I conversed with the lovely Amy De Klerk for Harpers Bazaar about navigating society’s obsession with newness and how we can manage shopping thrills with mindfulness practises.

“The need to avoid losses – or what we might refer to as FOMO (fear of missing out) – combined with our ingrained desire for novelty, causes a rush of adrenaline which contributes to the thrill of shopping experiences. The hits of dopamine and adrenaline create a reward-seeking loop that causes us to reach for our debit card over and over again.”
“Despite the fact that consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about the impact of their purchase decisions, the thrill of shopping is not something that we can magic away. Like with any experience that creates a reward-seeking loop, the thrill of shopping is something that we all have to manage with both education and mindfulness practices.”
“Taking time before you buy something will ensure that you’re not being swayed by that chemical surge that takes place in anticipation of going shopping. Waiting will allow you to think carefully about if you truly want or even like the item that’s sitting in your basket.”

Please read the full article here.

There is an old expression: ‘You can never have enough clothes.’ An expression often used to justify excessive consumption and deemed the perfect excuse to defend a bulging wardrobe; yet, nothing to wear. This combined with the illusion that the success of an individual is measured by the accumulation of material possessions and the belief that the more you own, the more accomplished you are, is starting to show its age. 

Seeing Fashion Consumption in a New Light

In recent years, however, a change in Consumer Psychology has occurred among millennials. Moving away from the attainment of goods as a technique of social signalling, today the concept of “owning” and “ownership” is seemingly less of a priority to younger consumers. This extends to fashion consumption, as well as other possessions and services used by millennials. 

A New Way to Consume

Instead younger consumers are embracing a sharing economy

Birthed from the internet age, this notion has emerged whereby today services, goods, data and property are accessible and obtainable in just one click – anytime and anywhere; thus highlighting the impermanence of possessions and indicating a shift towards the diminishing urgency to own and possess material belongings in 2022. 

Material belongings now growing redundant include: Cars with the invention of ride sharing apps, music, photography now stored on devices rather than in frames, and books now stored on Kindle form rather than sitting on our bookshelves

The Fashion Angle

We have also seen this concept extend to the fashion industry with the conception of Digital Fashion. Considered by some as a somewhat far-out, unconventional method of obtaining fashion, Digital Fashion consists of using sites to purchase digitally generated clothing through augmented reality. An ‘outfit’ or ‘item’ is purchased online, the client then uploads a picture of themselves, and the item purchased will be edited onto their body in said image; ready to be posted online to their social media

An example of such Digital Fashion platforms includes DressX, launched in 2020 DressX is focused on delivering sustainable and affordable fashion. Daria Shapovalova, a spokesperson for the platform described to me:

“While we genuinely share the beauty and excitement that physical fashion creates, we believe that there are ways to produce less, produce more ethically, or not produce at all.” In addition to this, representatives of DressX expressed, “Digital Fashion will become a new way for customers to enter the high fashion world, discovering the new way to shop luxury, reducing their environmental footprint, receiving the same sense of belonging and excitement from wearing designer pieces in digital.”

DressX has confirmed the platform is already looking to the future and into ways to use metafashion in real time – exploring the technology of allowing customers to wear 3D items during live video calls. If successful, it will be incredibly interesting to see what this technology looks like, and how it feels to use it. Could this be our future of what it means to have ownership over our clothing? Will we all have digital wardrobes in the future? What will this mean for the future landscape of the fashion industry?

Many urban consumers have replaced car ownership, once a symbol of independence and status,  with car and ride sharing services providing access to a vehicle or transportation when needed. 

Physical pictures occupying frames, wallets, and albums have been replaced with digital photographs that can be viewed at any time and songs, books, movies, or magazines that can be pulled down from the cloud at any time to suit a consumer’s mood.

