Why You Should Be a Proud 'Outfit Repeater'

Stand up to the excessive waste and damage caused by fast fashion.

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poc woman holds up different outfits on hangers in closet

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It’s a sad state of affairs when people feel they have to apologize for appearing in the same outfit more than once on Instagram – a mindboggling phenomenon that ethical fashion blogger Verena Erin has noticed on several occasions. But this is what fast fashion has done to us. It has given us "disposable fashion," clothes so cheap that people can afford to buy new ones constantly. In the process, our society has developed a perverse sense of shame regarding repeat fashion appearances, which has devastating environmental consequences.

Sadly, even if a person does fall in love with their new fast-fashion clothing item, it’s unlikely they’d be able to keep it. These pieces are so shoddily made that they tend to fall apart after a few washes.

When you stop to consider the resources that go into creating each of these pieces of clothing, it’s highly distressing. Just because they cost the consumer relatively little, they still come with a big footprint – the true cost of which is absorbed somewhere else along the line, usually by the poverty-stricken workers and developing nations with minimal waste-management infrastructure where the clothes originate.

Thousands of liters of water (roughly 3 years of drinking water to make 1 cotton T-shirt, or 32 million Olympic swimming pools each year for the entire global apparel industry), energy and petrochemicals, dyes, packaging and shipping, and poorly compensated labor make this waste especially devastating, according to Erin:

“A garment might be worn once, maybe twice, and then thrown away (the average American throws 70lbs of textile waste into the landfill each year). When people pay very little for an item they’re not as likely to take care of it/repair it or feel bad throwing it away.”

Erin, who has a large social media following herself, made a short video in which she sings the praises of favorite clothing items – those soft, comfy, worn-in pieces that we return to over and over again. She proudly calls herself an “outfit repeater” and calls on others to take the same stance. She says, “Simply loving the clothes you have is a rebellion against our fast-fashion world.”