Just a couple of weeks ago it was Fashion Revolution Week, a week that marks the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster and encourages people to demand change within the fashion industry by asking brands #whomademyclothes. Throughout the week I posted on instagram my ethical outfits of the day (click here to see them). I also realised that week just how bad I am at being a ‘blogger’ on instagram as I forgot to take nice photos, I’d often remember to take a snap after I’d already changed into my pjs #epicfail.
Yesterday, following on from Fashion Revolution Week, I attended a great event organised by Wear Aware and Green Living Council at Petersham Town Hall. Alongside a very thought provoking panel discussion and a swap shop there was free coffee and cake. Always a winner.
The panel discussion educated the audience on the human and environmental issues within the fashion industry and provided ideas on what people can do to drive change. Lots of the ideas were focussed on being sustainable but on a budget so I thought I’d share some of these tips with you guys!
The future of fashion is the circular economy.
Fast-fashion thrives on people buying things and either never wearing them, or wearing them only a couple of times. If we keep our clothes in the loop for longer we help the environment out big time and also save some dosh!
How can we do this?
- This may sound stupid, but actually wear your clothes. Generally no-one cares if you’ve worn the same outfit lots and lots of times (so long as you don’t smell) and if someone does care, then they seriously need to get a life!
- Shop in charity shops. Not going to lie, it does take a little bit longer than just walking into Zara or H&M and seeing an already pre-selected outfit where everything’s colour co-ordinated and you know what the size is, but it can also be much more fun. Be brave and try something different. Ignore genders, try on men’s clothes (or vice versa lads), don’t look at sizes and accessorise. If you like it, feel comfortable in it and can see it working in your wardrobe, then go for it.
- At some point you naturally get bored of things in your wardrobe. This is when you should swap and share with friends and family. For instance yesterday I took two items of clothes to the swap shop that had shrunk in the wash and no longer fit me (thanks Asian hostels!!) and came home with two new items of clothes, completely for free!
- Some brands now offer mending services. For instance Nudie Jeans and Patagonia stores have employees that will fix your clothes. Buying from them in the first place generally will be more expensive, however you’ll get a longer life out of the garment by getting it fixed time and time again which in the long run will save you money.
- Use the Good on You app to see how your favourite brands are rated on their impact to ‘people’, ‘planet’ and ‘animals’ or search for new brands to buy from. You can set a low price range to filter out all the expensive brands.
- Avoid consumer pressures. Easier said than done. Social media, magazines, posters, tv all shove the latest ‘trends’ in our faces wanting us to buy buy buy. There is no easy way to combat this, you just have to learn to say no. Think of it like your attitude to food. You always have the option to say no to fast food or bad food. This same principle applies to clothes.
Fast-fashion – Inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.
What are the benefits?
- You spend less. Simple.
- Spending in charity shops isn’t just a fashion thing it’s providing options for those in need.
- Not just buying off the shelf clothes from a fast-fashion brand brings originality. You’ve had a chance to be more creative in your choices rather than conforming with what the mannequin in Topshop tells you you should look like.
- Soooooooooo many environmental benefits.
I certainly felt reinvigorated listening to the panel talk about these ideas yesterday. In fact, so reinvigorated that I spend today browsing charity shops in Newtown where I managed to get myself a new (secondhand) belt. Result.