This Being Said…

There is still plenty of evidence to suggest that consumers in 2022 (of all ages) still invest in unessential material goods. The retail industry, although it has suffered in recent years and despite the rise of digital fashion, will continue to drive economies. After all, we will always want and need to buy physical clothes for everyday use – when we aren’t posting selfies or grandstanding for our followers. Research has also shown the human need to self-express through fashion is immense – which naturally in turn generates sales. By consuming fashion, we (younger and older consumers) not only take ownership of the physical good, but also our identity.

So What Does The Future Hold?

My guess? Three words: “Collective psychological ownership.” 

Using platforms and new technology such as ride sharing services and Digital Fashion platforms results in the collective societal movement of aiding others to reach locations and source desired goods in the least environmentally damaging way possible: by not producing or encouraging ownership of goods in the first place. Surely this doesn’t sound like a bad thing. Could millennials, who are often branded as the me me me generation, be onto something here?

Let us also not forget millennials are also living in a world where there are so many other alternatives and more convenient options than to own, and that the concept of ownership in some areas (housing for instance) are against them. Therefore, it seems younger consumers are taking ownership of the concept of “ownership” and utilising it to fit their reality. Smart, if you ask me.

Here at Fashion is Psychology we were delighted to be invited to the press conference to learn all about Red Carpet Green Dress™ (RCGD), a women-led global change-making organisation born out of a need for more ethical clothing. 

RCGD hosts an annual design competition open to those with an interest or passion for sustainability. Previously, the organisation has teamed up with many designers to create red carpet-worthy looks for stars including Lakeith Stanfield who illustrated ethical high-end fashion at the 2018 Oscars. 

Samata Pattinson CEO says

“by bringing together young and established talents, we hope to encourage more designers to take a proactive step to building a more eco-friendly fashion world”. 

Suzy Amis Cameron (RCGD Founder) & Lakeith Stanfield, Oscars 2018

RCGD x TENCEL™ x CLO Virtual 2021

This year, applicants presented a digital sketch of their sustainable red carpet design before the international contest closed in August. One gown and one suit design were selected by the international contest judging panel, consisting of Suzy Amis Cameron (RCGD Founder), Harold Weghorst (Vice President of Global Marketing & Branding, Lenzing AG), Micaela Erlanger (Celebrity Fashion Stylist) and Abrima Erwiah (Co-founder of Studio 189).

Who are the winners of this years contest?

The judging panel are delighted to announce this year’s winning duo: Yuriko Fukuda and Zhi Hong Benjamin Koh. 

Born in Japan, UK-based Yuriko Fukuda is this year’s womenswear winner. 

“Expressing myself through design feels like meditation. Our minds and art are indeed interconnected, having a bidirectional impact on our mental health. Fashion is a work of art and I believe it has the power to control our mind and body.” 

Singapore-based fashion, textile and product designer Zhi Hong Benjamin Koh is this year’s menswear winner. 

“In 2016, I founded The Material Atelier by 本 (BEN), a multi-disciplinary creative studio focused on seeking sustainable fashion, featuring collaborations with local artists to create sustainable wearable art. One of our goals is to inform the public through informative videos about what goes into the material and the design of their garments… I joined RCGD with the hope of sharing our sustainable fashion vision.” 

What prize will the winners receive?

The looks will be showcased as part of an exhibition to leading sustainable advocates in Los Angeles. All winners will be introduced to a sustainable fashion and entertainment audience from across the globe, alongside a monetary award. The winners will also receive business mentorship with RCGD’s CEO Samata Pattinson, support and access to RCGD’s extensive network, and creative support for their fledgling careers.

The designs chosen by the winners will be put into production in early 2022 with sustainable eco-couture textiles in collaboration with TENCEL™ and sponsored by CLO.

Harold Weghorst, TENCEL™, textile speciality brand, CEO, hopes RCGD will inspire future generations to be sustainable as the competition showcases the beauty of eco-friendly designs to the world. He emphasises the importance of “maximising impact whilst minimising footprint”.

