Quality over quantity is a tale as old as time. Our mothers, grandmothers and boogie best friends alike, all preach allegiance to the “less is more” adage, but how does that work, and what does that mean, in a country as economically divided as South Africa?
I have items of clothing passed down to me by my mother from when she was my age, preserved well in a time where things were better made, but access was harder.
When it comes to clothing, the cheapest available options are often of equal quality, but require replacing more often than their higher-priced counterparts.
If we consider the demographic of consumers who would, by necessity, be buying those garments, we can draw a straight line from buying cheaper to buying more. How do we reconcile the economic reality of the place we live with the monstrosity that is the fast fashion industry?
Every month I make a conscious decision to buy more local brands. Though they cost far more than their fast-fashion cousins, I find they are more often than not of a higher quality construction, more likely to be ethically produced and come in much more unique styles than the widely available generic Instagram staple wardrobe.
Buying fewer, higher quality, locally made garments in neutral colours makes for a versatile and kind of ‘colour by numbers’ closet
On my inconsistent freelance salary, I find shopping in this way – the less is more – suits not only my budget, my personal style, but also assuage the guilt of participating in a highly exploitative capitalist system.
Being a minimalist means that I can get away with buying fewer, higher quality, locally made garments in neutral colours, that make for a versatile and kind of “colour by numbers” closet.
Investing in pricier staples and keeping your personal style simple leaves room for a little more fun and a splurge here and there when it comes to pieces that are guaranteed to last longer, and help diversify your wardrobe; shoes and bags are a great way to add a little flair to any look, budget or not.
So I guess they were right, our mothers, grandmothers, and boogie best friends alike.