Updated: Jan 12, 2020
No one knows everything, and the beauty of books, articles, documentaries, TED Talks and more, is that it gives anyone the opportunity to consume knowledge from those who know something about a topic we have no previous knowledge of. Long sentence, I know. Anyway, this is the bottom line of how I started my own research.
I had just graduated with a M.Sc. degree in Economics and gradually learned that I knew hardly anything about a type of economy that would be the only way forward to preserve our environment: the Circular Economy. What did I do? Well, let me tell you how I went from being a, as I call it, "fashion culprit" [someone who has been helping to make fashion the second biggest pollutor], to the "circular fashion detective™" [someone who actively seeks the truth about how fashion can be circular and a true force for good].
Graduated, "the world is my oyster", no one is offering me a job
This pretty much sums up my summer after graduating in 2018. I had envisioned to become a consultant - which is a pretty broad and vague title - and that I wanted to stay in Copenhagen. My scope hence was narrow, but I remained optimistic. I had a backpack full of tools, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities and speak three language at the professional level. REALITY CHECK : being a foreigner and not speaking the local language makes you challenging to employ and thence my application process was anything but smooth sailing. Rejection after rejection followed and I started to get bored from sitting at home.
I decided to start developing the concept of an app that tells you what to wear based on the weather, What.to.Wea(the)r®. This got me excited to wake up early every day to work on and soon enough I found myself enrolled in an incubator where I would have a place to work and a network of fellow founders and other startup enthusiasts. This was great. One month in, however, I felt stuck developing the app's business model. Moreover, my gut kept telling me that there was something wrong with fashion, but I couldn't quite phatom it.
I'm not alone here
This is where the big shift (or transformation, whatever you want to call it) started. In the words of Socrates, I knew that :"All I know is that I know nothing". As I had been taught to do, I picked up the first piece of information that I thought relevant to start studying the subject that is the fashion industry. Enter, the documentary THE TRUE COST. This tearjerking reality check was a TRUE wake-up call. There was no way I could fall back into my old habits. The following year I did not buy any kind of textile. Nothing, nada, niente. The truth is, I felt motivated doing it as I had faith it will have an impact on the industry. Why? If you look for TED talks or other videos where people share their story of their so-called "My one year of not buying clothes", you know you're not the only one.
This is good. This is great. This is absolutely fantastic, because the more people that do not buy any textiles (not even second hand), the more potential customers are not bringing cash into the 'bad guys' bank accounts, and thus slow down that company's growth. Therewith slowing down the bad guys' progress to do more harm. Brilliant!
What kept fueling my motivation to say no to potential purchases (I'm still a fashionista after all), was the desire to make a positive impact. Moreover, the more I learned about the malpractices the fashion industry had created and nurtured, the less I was inclined to cast a vote for the continuation of said industry. Every time you make a purchase, you literally cast a vote for the world you want. Think about it; this is the only way the fast fashion industry was able to grow into the giant it is today (Holá, Inditex € 26.15 billion in Net Sales). It's like people who have seen too much of the meat industry and then cannot eat animal meat anymore. You cannot unsee or unread what you have captured. You've become too conscious to be ignorant.
👆How I feel today about all fast fashion concerns.👆
That's it for now. For any more stories, please let me know in a comment what you would like to know about my journey as the Circular Fashion Detective™.