We have been chatting to lots of people while creating Comhla. Something we often talk about is an overwhelming feeling that there is just so much ‘stuff’ in our lives. Maybe its clutter at home, or maybe its seeing overflowing sales rales in the shopping mall. But it is definitely creeping into people’s psyches that there is too much out there.
The fact is we are producing and buying more clothes than ever - and we already have an enormous amount still out there. The stats can be as overwhelming as the feelings we are experiencing - estimates in the UK tell us that per week we are buying around 40 million items, around £30bn worth of clothes hang in our wardrobes unused and around 13 million items are going to landfill.
We’ve dramatically increased the amount of clothes we make since about the 70s. Globalised, cheaper and faster supply chains have eventually brought us to where we are today, along with the rise of e-commerce and digital marketing making buying very easy for us.
The impact of those volumes and systems of manufacturing are, of course, really starting to kick in - ie negative impacts on the planet and on the people in the supply chain: Fossil fuel based energy, pollution to air, land and water, heavy water usage - and then poor working conditions, very low pay rates, unsafe environments. Alongside that is an insidious impact on customers too, as individuals - being told that the latest product is the answer to solve all our human insecurities takes its toll on our self worth as well as our finances.
As we move through the 2020s, we have a challenge ahead of us - globally we need to halve the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we send into the atmosphere to stem the impacts of climate change. Its a logistical, cultural and diplomatic mine field of a challenge. But we do have solutions to hand - now we need to reach out and grab them. And the good news is that there are millions of people who are working on that right now.
We all have role to play. That’s why we created Comhla - to make it more straight forward to find the solutions that are right for your life when you get dressed - well, its something we all have to do! You might need a new garment - Buy it Well. You might have one that just needs a little TLC - Mend it. You might want to pass on what you have or buy something new-to-you that isn’t brand new - have a look at Extend.
We can step back from Peak Stuff. Those conversations we mentioned earlier? They usually end up with us talking about how stressful it is having too much stuff in our lives. We can do without that sort of stress can’t we.