Cladwell builds apps that help you create a more considered wardrobe – from suggesting new outfit combinations, to recommending sustainable brands.
We caught up with its CEO Blake Smith to find out more about how they’re trying to break the fast fashion model.
What does Cladwell do?
Cladwell seeks to counteract the message of the fashion industry. It solves the problem of “I have way too much clothing and nothing to wear”.
We style you every day from the clothes in your closet based on the weather, your style, and even what you wore earlier this week. Our goal is to help people create simpler, interchangeable wardrobes.
Where did your inspiration come from?
A major inspiration for us was our friend Elizabeth Cline, who wrote Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Fast Fashion. It was her NPR segment that first drove us to start researching where our clothes come from.
How do you choose the brands you feature on Cladwell?
We like to recommend brands that are transparent and sustainable. We don’t make money from featuring brands, so it truly is based on what brands we think look and do good.
Other than downloading Cladwell, what advice would you give to someone looking to create a more sustainable wardrobe?
Pause Before You Buy. This is one simple step that could really make a difference. And it doesn’t involve spending more money.
In fact, it will even save money and the stress of clutter in our closets and homes. If our entire society chose to stop before every purchase and ask, “Do I really need this? Do I love it?” we would buy less. As a result, the fast fashion industry would have to alter its business model.
Fast fashion succeeds on its ability to get us excited to buy things we don’t actually love. Just wait. Only buy what you really need or love.
What do you think are the biggest barriers to shifting away from the fast fashion model?
As humans, we love novelty. Anything new gives us a dopamine rush in our brains.
The only way around this is to find novelty by exploring new styles with what we have, rather than through buying stuff every time we’re bored.
What’s your top tip for sticking to the capsule wardrobe philosophy?
On your deathbed, your clothes will not be what made your life meaningful. It will be the people that you loved, the impact you had, and the times you experienced awe.
If you believe that at a 10 out of 10, clothes become a second-tier need, which will give you more self-control. When we believe that clothes are going to bring us lasting happiness or fill our need for relationships – it creates an opening for consumerism.
What is a personal luxury you couldn’t live without?
My glasses. I think about this a lot – in previous millennia I would be unable to contribute to society due to my poor eyesight.
I mean, technically I could live without them, but it would make connecting with others and performing work incredibly difficult. What a gift.