Four (achievable) ways to do slow fashion
1. Buy with the intention of it lasting in your wardrobe. I think this is just about the attitude you have whilst shopping. I can think of so many times when I’ve bought knowing that I was going to lose weight and these jeans would be in the bin in a couple of months, or the material just wasn’t built to last more than this summer, or the trend would soon disappear off the street, and with it my purchase. Instead of all that, visualise if you can see yourself wearing it in the future, and I don’t just mean next season, but in ten years time- if your imagination can go that far.
2. Find ethical brands. This is an option, so I wanted to put it in there, but also with the comment that if the £100+ price tag on each item makes your eyes balls fall out, this is not the only way to go about slow fashion!
The cheaper we buy clothes, the faster we’ll throw them out has a flip side too, and this is where these brands manage to support their workers at the same time as the environment.
A purchase from these brands tend to be investment pieces, which can be well worth it, as they are practically always great quality and will stand the test of time, but equally it can be hard to base your entire wardrobe on them. I won’t say much more because I’ll link a few ethical brands I’ve found in another post. But again, there’s no need for a price tag to put you off, when there are so many other ways to begin a journey of more ethical shopping whilst keeping your bank account happy.
3. Second hand. I know so many people who would never go near a charity shop, (equally, I know many who count it as a hobby), but second hand I such a brilliant way to keep clothes in the circle, and not have to rely on more production. It’s also a great way to force yourself to think more creatively. It’s not a secret that you can often come across odd garments in charity shops, or garments with character. But this is far from always a bad thing! It’s such a great way to open up to new ideas.
If you’re living in a country without charity shops, there’s almost always another alternative. My friend in Indonesia I mentioned, talks to me about the treasures she’s picked up in ‘Flea markets’, and that sounds just as fun.
I think the term ‘ethical fashion’ is being linked more and more these days to luxury, or at least expense, and the side of second hand can be forgotten with the scare of enormous price tags.
Another way to access second hand is through sites like Depop and Ebay. Whilst I’ve known a few charity shop snobs in my time, Depop is becoming a very fashionable way for teens to buy and sell second hand- typically attracted by the better price, but being ethical whether consciously or not.
When exam season was coming around and intense revision was in full swing, Depop was practically my saviour for motivation of getting through. Every forty five minutes I’d have a break and return to scouring the site for clothes I loved. I spent far too much that month, but what can I say? It got me through.
4. The final way I wanted to give, is making your own. That’s not for everyone of course, but I wanted to put this in there because dressmaking is taking up a lot of my time recently, and so this option feels close to heart. Home sewers do still throw away tonnes of fabric from the off-cuts, but in the sense of slow fashion there’s not much that could be slower, so I still wanted to mention it.
Chances are if you’ve made something you’ll hang on to it till it falls apart, and when it does, you might even get the machine out to mend it. I have pieces in my room that my grandma made for my mum. They’re definitely dressing up pieces now- appropriate for a beautiful setting but not quite the modern everyday- but the point is, garments made at home do get passed down generations, which is pretty sustainable if you ask me.
I do believe that by changing the way we view clothes, and not treating them as so incredibly disposable, we can begin in turn to slow down the cycle of mass production and throwing away of clothes that has become so normal to our society.
I also know that for each person that thinks differently, an enormous impact is made, because potentially each of us could consume tonnes of clothing throughout their lifetime. And that’s something I find definitely encouraging.
Lots of love as ever,