Fast fashion is expensive… true or false?
At a glance, you may think that it’s cheap to buy - but when you dig deeper as we are about to do - you’ll see just how truly expensive it is.
Because while you might be buying inexpensive items at fast fashion stores and shopping all of the sales - you could actually be spending A LOT more than you think.
The real cost of fast fashion
The fashion industry is a dirty business. Don’t get us wrong, even as a sustainable and natural brand, Nui Organics is a part of it. But building a sustainable and natural fiber, organic brand that causes no harm in the making - while it’s a category growing in demand - it is not the norm and it hasnt always been easy.
When nui started back in 2004, there were not too many sustainable and natural fiber clothing brands in existence at that time. With our roots in New Zealand we were surrounded by a pristine natural environment and inspired to start a business that respected that environment
The statistics say it all. Of the 150 billion garments that are purchased every year, 85% of them end up in landfills.The fashion industry alone makes up 10% of global carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. And add in the amount of microplastics that just washing one load of synthetic fiber clothing sheds into the ocean - 750,000 to be exact - killing sea life, and ending up in our food system - and you might just want to just go naked instead.
We love the au-natural look, but if you would rather not get arrested and actually love showing your style with what you wear, then we’d like to share our Cost Per Wear formula that will allow you to splurge on the quality items you want, save money, AND respect the environment.
What is cost per wear?
CPW = Cost of item / Number of wears
We all have done it - those impulse purchases that seem like a good deal at the time, but in the end sit in our closets unworn, or worse yet, worn 1-2 times, only to start tearing, pilling, or falling apart.
It results in buyers remorse, regret, pressure to keep consuming and buying more, and in the end, having your hard-earned money hanging in your closet unworn, and leaving you feeling discouraged and unfulfilled.
Cost per wear is about saying NO to cheap, fast fashion, and thinking long term before you buy.
Cost per wear is about changing your identity to a connoisseur instead of a consumer.
There are many benefits to the cost-per-wear formula.
- Simplifying your wardrobe so you can spend less time shopping and more time focusing on more things that matter in life - like your family, getting outside in nature, doing anything but deciding what to wear.
- Getting the item you want and feeling like you are splurging, but saving money in the end.
- Saving the planet from the toxins and pollution from the fashion industry and synthetic fibers.
- Focusing on quality and not quantity so you have pieces you love for a long time.
- Shop without the guilt.
- Always having an outfit you love over more outfits you don’t care about.
- Getting dressed for yourself and the planet, over getting dressed to impress others.
How much of a difference can you make by practicing the Cost per Wear formula when you shop? On average, if you can buy an item you will wear 50 times instead of 5 (the fast fashion average), it reduces carbon emissions by more than 400% per item per year.
But therein lies the next hurdle.
If consumers can become more mindful in their buying behavior - taking the social and environmental impact of the products they buy and the services they use into consideration before making a purchasing decision - we could collectively make a dent in the environmental global crisis.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the population “cares”, but their thoughts don’t translate into actions. Statistics show that 7% of consumers think sustainability is an important factor when purchasing, 23% prioritize high quality, and 16% want to receive good value for money.˙
But reflecting on the 150 billion items of clothing purchases each year, and the 65 pounds the average American throws away every year, there seems to be a disconnect between how we think about our purchases and how every decision we make impacts the environment as a whole.
Enter Cost per Wear. Because when you know better, you can do better. And armed with this transformative formula, you can turn your shopping habits into a force for good, rather than a foreseeable mound of pollution and wasted money.
How do you practice the Cost per Wear formula in real life?
Never be caught with your petroleum (aka polyester) pants down around your ankles again! Here is a sustainable shoppers quick-reference guide you can use for creating your sustainable and premium quality wardrobe for less.
Can I wear this item with at least 3 different things that are currently in my closet?
Is this something I will want to wear in 6 months? In a year? 3 years?
Will this item last 30 washes and 30 wears?
What is this item made of? Did it cost the environment? Was it ethically made?
Is this a timeless style I will wear for years?
How do I wash it? #microplastics
Where was it made? Who made it? How are they treated?
Do I love it?
Sustainable values in real life
Practicing the Cost per Wear formula in real life requires that you wear your values on your sleeve when you shop. Armed with the values and standards you uphold for yourself with regards to sustainability, environmentalism, ethics, and human rights, you won't be distracted by that "must-have" trend or flash sale from businesses that don't uphold those standards too.
Let’s break this down and see how CPW breaks down.
Here we have the Nui Organics Merino Womens Opua Mockneck. Made of 100% RWS merino wool, this shirt is $82. That may seem like an expensive tee, but considering that it is made of premium quality natural fibers, it is:
- Naturally breathable, temperature regulating, and odor-resistant - so you likely will wear it A LOT.
- High quality natural fibers are resilient - so even after 50 washes, it will still retain it’s shape and look and feel of the fabric.
That means that the Cost per Wear of this hoodie, worn 50 times (in one year that would be once a week) - and the cost is $1.64 per wear.
Let’s look at a non sustainable longsleeve top, from a mass retailer.
This top is a very cheap $8.96. Seems like a no-brainer bargain. But let’s break it down.
- Made of 63% Modal/ 33% Polyester/ 4% Spandex - Modal has been sited to damage rainforests in the sourcing, and since it’s preproduced yarn, the process to turn it into fabrics can be significant, with conventional methods using high levels of water and chemicals. Let alone the petroleum based polyester, which should leave your sustainable values stripped and possibly wanting to go take a shower.
- The wash and wear, based on the reviews, puts it at 1-2 wears before it starts snagging and breaking down.
Overall Cost per wear of this “inexpensive tee”? We’ll even give it 4 wears to be generous, but that’s $2.24 per wear. That doesn’t even account for the less than eco friendly packaging, shipping, and production that mass retailers have to use to operate.
The halo effect your decisions have on business
You are more powerful than you may think. Simply by shifting your priorities when shopping, you create a ripple of change with every purchase you make.
Because when you demand higher standards for yourself, as in long-lasting materials and better sustainable fabric choices, businesses will demand higher standards for themselves. When more consumers seek out sustainable and natural fiber clothing, mass, fast fashion businesses will be forced to change their practices in sourcing, construction, design, manufacturing, production, and more.
With greenwashing rampant (companies claiming to be sustainable but constantly producing new products consistently and badly) you are now armed with your Cost per Wear quick guide so you can look for companies like Nui Organics, who reflect your values and higher, sustainable standards.
Cost per wear, after all, isn’t just about what you wear - it’s about who you are. Deciding that you are the type of person whose beliefs and values are not only mere thoughts, but reflected in what you wear, how you shop, and how you live, is liberating.
And the side effect? You now can have a closet full of curated sustainable and premium quality natural fiber clothing that makes getting dressed both timelessly stylish and gratifying.