This Summer, Take the #NoNewClothes Pledge and Wear What's In Your Closet

A challenge issued by Re/make could reset your relationship with fashion.

friends in a closet

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Could you go without buying new clothes for three months? This is an annual challenge issued by Re/make, a non-profit that is striving to improve the fashion industry by reducing its harmful effects on workers and the planet. The challenge, called No New Clothes, asks participants to wear what's already in their closets between June 1 and September 1.

From the Re/make website: "For the next 90 days, we will hit pause on our purchases, pledging to buy no new clothes while we reflect on the values we want to wear; the changes needed to create an inclusive, resilient fashion industry; and the role we can play moving forward." 

By slowing our consumption and avoiding all clothing stores for several months, we shrink our carbon footprint, limit the amount of greenhouse gas-emitting waste sent to landfills, and spend less money. We also send a signal to fashion companies that how our clothes are made matters more to us than keeping up with fleeting trends.

The fashion industry is a notoriously wasteful one. Re/make says that in New York state alone, nearly 200 million pounds of clothes go to landfills each year. This is enough to fill the Statue of Liberty 440 times over. Worldwide, the apparel and footwear industries are responsible for 3,990 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. 

No New Clothes campaign


The most effective way to curb this is to stop shopping—and if a large number of people sign up for the #NoNewClothes pledge, it can have an impact. Last year, which was the first year Re/make issued the challenge, over 1,100 people participated, which prevented an estimated 23,000 pounds of textiles from getting discarded and eliminated more than 6 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

A short challenge like this forces participants to reckon with their shopping habits. To quote Shrutaswini Borakoty, an ambassador for the campaign, "Most of the time, we do things for others, to show others [we’re] following trends. [Fashion brands] play with insecurities... When you do this challenge, you realize how many items you have in your wardrobe, and you feel really grateful and abundant."

The challenge also has a lasting effect on one's relationship with clothes. Actor Nathalie Kelley (of ABC's "The Baker and the Beauty") participated last year and ended up continuing throughout the rest of the year, posting this informative video about her own sustainable fashion journey on Instagram. 

A commenter on Re/make's Instagram page said participating last year completely changed the way she views clothes: "It really makes you question, 'Why did I even need this in the first place?' I found it hard to find a good answer to that because there really isn’t one when you stop and reflect."

The #NoNewClothes challenge is an opportunity to "reflect on the values we want to wear, the changes needed to create an inclusive, resilient fashion industry, and the role we can play moving forward." It's not too late to sign up and reset your relationship with fashion.