FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK: DAY 6
This January, the UK went full force against plastic, and rightfully so. At a time when almost everything we purchase comes with some sort of plastic wrap, label or packing, it's about time we as consumers, and the government, cracked down on the unnecessary use of this highly destructive material. With the crackdown came the ample advertising and messaging of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" and it's this approach to clothing and fashion that I wanted to talk about today.
"It's now more important than ever when purchasing something to think, 'do I really need this?'"
REDUCE - We already have so many "things" — when was the last time you had a day when you didn't buy anything at all? Not a bottle of water, an item from the high-street on your lunch break or a snack on the way home? Everything in the 21st century is geared towards us spending money, shops are laid out so we can't resist picking up that extra item and, through browser cookies, our devices are constantly feeding us items they know we already want. We've gone consumer crazy and it's all starting implode. It's now, more important than ever when purchasing something to think, "do I really need this?". I love Livia Firth, Founder of Eco-Age's, "30 Wears" initiative. When clothes shopping, before you buy something, ask yourself, "will I wear this 30 times or more?". If not, put the item back on the rack. If you know you will, then amazing. 30 times doesn't sound like much when you consider the use and lifetime of wardrobe items from a few generations ago but it's much more than man, many items in our wardrobes today, except maybe our pants. Apply the '30 wears rule' and the 'do I love it and does it love me' rule to all your fashion choices whether it's high-street or online, sustainable or mass-produced, designer or thrifting. Commit to your choices, stand by them but do make the choice, don't let your spending habits rule you. When you have a piece you love, shout about it! Share it on social, again and again! — be proud that you are not constantly updating your wardrobe and instead loving and enjoying what you already have.
"I have a bag of clothing I'm working through at the moment with lots of DIY projects like this one — it's a fun rainy day activity!"
REUSE - Whenever I have a clear-out, I never throw any items away - i.e landfill - they're not helping anyone there - let alone mother earth. They either go to friends and family, to the charity shop or to the annual Women for Women car boot. I sell items I invested more heavily in through websites like Vestiaire Collective or Ebay. There's nothing that doesn't have a second life in it and nothing is truer than "one man's trash is another man's treasure." I should know - I have lots of such treasures! Read my post here on clearing the energy of previous users in a second-hand garment and making it energetically brand new for you. I tend to do clothes swaps with my friends - I ring them up and say I'm having a clear out, they're inspired to do their own much needed clear out and suddenly we're rummaging through each other bags and exclaiming 'What? I loved this on you? Can I have it? Are you sure?' And suddenly we've got new things to try with our old things and our wardrobe feels fresh and exciting again, all without spending a penny or having to hang out in a shopping centre and you're still spending time with your mates. Win, win, win without the ker-ching, ker-ching, ker-ching.
RECYCLE - Possibly my favourite one — and, it could be said, a combination of the two above. I'll never forget getting my hands on a vintage Vogue book which covered everything from step-by-step makeup transformations to outfit updates when I was as about 12. Oh how I wished that I had a long towelling dress just so I could cut it into a short 60's style mini dress as the example showed. If you haven't tried your hand at sewing before you might not want to get that adventurous with the scissors but my favourite home alterations have been simple, cutting out shoulder pads, turning a floaty dress into a floaty robe (way more practical on the beach) and a pair of old jeans became my favourite denim shorts for the summer - for the past 5 summers. Give an item a new lease of life by updating the buttons, add some embellishment to cover a stain or even better, learn to embroider something on it yourself! Buy some eco-friendly dye and turn an old, yellowed white 'T' into a bright red one, or blue one, or green one... the possibilities are endless and there's something incredibly grounding about little weekend projects like this, a bit like baking. It feels good for the soul.
So onto the fashion look I found for Day 6 of my challenge. The trousers are a nod to clever updates — vintage military trousers (which you can pick-up second-hand from surplus army stores) upcycled with orange piping. I have a bag of clothing I'm working through at the moment with lots of DIY projects like this one. It's a fun, rainy day activity and you know you'll have something left at the end that no one else will have. Add a bright jumper and some block heels and you have weekend casual that's oh so cool...
AUDREY LOUISE REYNOLDS
Audrey Louise Reynolds uses right and left-brained instincts to create her dyes. All-natural ingredients, foraged and sourced from daily life, travels, and unexpected encounters. Everything from minerals, seaweed, squid ink, coral, shells, plankton, flowers, earth, can find its way into her boiling pot. Using a science-based hypothesis (that leads to trial-and-error experimentation) that involves adding and extracting and cooking and recording and sweating, to make these dyes and perfect these techniques. Each piece is hand-made and unique.
MYAR is the Original Recovered Military Apparel. MYAR, anagram of ARMY, brings together different individuals from all walks of life under one common passion for vintage army gear, to the point that it becomes a dress code. MYAR reuses, revives and recreates original vintage pieces to create a modern view of the past.
German brand Closed has been committed to ethical fashion since 1978. They originally started with denim, but over time have extended to everything from knitwear to footwear. All components of the sandals I am wearing were handmade by traditional Italian companies. Many of the manufacturers Closed works with today have been with them, and remained the same, for decades. Every step of the product line is assessed from sourcing to testing for pollutants – to ensure every element is as sustainable as possible.
Founded in 2001, Beyond Skin is the first British, independent, luxury vegan footwear brand dedicated to designing cruelty-free, luxury shoes for fashionable yet ethically conscious women. Beyond Skin was created in response to the challenging predicament of combining both style and fashion with an ethically conscious lifestyle. All of the brand's collections are produced in Spain with fabrics and components sourced from both Spain and Italy.
As a sustainable business, Carla Colour make every effort to be socially and environmentally responsible. They only work and partner with suppliers who share their ethos and can verify that their factories adhere to the highest socially responsible standards. All the frames of their glasses are made from renewable sources.
Antibad is a curated shop and journal for earth- and human-friendly fashion across vintage and new labels. After working in luxury fashion Antibad's founder, Agatha Lintott decided to turn her eye for effortless chic to ethical brands. Antibad aims to bring style and substance together again and change the perception of sustainable fashion.