CEO of CLO Virtual Fashion, Simon Kim expresses that technology is the answer to operate more sustainably as Virtual Fashion provides expandability to create designs in a socially responsible way.

Next, we asked CEO Samata Pattinson to give her take on Fashion Psychology:

Fashion is Psychology: How would you describe the psychology behind buying sustainably?

Samata Pattinson: I think everyone has a different mindset. For me, buying sustainably is about the questions I ask myself before making a purchase and approaching the idea of consumption from a minimalist point of view. I look at bringing something into my life that I value, knowing we all value things differently.

The psychology behind sustainability is one of constantly balancing discernment and joy. Discernment in being selective about the purchases being made and having the genuine interest to find out more about those stories. Balanced with the joy of wanting to bring something into your life that has been made in a way that is respectful to people and the planet. 

I think when you take an interest in sustainability your approach to purchasing is accepting every purchase is part of a bigger picture.

FiP: How can we make sustainability more accessible?

Samata: I think this means recognising that people have different education levels, different awareness levels, different access levels and then understanding this means you must speak to people in different ways. Not every single person is looking at sustainability with the same perspective, and if we don’t adjust the lens which we are speaking through then we run into the danger of painting every situation with the same colour. In addition, we sometimes approach these conversations as if we’re teaching people things that they already know, and that can be quite patronising.

So perhaps what is missing is humility and awareness that education is a two-way conversation, and ensuring we show compassion about peoples’ different existences.

FiP: How does RCGD improve overall well-being?

Samata: Well-being is defined by different people from different perspectives from us. We try and focus on education-making opportunities for people to learn and empower themselves with knowledge and understanding. 

For me, education is a huge part of my personal well-being, having a better understanding of the world around me. We create opportunities, which means we try and reach talent in all corners of the globe to show the importance of the narrative not being dominated by a small power cluster. The contest we have live right now in partnership with TENCEL and CLO is about pushing to reach creatives from community colleges to high performing colleges. 

That range is important – we want creatives in different places to feel seen and welcome. We also believe strongly in taking these conversations into places where average people exist, not just having them in silos of eco-warrior spaces. 

All of this is how we see sustainability is being de-stigmatised and becoming a more accessible conversation in space.

The competition has our full support in helping draw attention to the importance of more positive practices in fashion. You can find out more by visiting the website here.

The average woman has 103 things in her closet, of which only 10% are worn. With these statistics in mind, it makes perfect sense that the heroic, periodic Closet Clean Out swoops in to save the day. We often leave our clean outs with two piles: keep and donate. 

Donating and other acts of charity activate our brain’s pleasure circuits. We get that intangible “inner glow”, a sense of agency or the approval of others for our altruistic deeds. 

While donating is incredibly generous, supports those in need, and extends the lifecycle of our clothing, it’s not always as sustainable as we think. By understanding the clothing resale market, as well as how to shop secondhand first, we can even better for both our wardrobes and the planet. 

Why do we love to purge?

We have gained a lust for minimalism, today more than ever. We’ve been taught to keep only the things that “spark joy”, doing away with cluttered wardrobes in favor or sleek Pinterest-worthy shelves. Especially at the height of the pandemic, with extra time at home to reevaluate our possessions, 2020 became known as “The Great Decluttering”. 

As someone who guides people through these “purges”, I’ve chosen to forego the phrase cleanout in favor of curation. Curation is defined as the action or process of selecting, organizing, and looking after the items in a collection or exhibition. If we treat our clothing with the esteem a museum exhibition warrants, we’ll find ourselves with only the pieces we love to wear. 

The Donation Dilemma

Great for our ego, and for the planet. It is irrefutably true that donating your clothing is better than tossing it. That said, the amount of donations a Salvation Army receives severely outweigh what they can sell. A whopping 84% of our clothing still ends up in landfills and incinerators.

Choose resale instead

The resale economy is poised to total $77billion in the next 5 years, and that’s cause for celebration. This also means that despite a booming, perhaps crowded, market, no two resale platforms are quite the same. 

