members will start to think about the life of their clothes and begin save up and invest in staple, timeless, sustainable and ethical pieces that they will wear constantly for a lifetime.
For more info visit www.thenuwardrobe.com
Photo credit: Hayley K Stuart
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