Getting Comfortable with Discomfort

    Ever get that anxious feeling inside your stomach, the top part just under your ribs that feels like you’re going to explode from the pressures within? The one that keeps your palms sweating endlessly even though it may be cold and the feeling of your heart beating in your ears, eyes, fingers and toes? I’ve felt this many times and it often comes moments before I’m about to jump out of my comfort zone. 

By nature, humans as we know are “creatures of comfort”. Most of us are attracted to life’s predictable moments that make us feel content and satisfied. Some evolutionary reasons being with comfort we are saving mental time and energy when going about our daily lives. [http://bigthink.com/think-tank/creatures-of-habit] Stepping out of that comfort zone, whether it be something as miniscule as changing your route to work or, on a grander scale, deciding to quit your job, can result in success or in discomfort and failure. And by nature the latter seems much less appealing.

While comfort can be, well, comforting, what follows may result in laziness and boredom. Think about how many routines you already follow in your daily lives. Personally, I wake up check Instagram, eat my oatmeal, go for a coffee, go to the gym, watch the same series every night with my same snack… Although it’s nice to be able to do these things, on a personal growth level what am I gaining by checking my Instagram feed over and over again simply because it has become a (bad) habit? What I’m currently striving for is foregoing the endless Instagram scroll, waking up with a meditation, stretching out my muscles and reading a few good articles before I jumpstart my day. The benefits of tuning into my mind and body at the start of my day will far outweigh the minor satisfaction I get from seeing what’s new on social media.    

On a grander scale, far bigger than breaking bad habits such as watching T.V before bed is the ability to get out of your comfort zones for personal growth. With respect to this topic, generally speaking there are two types of people and different ways in which they deal with the stresses of discomfort. Those who are resilient and open to change and those who are change resistant and stuck in their ways. [https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-main-reasons-that-people-stay-in-their-comfort-zones] Those who are resilient are striving for bigger better things and are on the path of constant self-realization. While I definitely fall somewhat in the middle, someone who seeks change but often holds back because of fear, I am aware that these bigger better things will never come from remaining comfortable. The goals that I have set and continue to set in life aren’t achievable by being lazy. 

With regards to starting my own company, a sustainable one at that, I knew that if I didn’t launch this past January of 2017, I would be waiting years in order to perfect myself and my vision (which is near impossible), and by that time those goals would be much harder to achieve. I chose to start a sustainable company without any prior studies in ethical or sustainable fashion, and found I was giving advice to my peers on something that I could barely understand one year prior. With trembling fingers and an Instagram picture ready to be shared, I declared my new venture to the world in order to hold myself 100% accountable. My friends, co-workers, and peers found out about my newfound obsession with sustainability in fashion and it was up to me, and my ability to step out of my comfort zone, to make that post a reality. 

In addition to the gratification of sharing my project with the world, I was also able to rediscover myself and instead became a leader not a follower. The power to learn new things and figure out how you handle difficult situations are not going to be learned inherently. [http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/6-reasons-why-your-comfort-zone-holding-you-back-life.html] Now, when I set out to accomplish bigger better things, with that same pit in my stomach, sweaty hands and accelerated heartbeat, I know the potential for achieving my goals is there. Whether I ‘get it’ the first time or not, I know it will be better than having not tried. It’s by no means as easy as sticking to what you know and you have to be okay with facing failure and rejection. Those who are truly resilient are able to let said negativities glide off with the rest of them and continue on their own path (not anyone else’s), to success.  

    

 

A Sustainable Sunday

Too much stuff!

That's how my friends and I felt about the amount of clothes we own. Our New York closets were always bursting at the seams and we felt it was time for a little spring cleaning.

We realized, especially having careers in fashion, that we easily get caught up in the amount of stuff we're made to think we have to have. At one point in time, New York closets were made for the few outfits you had, the type you would mend if anything needed repairing and would last you a lifetime. Buying clothing (or even buying the fabric to make your own clothes) was an investment that took a long time to save up for.  However, as we modernized, our perceptions of the amount of clothing we had to have drastically changed. Fast-fashion, when companies sell as much as they can for as cheap as they can, was introduced and the average amount of clothing people owned exploded. The small-sized closets that were once sufficient for many people to share are now the biggest draw back of finding an apartment in New York; is there ever enough closet space? 

