Americans spend an average of about $2,000 each year on clothes. It’s safe to say that perhaps not all of them look as great (or feel as needed) as they did in the store. One response has been a surge in minimalist lifestyle fads (like The Great American Apparel Diet) and eco-concious fashions.
While many are tepid efforts to remake standard products into something slightly more sustainable, a few try harder by consuming less. One of those is the Ultra 10 line by the Malaysian label "We are Ultra." It consists of just 10 pieces of clothing, which, they argue, should be all you need.
Started in 2009 as a blog about "sustainability, design and innovation," Ultra grew into something of a sustainability collective after frustration mounted that, despite their entreaties, no one was listening and nothing was being done. "The more we blogged, the more we learned, and the more frustrated we got," writes the group on their website. "We loved what we were discovering, but why was it all so far away?"
Ultra 10 is an answer to the question of "What do I need to wear?" For a cosmopolitan girl, it’s not much. The 10-piece women’s wardrobe, originally backed by Kickstarter, offers enough outfits through mixing and matching to last a whole year. "We created it as a conscientious response to the overconsumption that is too often associated with fashion," they write.
So far, the industry’s critics have embraced its appeal, winning the 2011 Ethical Fashion Forum Innovation Award. The 10-piece wardrobe’s "modular and multifunctional pieces" include a 4-in-1 coat/dress/jacket/skirt and a 2-in-1 jacket/vest. Their clever arrangement of zippers, cuts, and accessories gets you from the banquet to the bar in a single outfit—most of which is sustainably sourced or recycled fabrics.