Capsule wardrobes and sustainable styling in the eyes of a fashion college student:
Consumer patterns have changed immensely over the last decade. Overconsumption is a common sight as people tend to follow micro trends. Almost everyone is guilty of hoarding copious amounts of clothes just for the sake of it. Quantity of clothes has now become a status symbol, instead of quality of clothes. Even though the idea of having variety in your personal wardrobe is pleasing, the damage it does to the planet makes it an irrational ‘choice’. A choice, millions of people, mostly from the younger generations take every day.
I am a victim of the same mentality. The primary reason for this change in consumption is not the need for new clothes but the desire to have cheaper, watered-down versions of expensive runway looks, and with fashion evolving at a very quick rate, the demand for new trendy clothes is increasing rapidly. This entire process shortens the span of a piece of clothing, leading to wastage of resources that are already very limited. Despite the irreversible harm fast fashion is causing to the planet, it is still successful because people tend to buy the next closest thing available to what their favourite runway models or fashion content creators are wearing. An unnecessary and false need has been generated in their mind. The need to wear a new outfit every day or for every other picture, an issue only exacerbated by social media.
If we start playing the blame game, we will be stuck in a vicious cycle. What we need to realise is that we, as consumers hold immense power to reduce the excess waste we have created on our own planet. The root cause of overconsumption is our mindset, that confuses needs with wants. We need to realise that clothing is not meant to be used and thrown, rather preserved and passed on.
The main reason why sustainable fashion is not practiced by the masses is that even though they are aware about it as a concept they don’t know how they, as individuals can contribute towards the cause. The easiest yet crucial thing a person can do is build themselves a capsule wardrobe. It is a concept I came across a few weeks back and have been trying to inculcate in my life ever since.
What are Capsule Wardrobes?
A Capsule Wardrobe is a collection of good quality basic clothes, which can be worn interchangeably. It contains approximately 30-35 garments for each season including everything such as undergarments, accessories, upper wear and bottoms. It generally has neutral-coloured items, which can be easily paired with each other. This helps reduce the number of garments one owns and also provide a creative space to experiment with their clothes and style them in different ways.
They may also help some people find their personal style, as capsule wardrobes are all about owning limited pieces that you love instead of following trends and wearing what is trending and worn by the masses.
I used to be a victim of overconsumption too. Being a teenager in fashion college, I always felt immense pressure to dress a certain way. It is always expected of you to look fashionable and trendy. I consider fashion to be all about portraying who I really am but a major mistake I made was confusing wearing different clothes everyday as personal expression. Now, I have learned that I can express myself by styling a limited amount of clothes from my capsule wardrobe in different ways instead of owning tons of clothes. Capsule Wardrobes promote healthy and sustainable consumption habits and still give the individual the space to look stylish and fashionable. I believe that Capsule Wardrobes are the future of fashion as they are the complete opposite of everything that fast fashion stands for.
What are the garments in my Capsule Wardrobe?
Every wardrobe varies as fashion is all about personal and individual expression. However, a few pieces are seen in almost every capsule wardrobe as they are easy to pair and can be worn on multiple occasions. Some of these peices will definitely overlap with items you may like to have in your capsule wardrobe.
- A Basic T-Shirts
- A pair of Jeans
- Neutral Coloured Pants
- Striped and Plain Shirts
- Neutral Jacket or Sweater
- A short or midi black dress
- A Blazer or an Overcoat
- A pair of Heels
- A pair of classic sneakers
- A Tote Bag
- Ethnic wear such as a kurti
To achieve sustainability, people need to have a major change in their mindset and consume on the basis of their needs rather than their wants and still manage to remain happy and satisfied. Capsule Wardrobes are the perfect solution as they are timeless and promote minimalism. Though a basic concept, they can help solve a problem so grave and vast i.e overconsumption (mostly caused by fast fashion).
About the author:
Varya Kohli is a passionate and creative young woman currently pursuing accessory designing at NIFT Mumbai. What Once was a hobby has now turned into her passion. She is a big supporter of sustainability especially in the fashion line and wishes to expand on the same using her work in the near future. She is an avid reader and believes in the ideology that fashion and sustainability go hand in hand.