They reach varying audiences, with varying aesthetics, and even more varied budgets. For a seller, the wild west of resale also carries considerations– ease of navigation, level of effort to list, and commission structures. Research seller reviews and the brands sold on each platform to understand which one will best match the stuff in your curation pile.  

And as you’re identifying which items to part ways with, rethink your piles. Instead of simply keep and donate, sort them based on where they have resale value, from most to least:

  • Luxury: Tradesy, Vestiaire, My Wardrobe HQ, Sellier, Cudoni 
  • Trendy and High Street: Ebay, Depop, Hardly Ever Worn It, Vinted 
  • The Not Quite Sellable Stuff: Swopped, Swishing, clothing swaps on Eventbrite, charities that want a specific type of gently-used clothes like coat drives or prom dresses.
  • Worn or damaged goods: Look up your area’s local textile recycling center, or convert the garment into rags for use around the house. 

Now before consigning, let’s enter the realist room. Prepare yourself to potentially receive a slightly lower return than what the market calls for. Two thousand years ago Aristotle wrote, “What belongs to us, and what we give away, always seems very precious to us.” We’re programmed to think this way. In a study conducted by psychologist Jean Piaget, children exhibited an extreme preference for the things they already owned, even when presented with carbon copies. 

My rule of thumb: even a few pounds is better than zero pounds, especially with the guarantee of an item going to a new home over landfill.

Okay, I curated! Now how do I build a sustainable wardrobe?

The most sustainable clothes are the ones you already own. But shopping your own closet doesn’t always scratch the retail therapy itch. Which is why the second most sustainable option is secondhand. 

While thrift hauls and rare vintage finds go viral on social media today, people have been shopping secondhand for nearly as long as the fashion industry has existed. With the secondhand industry so massive, there’s virtually no excuse to buy new. It’s more sustainable, more affordable, and allows you to be more experimental with your style. The next time you add to cart, pause and search on any of the sites above for a similar, if not identical item. The slower pace will save you money and create more intentional consumption habits. 

You’re now prepared to foray into the world of resale, whether as a seller, a shopper, or both. The planet thanks you, and so will your wardrobe. 

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our tenth instalment, we’re speaking to the founder of @tickover , Bryony Porter. 

Bryony Porter

Bryony Porter (she/her) is a seamster, craftivist and visible mender living on a canal boat in South West England. She enjoys using embroidery as a medium to challenge the fashion industry which exists at the expense of both people and the planet. She spreads awareness by posting her embroidery to her Instagram, @tickover, which has racked up a huge following.

Here’s what Bryony had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

To be honest, clothes more often than not are just clothes to me. The right fit and style can make me feel great. Sometimes I love to dress up in a more vintage 50s style, rarely now-a-days. Sometimes I’m really proud of my repairs and patches, other times I feel very scruffy and wish that I had a fierce wardrobe. Sometimes I want to throw everything out and buy things that my present self would wear, rather than wearing the things I bought years ago and that have been given to me but aren’t really my style… But that’s never going to happen. 

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy?

My most treasured item is this vintage 1950s dress, because its the oldest thing that I own. I love the synched in waist and full skirt. Putting it on after lockdown, I realise it needs a bit of letting out and perhaps a dry clean, that and I need to make an occasion to wear it.

I love the idea that it belonged to someone else before me, where did they go? What did they eat in it? Where has it travelled? And hopefully, when I’m done with it, it will intrigue someone else just as much.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

All decisions are political, including what we chose to buy and wear on our body. Since all clothing is made by human hands, every piece in our wardrobe is connected to garment makers all over the world.

Whilst all deserving of equal rights, dignified working conditions and living wages their individual realties are not often shared. Perhaps the individual that made your jumper is protesting against the military coup in Myanmar? That grew the cotton to make your underwear is fighting for farmers’ rights in India. Against union busting in Sri-Lanka, for the Accord to be extended in Bangladesh, against gender-based violence in Lesotho.

