After Nicole McCallum saw The True Cost documentary, she knew that her approach to fashion needed to change. But instead of easing her way into sustainability, Nicole did the equivalent of checking herself into rehab or signing up for an extreme minimalist boot camp by challenging herself to live with only 10 garments for 100 days (excluding undergarments, outerwear and activewear).
What 10 garments would you pick for such a challenge? Just the thought of dwindling down a closet to a measly 10 sounds awful.
But Nicole’s minimalistic approach to cutting ties with fast fashion initiated a self discovery that revealed what she really loves. “I feel I've started to develop my own style and flare that reflects my values… Even when I feel the desire to buy something I find myself asking — do I really need this item?”
Like many of us, Nicole used to have a closet full of impulse buys — a cluttered and incomprehensive wardrobe that made her feel guilty and uninspired. You know the feeling, it’s always that quick, “I have nothing to wear!” thought we get while standing before a closet full of clothes.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
But is living with less really that much better? “Living with a minimal wardrobe is so easy! I spend less time getting ready in the morning and I love everything I own.”
When we cut out all of the extra noise and we focus on the clothes that bring us joy and make us feel good, it forces us to be extremely particular about what we let into our lives. It helps us create an atmosphere of contentment and true happiness.
This challenge showed Nicole how toxic and addictive fast fashion is — That it's like living blind in a bad relationship. The one you can’t seem to let go of until it becomes obvious and unbearable. But once your eyes are open, you have to get out asap. You need a breakup.
Read Nicole's breakup letter to fast fashion below —
It's not you. It's me.
To My Once Beloved,
Thank you for always being there for me. You have provided me with endless joy. You know the right things to give me when I need a wee pick me up. Seeing you dance with colour, and sparkles, lace and silk – you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. When you hug my figure – it’s so perfect. You make me feel so alive!
We have shared the most amazing time together (and I’m so sorry to have to tell you this) but I don’t think we can see each other anymore. The last few weeks apart have made me realise that you no longer make me happy. Spending time with you used to make me feel so good – but now that spark has gone.
It’s not you – it’s me!
During the time apart I have learnt so much about you and about myself.
I learnt that you have tricked me into buying shiny new things constantly. But now I know, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. We should love the individual for a much longer time. You like it fast. But I want it slow. And, right now, I just don’t think you have the ability to do that.
I’ve learnt some things about you that really hurt me. Your flawless facade hides the horrible crimes you’ve committed. Children and women cry because of you. Water bleeds colours that it should not. And you continue to shove toxins into the land even though it’s desperately telling you to stop.
I know too much now. I could never possibly go back to you.
I care too much about myself and the future generation to let you cause the hurt that you do. I have learnt that, although there’s only one of me, I have the power to make a difference. My actions have the power to change – and I’m starting with this – our break up!
Fast Fashion – my beloved! Maybe if you cleaned up your act and loved more slowly and meaningfully we might be able to mend this relationship.
But until then, I’m sorry, I will have to say goodbye.
Are you up for the challenge? Could you live 100 days with only 10 things? We believe that you can. It sounds daunting, but living with less is actually liberating and exciting. It forces you to get creative, use your time more effectively, and it helps you define what kind of wardrobe you really want. If you accept our challenge, please keep tabs with us and Nicole. We would love to hear about your journey!
All Photos courtesy of Ashley Church :: Dinosaurtoast.
Nicole McCallum lived with 10 items of clothing for 100 days after she learned which completely changed her perspective on fast fashion. Now a sustainable fashion advocate and blogger, Nicole is determined to save the planet through fashion. When she's not busy running the HRTech company she cofounded, you'll find her drinking coffee (out of a Keep Cup of course), browsing the op shops or hot yoga-ing.