By Corrine Johnston
“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin” –Matthew 6:28
Living simply and sustainably is important for a healthier Earth. A very unsustainable area is the clothing industry and our habits with our clothing decisions. However, with few sustainable and affordable alternatives the best thing we can do is be smarter about what we do when it comes to buying, wearing, and disposing of clothing. Some simple ways to reduce clothing waste is to buy only what you need or borrow from friends/family. You can also donate or give away items that are still good, buy things used, and recycle what you can.
Another thing I’ve noticed is how confidence correlates with our clothing decisions. I’ve noticed some people are embarrassed to wear used clothing or to wear the same thing on a weekly basis. I think sometimes we allow society to tell us what we should and shouldn’t wear. Therefore, we make unsustainable choices such as purchasing more than we need and throwing away clothing that is still good all to cover up that insecurity.
This week, I decided to interview Mia White. Mia is a student at MSU studying Forestry and Food Science. She is an example of someone who is actively taking care of the Earth in many aspects of her life including dressing sustainably and doing it confidently.
Me: You’re very confident in the clothes you wear on a daily basis (old t-shirts and boxers), what makes you confident?
Mia: I think part of it is attitude. You got to FEEL confident. Clothes come and go but YOU are forever (in a mental sense because people die). But clothes don’t make a person; you can’t tell my feelings, intellectual level, hobbies, etc. based solely on my clothes. Plus, who wouldn’t be confident in clothes that were comfy and soft?
Me: How are you being sustainable through what you wear?
Mia: I hardly ever buy clothes. Let’s be honest, when I get paid, do I think about the latest fashions or vegan cheese and vegan ice cream? If I need clothes, I just go secondhand; it’s cheaper and I don’t need new clothes. I think secondhand clothes are my style; they have been all my life, perks of being the youngest. But by using secondhand, less clothes that are perfectly fine get thrown away and add to the trash that humans accumulate on the daily. I don’t need to appear pretentious and posh when I can look like a hobo and save the earth.
Me: What tips do you have for other people to dress more sustainably and be confident about it?
Mia: Get all your clothes secondhand, that’s easy. As for confidence, I wish I could magically wish everyone to have the confidence that society steals from them because they don’t fit a certain mold, but I can’t. You really need to have a, “f*** the world” attitude. You need to protect yourself in every sense, this includes mental and physical. You can’t live with other opinions in your head telling you what you have to look like or what you have to wear. Once you start to crack that control, you get to the confidence and the Queen that lives inside. As a friend once told me: Pick the weeds out of your life; plant native flowers in their graves.
I wish you all the best in dressing sustainably and doing it with confidence.
Here’s some photos of Mia at her finest: