Track 3.4. Sustainable Fashion Lifetimes and… Mindfulness
Dr Cosette Joyner Martinez, Sustainable Fashion Consumption Network, Oklahoma State University and University of Geneva
Consumers are acquiring more clothing, using it less, and disposing of it faster without a conscious recognition of the environmental and social costs because their relationship with clothing has become devoid of meaning, purpose, and connection. In the years leading up to the pandemic, mindfulness had entered the popular vernacular, as individuals sought to reduce their stress, find meaning, or reduce attachment to material possessions. Mindfulness, a spiritual practice used to heighten awareness in the present moment, has been more frequently referenced by journalists, scholars, and industry leaders, especially during pandemic. Popular media like the documentary Less is Now or Marie Kondo’s series Tidying Up illustrate how excess consumption and clutter negatively affect well-being, and these programs have introduced mindfulness as an antidote. Scholars have begun conceptualising “mindful consumption”, an approach that could be used to simplify desires, decrease unconscious choices, and clarify one’s values. Many fashion leaders, such as Eileen Fisher and Mara Hoffman, have even referenced mindfulness as a central concept to becoming more responsive to human well-being in the fashion economy’s post-pandemic reconstruction. While it is well established that mindfulness practice can reshape cognitive habits, far less is known about its impacts on consumption decisions, and this scholarly exploration has only begun in the fashion arena. This session will explore consumer engagement with mindfulness as it relates to sustainable fashion consumption and particularly extending the lifetimes of clothing. Presentations will aim to define mindful clothing consumption, mindful consumer practices as well as other spiritual notions relevant to consumption within larger necessity for sufficiency and degrowth.