Julia Mooney, a primary school teacher from New Jersey, has taken it upon herself to set an example to her students by teaching them about sustainable fashion. However, she didn’t just prepare a PowerPoint presentation to impart her message, she chose to do something far more effective that would really make an impact.
This 34-year-old schoolteacher made the decision to wear the same grey, button-down dress for 100 days to encourage her students to recycle what’s in their wardrobe, rather than buying more and more clothes on a regular basis. She maintains that investing in clothes that will last, and that are versatile in terms of the weather, is a great way to reduce your own individual carbon footprint.
What exactly did Julia Mooney do?
Mooney started in September 2018, wearing the same grey dress every day at William Allen Middle School in New Jersey. Each day she surprised her pupils by coming in wearing the same dress, sometimes with a customised element such as an apron or scarf. She even started getting creative by the end of the 100 day period and embroidered flowers onto the dress.
Julia’s primary school age students were already feeling pressured to be seen in the latest ‘on trend’ items and she wanted to show them what the effect of buying into these fleeting trends has on the environment. The culture of excess is both dangerous and unsustainable environmentally.
Did she wash?
Of course she did, in fact her laundry basket has never been so empty. Her caption on Instagram reads, "Laundry on the weekends is so easy"
Did you know? Our planet is truly paying the price of fast fashion; out of 100 billion garments produced every year worldwide, under 1% are recycled. Buying less clothes in general will make you more aware of your purchases and may encourage you to buy more vintage or second-hand pieces. For example, if buying for an occasion, think long-lasting rather than impulse buying an item to only wear once or twice. You can even consider clothes rental, a new trend sweeping the fashion industry of late.
In an interview with American sustainability site Treehugger, Julia talked about the effect her 100 day challenge had on her pupils:
“This is something they deal with every day as 12- and 13-year olds. As they try to define themselves, they are often identifying with brands or superficial things like their social media presence. Many seemed excited to have a reason to talk about how silly all of that really is.”
Why not try it yourself and take the 100 day challenge?
Words: Maeve Campbell