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This Teacher Wore Same Dress For 100 Days To Teach Students An Important Lesson

I went to a Catholic high school, which meant that all of the kids wore uniforms. For a lot of kids, that prospect might sound like a nightmare. What's the point of buying all of this trendy Supreme gear when you're forced to wear the same drab outfits every day?

For one thing, there were multiple options for what you could get from the store that sold our uniforms, but even if there weren't, it honestly didn't take that long to get used to them.

I could tell you about the benefits of my school's uniform policy, but all of them and more can actually be found in the story of one teacher who gave herself a kind of uniform.

Back in September, 34-year-old art teacher Julia Mooney found an interesting way to start the school year.

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For every day she taught in the first 100 days of the school term, she pledged to wear only one outfit. And she had quite a few reasons for undertaking this project.

However, these different reasons involved different aspects of the same thing, namely what she described as a "culture of excess."

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And as she told USA Today, one of the major trends fueling that culture of excess is the rise of fast fashion, which is characterized by cheap and cheaply made clothing that often invokes trends as disposable as the clothes themselves.

And so, she decided to not only wear one dress for those 100 days, but to select that dress carefully.

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She ended up going with one from Thought Clothing, a London-based company that uses recycled fabrics made from natural components like wool, hemp, and a fabric made from wood pulp called Tencel.

Since their clothes are both sustainable and built-to-last, they've taken to calling themselves "slow fashion."

Mooney's dress cost her around $50, but that price felt a lot lower the more she wore it.

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Her 100-day challenge basically meant that she spent 50 cents per day on it and that fact is the secret to why sustainable clothes cost less in the long run.

As she told USA Today, "Because we have to wear something different every day, (we think) it can’t be expensive..."

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"So we buy more cheap clothing that isn’t really high-quality and that uses a lot of natural resources to produce," she [said](( "And then we throw it out."

And that unnecessary rule of wearing something different every day that we tend to put on ourselves was part of why she wanted to discuss this project with her students.

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She held off on talking about it until a few weeks into the year, by which point some had noticed she was wearing the same outfit by the second day and some hadn't noticed anything.

As she said, "Middle schoolers are trying to define themselves, to figure out their identity.”

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"And just naturally – partly because of their age but also because of the culture – they are defining themselves and judging each other based on the brands that they are wearing."

Some might have expected her students to roll their eyes, but they were generally fairly interested in what she was doing and why she was doing it.

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After all, they might have some vested interest in the fact that, according to clothing designer Eileen Fisher, the fashion industry is only second to the oil industry when it comes to pollution.

She said the most frequent question she received was whether she washed it, which she certainly did.

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She also said that part of how she kept it clean for those 100 days in class was to wear an apron to protect it from any art-related stains and by not wearing it on weekends.

This partially has to do with the bleaches, solvents, acids, alkalies, dyes, and resins that textile makers contaminate the water with, but also with how many clothes quickly end up in the landfill.

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And in case anyone was wondering, Mooney did make it to the 100th day in this dress.

But even though she doesn't spend every day in the same dress anymore, her experiences have influenced her to rethink her clothing.

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She's learned to knit and bought a sewing machine and is now in the process of learning how to make her own clothes.

She also makes sure to get her kids used clothes to keep them from being wasted.

As she said, "It’s cheaper, but even if it wasn't cheaper, I don’t care, because I feel good that I’m reusing something that’s perfectly good. And (the kids) don’t care. They think they’re perfectly new."

h/t: USA Today

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