START YOUR ETHICAL FASHION JOURNEY, NOW!

I could sit here and worry and feel overwhelmed that we’re all going to hell in a hand cart OR I could exert some rationale. I’m not going to discuss my thoughts on Extinction Rebellion right now but unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that there’s a revolution rising.

As a fashun person (former Fashion Editor, blah) it’s bloody hard to talk about being eco friendly and sustainable and fashionable, all in the same sentence. 

The fashion industry’s entire business model is based on seasons, trends and newness. 

And with that, it produces 92 million tonnes of waste.

As a fashun professional and someone who personally loves to shop, loves looking at new trends and being creative; not in a shallow, vacuous sense but as a means of creating an identity, a visual message, I struggle with the climate we live in today (pun not intended!)

So, I thought it’d be useful to show you ways that I am trying to make the two seemingly disparate entities, (eco friendly + fashion) more compatible.

Hardcore eco-warriors may say this is not enough and that I am merely skirting around the periphery of sustainability.

But I am not in government, folks!

The bigger picture, of course is for legislation to take the lead and to start setting out laws that directly affect the corporations who are the worst offenders, making it impossible for them to outsource unless everyone is transparent and complicit with all the ethical standards when it comes to labour, the environment and animal cruelty.

Don’t get me wrong, as consumers, I believe we can collectively make a difference. Unfortunately, our efforts alone, will probably not be good enough *deep sigh

However, that won’t stop me from striving to do my bit because a) it’s better than doing fuck all and b) there is no Planet B, innit?

5 WAYS TO START: ETHICAL FASHION 

1. SLOW DOWN

The most simple and effective thing we can all do is to slow down. I used to shop like I was in 6th gear. If I saw it, I’d buy it. A pair of tassle earrings here, some cheap shoes there. Ooh a coat! Such a bargain, blah, blah-de-blah.

While I’m not under the impression everyone shops like this, I did!

So the most effective way for me to make a difference was drop from sixth gear into first.

Nowadays, you’ll see me procrastinating over a top in Hennes, asking all the questions before I decide to purchase. More often than not, it’ll stay in the shop. And, so far, I’ve never regretted walking away. 

2. SHOP SECOND HAND

Before you buy from the high street, throw it into ebay, into Depop, Vinted, Vestiaire, Rebelle, Hardly Ever Worn It and the many other pre-loved sites. Whether you’re looking for luxury or less, use it as your starting point. ps: if you know of any good second hand sites, apps or places to rummage, please do comment below. I recently  discovered Think Vintage (below) which is based in North Cheam, Surrey.

3. ORGANISE YOUR WARDROBE INTO SEASONS

I am one of those people who packs away their seasonal stuff in those vac bags and stores them until it’s time to switch seasons over. It’s a really handy way of clearing out the items that you won’t be wearing and then when summer (or winter) arrives, you feel like you’ve shopped a brand new wardrobe, as you’ve *forgotten about items you may already own.

*No one’s daft, we knew we had them really but you knowwhatImean, gah!

Laters summer 2019, see you in May 2020!
4. LOVED ITEMS LAST

Without sounding like a dinosaur, we need to go back to times when we created an emotional attachment to the items we owned. Ours is now (sadly) a disposable culture that has made this so hard for us to to put into practise but I stand by the fact that, if you love something, buy it – but make sure it is something that you will re-wear time and time again; you’ll be happy to get it repaired and it brings you pure joy!

Check out this £11 dress I bought in the M&S sale a few years back. Wearing it back-to-front gave it a totally new lease of life! Buying better doesn’t mean expensive eco-ranges, it just means making better choices.

I was well bloody impressed that this dress was just as wow when worn back-to-front! #WhoKnew!
5. BE MORE CONSIDERED

Don’t buy on a whim; to make you feel better or to soften the blow from a bad day at work (unless you’re buying second-hand of course!) Avoid buying new for special occasions, wearing an item once IMHO just cannot be justified in todays current climate. By simply asking yourself, “Do I REALLY need this?” can make all the difference. By making better choices, we naturally will begin to slow down and shift this ‘need’ for fast fashion and newness. 

I don’t have THE answers.

I am not an expert.

But I am trying to inform myself with the facts.

I’m a former fashion editor on a journey, doing my best and hoping that the industry I love, starts making big changes for the better.

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear from you on this subject, so please do comment below. Are you feeling eco-anxiety? Do you agree with the protest? Or do you think it’s unnecessary disruption to regular folk…? 

**Opening image is by @jo_lorenz on Instagram

FT xx

6 Comments

  • b) there’s no planet b, innit?
    Made me laugh out loud FT! I bloody love how you write Woman.
    So here’s the thing… if everyone dialed it down as you so eloquently suggest, I think we’ll be OK. I believe we, as consumers, have far more power to dictate how this thing goes than we realize. We actually can make a huge difference doing this small thing, IF (and that’s the rub) If WE ALL DO IT.
    That said I do believe that the big brains say, historically it only actually takes 3% of the population protesting to affect change. Let’s crack on then!

  • Totally agree. I think if you have your own style that sits outside of just fashion trends then you buy things that last for years and never go ‘out’ of fashion.

  • With your background and knowledge of the industry, you are the voice that we all need. I don’t see why we all still can’t still get a buzz from shopping but in a different way to what we all grew up with and got so used to (and loved). I now get greater pleasure in buying brands on eBay or finding a killer top in a charity shop in keeping with new trends. Keeping less shite in my wardrobe and having a handful of these items to choose from, is true peace of mind. Wonderful written hon X x

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