The Journal

You Are What You Wear

By Chloe Popove of My Modern Closet

I'm not your average activist. My name is Chloe Popove and I run an online consignment store called My Modern Closet. I am on a mission to disrupt the fast fashion industry and shine a light on some of its darker means of creation and distribution. 

Unless you’re a nudist (you do you) then you most likely wear clothes everyday. We wake up, get dressed, and head out the door. Yet, rarely do we stop to think, where did all of this stuff in my closet actually come from? 

Just like the food we eat, the clothes we wear have an origin that’s worth exploring. Unfortunately, the trend is to produce cheaply and distribute quickly to mass markets. Often that means factories where women and men are overworked, underpaid, and unsafe are pumping out huge quantities of clothing. 

There’s a reason our shirts are $3. Between materials, hardware, transportation, and a business’s need to make money, the very hands that sew the fabric are at the bottom of the food chain. They will not make a living wage today or tomorrow, yet they will make those same shirts – or some derivative of it - year after year. Trends change, but some things stay the same. 

The environment is also taking a huge hit in the business of fast fashion. The clothing industry is the second most polluting industry in the world next to oil. Think about that for a second. When we hear about pollution and think about global warming, we envision coal power plants, raw sewage and sludge in rivers, and billowing clouds of smoke. We don’t often think of the shirts on our backs being just as dirty. 

Producing one pair of denim jeans uses over 900 gallons of water, which equates to over 400 billion gallons of water every year just to make the jeans sold in the US (

While we get to rotate our wardrobe, post a new #OOTD photo, and boast about a deal, millions of people around the world lack access to safe drinking water. Plus, globalization means that our shirts likely traveled across oceans in a container ship fuelled by fossil fuels. 

The fashion industry is a complicated supply chain, but the simple fact is that brands are banking on our demand for new, new, new to overshadow their detrimental impact on the environment.  

I created My Modern Closet to help women make sustainable fashion choices without compromising their style. It’s no longer just a matter of curbing consumption; it’s a matter of protecting the environment and standing up for the rights of men and women to earn a living wage. 

I want people to know that living sustainably and caring about the earth doesn’t mean wearing hemp clothes and eating nothing but kale. Sustainability is edgy. It’s cool. And it’s going to change the world. 


photography by @britgill