The Sartorial Manifesto (aka the Five Rules)

Hello! My name is Professor Sartorial (actually it’s Jason, and yes I really am a professor) and I’m on a mission to educate the world about fashion, to build a community, and to look stylish while doing it!

Textiles and clothing are an essential part of being human. They protect us from the elements, preserve our modesty, and allow us to express our individuality. Textiles have a long, fascinating history and have been an essential economic driver since humans first learned to twist threads from fiber, weave those threads into cloth, and dye that cloth into a finished product.

The first industrial machines were designed to make cloth at speeds unimaginable to our ancient ancestors. The mechanization of textile manufacturing has been so successful that we now live in an age of cloth abundance.

In fact, clothing is now so abundant that it is more accurate to say we live in an age of cloth overabundance. And this overabundance comes with a cost. The textile and fashion industry is a leading contributor to pollution, carbon emissions, and climate change. On top of this, laborers in the garment industry are exploited and often work in horrible conditions. The biggest culprit is the so-called “fast fashion” industry – companies that produce inexpensive clothing rapidly, often in countries with lax labor and environmental protection laws. These clothes are meant to be worn a few times, perhaps a season or so, and then thrown away.

Therefore, whenever you shop, please make sure to CONSIDER THE SWEATSHOP TO LANDFILL PIPELINE.

Thinking about the sweatshop to landfill pipeline led me to a revelation: I had too many clothes, and too many of those clothes were made unsustainably in bad working conditions. I wanted to stop contributing to the fast fashion industry – but how? So, like any good professor, I started doing my research.

My research led me to come up with five rules for shopping that I share with you here.

The first rule of my sartorial manifesto is: SAY NO TO FAST FASHION! The fast fashion industry causes a lot of environmental and human harm. Fast fashion is relatively easy to identify because the clothes are cheap and trendy. If you want me to name names I will: H&M, Zara, Shein, Old Navy, Gap, American Eagle, Primark and on and on. Avoid these companies at all costs. A good rule of thumb is: if you aren’t paying much for it, then someone else is – whether this is by having their labor exploited or their environment polluted. Let’s put an end to the harm caused by these companies by not buying from them anymore.

Fast fashion depends on consumers chasing after trends, which is why the second rule is: STOP CHASING TRENDS! The clothes you buy and wear should be timeless, durable, and, most importantly, ethical and sustainable.

Of course, these things are easier said than done. Fast fashion is thriving (there has been a 400% increase in the amount of garments produced in the last twenty years) because it is cheap and trendy. How do we get around this?

One solution is CAPSULE WARDROBING. What is a capsule wardrobe? It is a limited number (20 to 30 or so depending on the person) of interchangeable pieces that are complimentary in style and color. A good capsule wardrobe contains the elements of several different outfits that can be created from a limited number pieces. There are many benefits to capsule wardrobing – it helps you stay organized, it makes it easier to get dressed in the morning, and it can save you money in the long run.

But how does capsule wardrobing help solve the fast fashion problem? It allows us to focus on what we already have in our wardrobe so that we can avoid shopping haphazardly for new things. This bring me to my third rule: BUY PIECES ONLY TO ADD TO YOUR CAPSULE OR TO REPLACE THINGS ALREADY IN IT. This means being mindful of what you buy and trying to source as much as you can from secondhand sellers in places like Poshmark, ThredUp, theRealReal, Depop, Grailed, and Ebay.

I know, I know. Avoiding fast fashion, ending the trend chase, buying more ethically and sustainably, and keeping a capsule wardrobe all take work and effort. I, for one, think it is worth the effort. Which brings me to my fourth rule: DO YOUR RESEARCH! Some things to ask as you shop: Where was the garment made? Does the company have any kind of statement on sustainability and fair labor practices? What materials is the garment made from? Are these materials ethically and sustainably sourced? Is the garment made to last? The main thing here is to stop simply buying something because it’s “cheap.” Widely available cheap garments are the reason the fashion industry has put us in this unsustainable predicament and it will take work and effort on the part of the consumer to bring it to an end.

Before you start thinking that Professor Sartorial is all doom and gloom, let me state my fifth rule: fashion is fun so HAVE FUN! There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you buy something new to wear. I especially enjoy the process of researching and shopping for new clothes, so let’s have fun together! Tune in here for discussions about capsule wardrobing, sustainable and ethical fashion, and reviews of different brands of clothing, shoes, etc.

Together let’s create a community that gets nerdy about things like style, textile history, heritage menswear, sustainability, and capsule wardrobing!

Check out my instagram and my youtube where you can find a lot more about my capsule wardrobe. Also check out my Poshmark closet where I sell things in order to keep them out of the landfill.

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  1. Pingback:How (and Why) to Capsule Wardrobe – Professor Sartorial

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