Maybe they have lost their job due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are struggling to feed their family. Or perhaps they have been displaced by the climate crisis, of which the fashion industry has played an enormous part. 

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

Whilst my living as a seamster is dependent on garment workers and I see a direct transaction between the clothing made by others that I alter and repair and the food on my table this is a shift in perspective that I have learned through the pandemic.

I was privileged to be furloughed during the lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic for many months and this was highlighted by the stark contrast of my living situation and safety and that of others both that lost jobs and that had to make clothes at detriment to their own wellbeing. The pandemic highlighted the fashion industry as a system that was already broken, like nothing else.

Personally being furloughed gave me the space to do more learning, reflection and “activism” than when I’m working my day job although I was desperate to get back to sewing. Generally I wear a minimal wardrobe and repair the hell out of it, since I was practically living in my pyjamas they gained more repairs than usual. 

5. What are you planning on buying next?

Right now I don’t think that there’s anything that I actually need. I have limited space on my narrowboat for new clothes and can never throw anything away, no matter how old and patched, so getting new clothes comes at the cost of always stubbing my toe on the drawers that stick out from under my bed that I need to force closed. 

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our ninth instalment, we’re speaking to CEO of Red Carpet Green Dress, Samata Pattinson.

Samata Pattinson

Samata is a British born Ghanaian entrepreneur working across fashion and media. She is the CEO of sustainable Oscars® design campaign Red Carpet Green Dress, published author of The Fashion Designer’s Resource Book, and founder of THE TRIBE™, a global collective, created for women to empower and celebrate each other. Visit SamataHome.com, a portal for her work, personal style and more to discover all.

“Fashion has always been a second skin to me, I never understand when people say they aren’t involved in it – if you wear clothes, you are involved in it.”

Here’s what Samata had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

My clothes make me feel enhanced, protected, seen and understood, comforted, dignified, beautiful, sensual and cultured.

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy?

I treasure all my things differently, but right now I would say I am really comfortable in my Rothy’s slippers and a Headwrap. I also love this bag from Maison Eli which features Cowrie beads which are significant in Ghanaian culture – they symbolise destiny and prosperity. It’s hard to pick as I love all the things I have. I feel carefree and light, in them.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

Absolutely, even existing in western society and being able to dress a certain way to show parts of your skin, to wear certain fitted jeans and to be able to walk down the street without that being against the norm – it’s all political in the context of societies we live.

In addition if I decide to wear something that has a bit more of a statement culturally, whether it’s traditional Ghanaian fabrics with those prints, or if I choose to wear my head wrapped up, all of that is in a way a conversation that gives insight into my views on my culture and that is definitely political.

I do think there’s this idea of Soft or Hard politics in fashion and some of these are politics which are an invitation for a conversation, versus perhaps a T-shirt or item of clothing which shows an alignment to a specific political ideology.

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

No, I always looked for a story first, I always shopped discerningly and never with real impulse because my mindset completely shifted when I started on my sustainability journey.

From a personal perspective, I was always customising, tailoring and fixing the clothes I had, beyond initally being really selective about what I bought and so on, so it hasn’t really changed me a great deal.

If anything it’s giving me the opportunity to talk to other people about how their relationship with fashion has developed, which has been exciting for me to hear about more people starting and developing their own journeys.

5. What are you planning on buying next?

I honestly don’t need anything right now, I’m always open to seeing beautiful pieces of fabric which can be tied as a top or a head wrap or something but right now I don’t have a need. Or a want. If anything it’s something for my 3 year old who is growing like a tree.

I spoke with Alice Porter for Stylist on what motivates us to shop and how we can shop mindfully.

“Clothes and fashion allow people to signal their identity and to communicate themselves to others. Consumers don’t just purchase clothing – they purchase lifestyles.”
“Clothes have a significant impact on our moods, desires and identity and they can change the way people perceive us.”

