Empowering Closets: One Lincoln stylist's goal to fight fast fashion, empower women

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The latest data from the EPA estimates the textile and fashion industry generated 16.9 million tons of clothing in 2017. The same year, 11.2 million tons were sent to landfills. It's pushing a lot of shoppers to shop more responsibly. For a lot of people, that means a focus on sustainable and ethical fashion.

Maddie Graham browses the racks at a thrift store in south Lincoln (Source: Madison Pitsch)

Lincoln stylist Maddie Graham said "It used to be that there were two, four seasons for fashion. Now there's 52. That means every single week of the year it says, out with that, in with this."

Graham owns The Frugal Fox LLC.
Graham said it doesn't have to feel like you're on a hamster wheel of fashion. Fast fashion, or those 52 seasons, is creating a lot of waste; nearly 22.4 billion pounds of textiles a year in the United States.

"The biggest and most obvious way I help people avoid fast fashion is by showing them what's in their closet," said Graham. "People oftentimes don't even know what is in their closet because there are so many things shoved in."

That's where Graham comes in. A Lincoln native, she used to work in retail, but now she helps people get the most out of their closet. She offers services from closet cleanouts to styling sessions.

"We identify your body type, how to best dress your body type," Graham said. "We edit your wardrobe of everything that doesn't fit that, we then make outfits with what we kept. So you're dressing for your body type, you're dressing well and you're feeling confident every day."

A study from Kansas State showed 60 to 85 percent of all recycled clothing items are bought and used again, diverting up to 10 million tons from the landfills.

"When that got brought to my attention, I thought hey, I can use what I know about thrifting and teach other people how to thrift," said Graham.

The clothes that she cleans out of people's closets are often donated to places like the Center for People in Need or the Friendship Home.