I haven’t a thing to wear!


Sheena MatheikenAs well as concerns over child labour and worker exploitation, the fashion industry produces 3.1m tonnes of CO2 and 70m tonnes of waste water every year. Cotton farming is responsible for 22.5% of the world’s insecticide usage and 10% of the world’s pesticides. The shrinking of the Aral Sea in Central Asia is thought to be mainly due to the huge amount of water being used for cotton production. Hazardous chemicals such as lead, nickel, chromium IV, aryl amines, phthalates and formaldehyde are used in the dying process and can be transferred to skin from clothing. And the low cost of high street clothing had lead to disposable fashion – the UK alone bins 1m tonnes of clothing annually and 63% of this discarded clothing ends up in the landfill! So what to do?

Buying Fairtrade and organic cotton clothes, recycling, buying less, buying vintage and holding swishing parties are all steps in the right direction. However according to scientists, we are hard-wired to crave new things. Part of our brain, the nucleus accumbens in the cortex, releases the pleasure chemical dopamine when we shop – although it is actually the anticipation of buying something new rather than the physical purchase which gives us the kick.

“Dopamine is all about the hunt and the anticipation. It is released as you conjure up in your mind the thought of this purchase and anticipate how it will look and how you will use it.” – Gregory Berns, neuroscientist at Emory University, Georgia, USA.

Dopamine is also responsible for ‘buyer’s remorse’ as once the item has been bought, the dopamine surge falls away quickly and leads to feelings of regret.

In a bid to buy less but keep her nucleus accumbens happy, New Yorker Sheena Matheiken has launched The Uniform Project. Sheena is wearing the same black dress every day for one year but changing the outfit with vintage accessories from eBay and charity shops. Sheena actually has seven identical dresses to get through the year, one for every day of the week. Every day she adds a photo of her outfit and donates $1 to her chosen charity, the Akanksha Foundation.


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2 Responses to “I haven’t a thing to wear!”

  1. fashionfrump Says:

    A great post. I am fed up of disposable fashion- a symptom of our throwaway culture. Perhaps campaigns such as this will make people think again about what they spend & why?

  2. Vicky Says:

    This is just a brilliant and most inspiring idea! Thanks so much for sharing x

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