Click here and learn how to buy less. 

Recently I’ve heard myself saying ‘I have nothing to wear’ slightly more than usual. A good friend of mine told me about an article she read which explored this statement, and what might be causing someone who definitely has plenty of options for something to wear, think that they do not. According to the article, this statement could mean that we do not have a sufficient wardrobe of staple items.

After I got off the phone to my friend, I slowly had a look through my clothes.

I noticed a pattern; I host a lot of clothes that I find attractive, but do not ever really feel like wearing. They tend to be items that are brightly coloured and made of fabrics that are more suitable for going out. Upon some reflection, I started to consider how I might choose more wearable options that suit my temperament. I am someone who likes quiet and space, deep conversations, and art that moves me. In many ways I can attribute this to being somewhat of an introvert.

So with that in mind, I’m going to share with you some points I’ve been considering to create a capsule wardrobe for introverts.

1. Lengths and shapes

Do you feel sensitive to the cold when you’re wearing ankle length jeans? Do you wish you had sleeves that hugged your arms and were long enough to pull down over your hands?

For a while it was difficult to find full-length jeans or trousers, but thankfully that has recently changed! So now might be the time the time to stock up on a few staple bottoms that will last.

When there are so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming scanning through the shops, whether that’s online or in person. Becoming familiar with your shape means that you can scan through clothes with more ease and narrow down your search.

When getting to know your shape, consider these focus points and whether or not they work for you and/or you enjoy how they make you feel: shoulder pads, halter neck, sweetheart neckline, ¾ sleeves, cinched waist, culottes, high waist bottoms, low rise bottoms, tapered leg, flares, midi skirts. These items do not make up an exhaustive list, so pay attention to cuts and shapes and experiment with your body, noticing how each garment makes you feel.

2. Colour palette

If you can relate to the notion of being an introvert, then the colours you choose are going to be very important.

For your colour palette, consider skin tone shades and how they work with your skin tone. Next, white, black and grey, with soft colours such as blue, green and pink.

Remember, there are many shades to choose from within a colour so consider how these shades make you feel.

Tonal outfits have been making an appearance for a little while now, and this framework can be used for inspiration to build your own outfits. To me, tonal outfits are very New York, but they can just as easily be set against a British countryside backdrop, depending on how you style it.

Tonal outfits are simple without being boring, and can easily be elevated with make up, jewellery or other accessories.

3. Your day to day – attention to detail

Are you working from home full time, with or without children to take care of? Do you enjoy regular workouts? Do you have lots of meetings to attend? Or do you do a lot of DIY around the house or garden?

Additionally, are there certain day-to-day feelings that you experience, that become a part of your routine? Maybe you don’t like to feel restricted by your clothing when you are very busy, maybe you are naturally more on the warm, or colder side, or maybe you know that your menstrual cycle will almost certainly bring a few days of much needed rest and comfort.

If you keep in mind what your day-to-day activities are, you will be more tuned into the items of clothing that are more appropriate and versatile, meaning you will be buying pieces that you will get more wear out of. 

4. Accessories

Finally, when it comes to dressing according to how you feel, you might also want to pre-empt external factors that you may encounter as you go out into the day. This could be the weather, hot or cold, wet or dry, it could be the light, the noises, or the smells. As an introvert, you might be sensitive to your sensory experience, and accessories can act as tools to support yourself in the midst of a sensory overload, or something tactile to focus on if you want to take a moment of going inward. Think, hats, sunglasses, and lightweight scarves to wear as headscarves.

And P.S don’t ever underestimate the importance of headphones.

I had a super interesting conversation with Lara Williams for Bloomberg’s about the challenges of embracing sustainable practices while being highly invested in social media. 

“More sustainable fashion practices like slow fashion, or buying less, almost runs in opposition with everything that social media really is, which is quick, fast, shiny and new.” 

Do you think being constantly exposed to outfit inspiration makes it harder for you to buy less? Find the full piece here