I Have Nothing To Wear - In A Wardrobe Full Of Clothes

clothes fashion fast fashion Sep 09, 2022
Emily Chadbourne Blog

If you’re anything like me you love clothes.

I always have.

I love colour and shape and sparkle and expressing who I am and how I feel through the clothes that I wear.

And hey, wasn’t I born into the right era!

The rise of high street fashion, affordable (hell, CHEAP) clothing and more recently online, late-night, haven’t-even-seen-or-felt-it, gonna-buy-it-anyway shopping. I’m not ashamed to admit that 2am Instagram ads got me good on more than one occasion, especially during lockdown.

But it is impossible to ignore the mounting evidence of what the fast fashion industry is doing to the planet and the horrendous conditions that our fellow humans endure to produce tonnes of cheap disposable clothing for us here in the west.

It’s not okay.

But we’re human right? The temptation is so strong. The clothes, oh so pretty.

And honestly it’s easy to compartmentalise, to be consumed with consumerism and to gently ignore what we know. In part, it’s how we survive this wild life.

Still the knowledge that I couldn’t unknow was beginning to ring in my ears every time I looked at an Insta stylist doing a reel from H&M (one of the worst Greenwashers out there) or trying on a haul from Shien (if you can buy a dress for $5 you’ve got to ask who is making it and how much are they being paid).

The glorification of fast fashion began to give me the ick.

Then I had a wardrobe clear out. I was ruthless. Clothes I didn’t like. Clothes that didn’t fit. Clothes that used to fit that just never will again and I’m okay with that. Clothes that still had tags on that I just couldn’t be bothered to return.

12 bin bags. I felt sick looking at them. Of course I donated them, but I had to ask myself, why did I have so much stuff?

I came back from a 7 week overseas trip a couple of weeks ago. I took 2 suitcases. I wore three outfits the whole time.

As I unpacked I found myself asking the same question.

Why did I think I needed so much stuff?

So I decided then and there to spend the rest of the year wearing the clothes I already have, borrowing clothes from friends if an occasion arises and sticking to pre-loved clothing if I really fancy spending money.

No more fast fashion.

It’s less about thinking that little old me can change the whole face of the fashion industry. I can’t. But there are things I can address.

  1. My addiction to consumerism. 

How obsessed I can get with having. I saw a coat on the gram last week and I wanted it immediately. I felt like the coat would solve my problems, take me away momentarily from the monotony of life. People would love me more in that coat. And of course I would look exactly like the model looked (because a coat has the ability to change my very skeletal structure and transform me into a Sienna Miller lookalike, surely). But of course a coat won’t solve all my problems. It won’t make me more popular. And I’ll always look like Emily Chadbourne. So maybe it would be good for my soul to step away from that level of consumerism and take my power back.

2. Where my integrity lies. 

Does engineered poverty need to be addressed? Yes. Is there an argument that without garment factories hundreds of thousands of people would be without work? Yes. But I can’t keep supporting brands that knowingly and willingly produce garments in factories that are unsafe and don’t adhere to fair conditions and pay. Just so I can have a cheap jumper that I’ll probably throw away? Nah mate.

3. What my style really is.

Without rolling trends and Insta micro trends, who am I? How do I dress? What’s my real style? What socially and environmentally conscious manufacturers and brands do I really align with, ethically and visually? I’m excited to find out.

4. Op shops/Charity shops/Thrift stores.

Vintage pieces that hold stories I’ll never know but somehow feel. Pre-loved items that I can give life to again. Investing in local tailors to mend worn clothing I’ve loved for years. Supporting small businesses that recycle material and make something new from something old. Contributing to the lives of artisans and Etsy stores and start ups. Yes. This.

I’ll let you know how I go.

Follow along on Insta https://www.instagram.com/emchadbourne/ for regular updates and check out the amazing Nina Gbor’s blogs for some great insight into sustainable and ethical fashion.


She’ll be on my podcast Behind The Change soon so keep an ear out for her interview.


As for this blog, what did you think? Comment below because a conversation is way more fun than a monologue, share with a mate and subscribe here to have more delivered straight to your inbox weekly.

Thanks very much for reading,

Em x



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