The origin of minimalism dates back to the early 1960s and was mainly referred to the artistic movement which showcased a modern, relaxed way of thinking. Minimal art was reductive and slow; "It presented ordinary subject matter in a literal way that lacked expressive features or metaphorical content".
Adopting a minimalist style to your wardrobe doesn't have to lack expressive features like the art movement did. There's clothing stores out there that promote a minimal and sustainable outlook on life with the hopes of inspiring you to practice the lifestyle.
Sometimes less is more, especially when we know just how much of an impact we have as consumers on the fast fashion industry. The less clutter we own, the more we are doing to save our planet, little by little.
Fast fashion has skewed our perception of minimalism, with cheaper clothes made by the tonne are known for their excessive water pollution and poor material structure. In order for a minimalist lifestyle to really be beneficial and sustainable for our environment, fast fashion items (although cheap and ideal) are not right for the job.
Minimalist fashion essentially follows the rule of keeping your wardrobe small and necessary with longevity in mind. It cuts out the idea of retaining unwanted clothes that we didn't need to purchase in our lives. These fewer clothes will need to withstand a longer duration of time and wear with the option of purchasing replacements out of the question.
Why incorporate minimalism into your wardrobe?
If not for you then for the planet, it's no secret that clothes are hard to recycle, so let's make our clothes last. The fashion industry on a global scale contributes towards 10% of all greenhouse gases emissions produced. If we can limit our clothing hauls and only purchase quality made goods, which exceed the shelf life of fast fashion products, then we are not only saving our planet but we are feeling good about it. Feeling good and looking good go hand in hand, so why not protect our planet at the same time?
Minimalism over materialism, you guessed it, materialism is minimalism's sworn enemy. Psychological studies suggest that materialism links to depression, loneliness and less satisfaction. Which makes sense in retrospect, the more we aim to satisfy ourselves with material objects the more often we find ourselves left wanting more.
Help yourself and the less fortunate, an influx in society choosing to live a minimal and eco-friendly life is what's leading this trend. When our lives become too hectic and cluttered, dedicating time to sift through our drawers and have a clear-cut is like turning a new page in a book. Unwanted clothing can make someone else's life better. If you feel serious about adopting a minimalist lifestyle, I would strongly recommend having a clear out and donating your unwanted clothes to charities such as Oxfam UK.
Brands paving the way for minimalism and sustainability
Like most climate conscious companies, Arket's brand identity is centred on supplying basic, good standard garments that will maintain their quality further than cheaper high street alternatives. Their shared mission as stated on their website aims to, "Democratise quality and make sustainable design accessible to more people". The company offer a 'basic' range to men and women, which allows for a cheaper sustainable route, described as being "Carefully designed for an effortless fit and made from quality materials that stand the test of repetitive use".
The name has been familiarised in popular culture for almost a century now. Levi's vow that their products are made to stand the test of time. In 2011, Levi's announced the dawn of Water<Less technology in a bid to try and reduce the amount of water used in the manufacturing process of the their denim jeans and jackets.
Since 2011 4.2 billion litres of water have been saved from otherwise production resources, and this has been one of Levi's many triumphs towards creating sustainable fashion. Levi's in-store tailors are a unique selling point, as they allow old customers to return with past purchases if products need to be altered and repaired. As well as this, the tailoring service Levi's provide allow customers to customise their denim jackets and jeans with sewn-on badges, which helps to create a personalised garment that can give your minimalist wardrobe a jolt to reflect your personality.
We can all play our part in reducing the amount of waste we contribute to landfill, and acquiring a minimalist mindset within our lifestyle is a crucial first step in changing for the good. If you find yourself bored or caught with time to spare, brush the cobwebs off those unwanted clothes and get down to your local charity shop.
We can all do better in regards to the way we shop, don't just click 'add to bag', go in store, try that jumper you wanted on, feel its quality, and ask yourself, can I see myself wearing this In the years to come?