Guardarrr #17: Change is complex and takes time

Esta es la versión inglesa de mi boletín, puedes encontrar el mismo texto en castellano aquí.


The mission of Guardarrr, both the newsletter and the app, is for each user to find a more sustainable way of wearing clothes compatible with their life, so that those changes are also sustainable over time.

Since there is no single way to be more sustainable, it makes sense that everyone would have a unique combination of strategies. It also makes sense to need time to realize that optimal combination. And this is where the compatibility with the everyday life comes in. These should be permanent changes, for the rest of your life from now on. It is not a diet that you forget at the moment when the sales are announced, but a profound paradigm shift in your relationship with clothing.

That is why today I list some of the strategies that may be interesting to consider, no matter where you are on this path. And you will see that the vast majority – and the most complicated ones – are changes in our thought patterns, how we think about clothes and what psychological function their acquisition fulfills in our lives:

Use and care:

  • Using more of what you already have
  • Reducing the size of your wardrobe
  • Taking more care when hanging, folding and storing clothes
  • Laundering less, in colder water and with ecological detergents
  • Air drying
  • Learning to repair clothes

Discarding:

  • Swapping
  • Offering garments to friends and family
  • Depositing the discards *inside* the correct containers according to the textile waste policy of your municipality

Acquiring:

  • Supporting and creating occasions to swap clothes
  • Buying second hand
  • Buying better brands when you can’t get it second-hand
  • Learning to sew and refashion garments

Desires, attachment, and compulsions:

  • Accepting that we live in such abundance of clothing that we can neither appreciate nor wear it out nor recycle it all
  • Accepting that you are not your clothes
  • Accepting that clothes don’t last infinitely
  • Freeing yourself from the guilt of sunk costs
  • Cultivating contentment with what you already have
  • Consuming fewer sources of desire (media, advertising, influencers, etc.)
  • Consuming more sources of skepticism towards consumerism
  • Stopping shopping to pass time
  • Stopping shopping so as not to feel the sadness
  • Stopping shopping as a social activity
  • Accepting that the vast majority of clothing that has been created is not for you, either because of its aesthetics, size, material, cut, etc.

Interestingly, at least in my experience, the path is non-linear and almost inverse to the philosophical logic that thought comes first and is then followed by action. For me, the switch in thinking came after having established new hands-on practices and having understood their limits (because, I repeat, no strategy is perfect or sufficient). And slow, oh, yes, that has been very slow…

I have been chewing on the subject since 2014 and even so I sometimes observe old thoughts bubbling up: some remorse after having discarded a garment that I never wore, some fear when buying in case it turns out not to be mine, some “but, if I discard it, who is going to appreciate this garment as much as I do”. It seems that, even after all these years, sometimes I forget the incredible textile abundance in which we live.

That is why I have put my suggestions in this order, from less effort and investment (of time and money) to more. Start by using more and taking better care of your garments, continue with discarding well and acquiring more carefully … and you will tell me what happens with desires, attachments, and compulsions from then on.

A note on vocabulary: I am trying to be realistic here, and (a) talk of “more sustainable” behavior since I do not consider real sustainability possible within a late-capitalist and post-industrial society, and (b) talk of brands producing their wares “better” because production and distribution of new things at this point cannot be actually sustainable; furthermore, the bar for producing “better” is so incredibly low that it is hardly worth calling it sustainable fashion even within the current paradigm.

A bit of film history, female filmmakers and a reminder that vintage clothing was not as restrictive for movement as we sometimes want to believe: a fragment of Le piano irésistible (1907) directed by Alice Guy + where I found it.

¿Por qué no quitarte la ropa es la mejor protección solar? Comparativa de cremas solares sin plástico.

Un informado repaso por la historia de lo antitaurino en España: ‘Pan y Toros’, ocho siglos de pensamiento antitaurino español.

So How Do We Talk About Our Bodies Now? “Because we normalize body shaming and because we learn to use it as a tool for connection without recognizing all the ways it’s actually creating dissonance, it can be a particularly disorienting habit to break.” + God, I was hoping that GenZ was doing better than we did growing up: Selfies, Surgeries And Self-Loathing: Inside The Facetune Epidemic. However, Exposing Victorian Influencers Who ‘Facetuned’ Their Photos.

Climate-wise, we are still fucked, though: Absolute Zero. As a side note, Monbiot’s Heat (2006), which I read in the summer of 2008, was a turning point in my life and major influence for my climate pessimism.

“Our bodies, quite literally, were never meant to work this way”: How the Personal Computer Broke the Human Body.

And for the dessert, this autobio lovestory comic (totally safe for work, although comes from my favorite sex toy reviewers and the settings of your work network might block it): The Ridiculous.

And that’s it for this week! I hope that you enjoyed reading and would be very happy to hear from you, regarding the different sustainability strategies in individual textile use or anything else… in the comments below, via Facebook or Instagram, or via e-mail at luize.ratniece [a] gmail .com

Guardarrr is a weekly bilingual newsletter dedicated to sustainability and mindfulness in fashion. It is written by Luīze Ratniece, a sociologist and textile activist based in Barcelona. Guardarrr is both a tool for reflection and a crowdfunding channel for the wardrobe tracking app that Luīze is building. If you read this newsletter and value it, please consider going to the paid version to fund this project for a monthly equivalent of a coffee + pastry. Each subscription warms my heart immensely and helps going on, thank you so much for being here with me!

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