When I read Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" I began to realize the importance of loving absolutely everything you owned. When I looked at my closet I didn't see things that brought me joy, instead I saw an overwhelming amount of clothes that were bought on a whim, clothes that were bought because they were on sale and clothes that were bought because they were in style. The few things I had that brought me absolute happiness were things that made me feel good when I wore them, something a $5 shirt with no story attached could provide. 

With Marie Kondo's book as my new inspiration, I began going through my closet with the changing of each season and re-assessing what I had and what could get more love from another home. This year, instead of a solo spring clean I decided to pitch to my friends a sustainable Sunday where we could go through each of our closets and choose things we wanted to swap and things that would be put in a pile for donations. We decided to start at my place with coffees. What followed was thought-provoking conversations of sustainability in fashion, a good amount of laughs and a huge pile of clothes we no longer loved (or unfortunately never really loved) that we hoped would find more use in another home. 

I realized a lot of the things that were getting swapped out of my closet were bright colors that didn't match much else and had only been worn once at most, some things still had tags on them. Having that extra set of eyes helped when deciding if something would stay or go; if there was any hesitation and I had to ask Dani and Zoe if I should let something go, it had to go. What was left was a closet that could breath, things that provided me with absolute joy and most of which all matched. Success!

After my place we visited Dani's apartment in Bushwick. Another fun part of this afternoon was that we got to walk through neighborhoods we didn't usually frequent. Dani had some amazing staples, some fun things that she loved and continued to bring her joy and after trying on some pieces she was unsure of we added to the pile of donations. Zoe got a nice new crop top she felt she could give a bit more love to and we continued on to her place after.

After our walk to Zoe's apartment in Williamsburg, and some much needed refreshers, we sifted through Zoe's closet and added to our growing pile. What amazed us was how much stuff we had and how little use a lot of these items got. 

A key takeaway we all learned was the importance of differentiating between needs and wants. We so often get caught up with idea that because something is on sale we must buy it or that because something is in style we have to have it, whether we really love it or not (guilty!).  There is incredible power in removing yourself  from the instant gratification of a shopping experience and thinking about the thing you are about to purchase as something you will actually love and wear for many years  or another item you'll be bagging up for donations the following season. 

If you find yourself overwhelmed with a daunting closet and the urge is always present to buy more, try and avoid mindless shopping altogether. If you need something, do some research into sustainable companies that are transparent with their practices and how they make and sell their clothing. Invest in items you truly love and need and they will be worth the extra money, especially given how long these items will last compared to any fast-fashion version. Second-hand shopping is also an amazing option to find hidden gems that add a bit of pizzaz to your closet of stylish basics. These items definitely have a story to tell and it's fun thinking about the life they've lived. 

For a curated selection  of stylish staples made sustainably, check out our SHOP section.  You can trust that we've done the research. The looks we recommend are wardrobe staples that will have a long life and have come from a company whose values align with those of ours at ODMODC.

I hope someone else can find love and joy in the bag of items the three of us put together. The three of us are now much more cognizant of the amount of waste we were aimlessly collecting and are going to be much more thoughtful about our investments with our clothing in the future. 

 

A successful sustainable Sunday with the ladies!

Here are a few of the easiest ways to donate clothes in NYC:

  • Beacons Closet
    • They pay 35% cash or 55% store credit of the price tags that they apply to your items
    • All items not selected for resale can be donated to charity as a service to our customers
    • The items that are collected are sold as not-profit items and the money is donated to a host of selected charities found here
  • Reformation
    • When you buy something from Reformation online, they’ll include a free RefRecycling shipping label in your box. You can put that label on the box your stuff came in (or any other box), fill it up with whatever you want to recycle, have the box picked up at your door, and theyll 'do the rest.
    • You can even track where your clothes ended up!
  • Greenmarket Clothing Collection
    • Textiles are collected by Wearable Collections and taken to a sorting facility where they are sorted into different grades, with an effort to recover as much usable clothing as possible for distribution to second-hand markets.  Material that is not suitable for reuse will go to recycling markets to be used as wiping rags or shredded for low grade fiber products such as insulation.
    • Check out grownyc.org for a list of all the places you can drop off your clothing in NYC
  • Salvation Army
    • At Salvation Army you can donate furniture, automobiles, household goods and appliances in addition to clothing
    • Everything you donate will be sold at their Family Stores and the proceeds are used to fund Adult Rehabilitation Centers.
    • Salvation Army accepts drop-off donations or will even pick your stuff up for free!