My Fashion Journey
I haven’t bought any new clothes since March 2020. Until today (keep reading to find out what I got). That’s just over 3 months with no fashion purchases whatsoever. For some people, that’s probably nothing to shout about. However, for me, it’s amazing! I won’t lie, lockdown has certainly had a part to play in it. Not only has it meant I haven’t been to the office or out to any social events, so I haven’t felt the need for new clothes, it’s also meant more time to educate myself on the problems within the fast fashion industry. Previous to lockdown I would say I was buying new clothes at least once a month, if not every couple of weeks.
Most of these purchases came from ASOS, H&M and Topshop. I bought the odd vintage piece and occasional charity shop find, but I’d say 70% of my wardrobe is probably made up of ASOS brands. Why ASOS? It’s mainly down to convenience and their speedy shipping. As soon as a last minute event or night out was coming up I’d order a new outfit in a flash.
And why did I feel the need to buy new outfits constantly? Because I didn’t want people at work to think I was wearing the same thing all the time or to be photographed on Instagram in the same top or dress that I’d worn the previous week. Silly really. During lockdown, I’ve had the time to think more about this and have come to the conclusion that I really don’t care anymore. If I’ve got a dress I feel amazing in and want to wear it to three consecutive events – why not!?
Photo credit: Unsplash.
On a positive note, I have always been good at looking after my clothes, so I do have items in my wardrobe that I still wear regularly that have been kicking around for at least five years or more. And when I’ve no longer wanted certain pieces, I’ve always donated them to charity or given them to friends. I’ve certainly never been a wasteful, landfill filling, clothing kinda’ girl. Although I’ve always considered where my clothing was going after I didn’t want it anymore, I didn’t ever think enough about where my clothes were coming from in the first place…
Did you know that sweatshop workers are paid as little as 3 cents per hour, working up to 100 hours per week in conditions of poor air quality and extreme heat? And that 250 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are forced to work in sweatshops in developing countries? Disturbing stuff.
I feel pretty ignorant for not doing more research into this years ago, but price and convenience always prevailed over ethics and sustainability for me, which is terrible, but unfortunately the story for many across the world. I’ve since come to realise that sustainable shopping isn’t always expensive though! Charity shops and vintage stores often have affordable items that suit anyone’s budget, and if you have friends that are up for it, clothes swapping can be a viable alternative too.
I love fashion, I always will. It makes me feel good and I like expressing my personal style through it. Personally, although I want to keep reducing the amount I buy, I can’t imagine ever having a capsule or minimal wardrobe, as I love variety. However, going forward I am endeavouring to only buy from charity shops, vintage stores and ethical fashion brands. I will also fix and upcycle my clothes more often. I have a sewing machine and have started putting it to better use recently by altering some items I wasn’t keen on anymore. Today I also bought my first piece of clothing in over 3 months. It was a vintage piece from Cow Vintage in Manchester, pictured below. Not only is shopping second-hand the more sustainable option, it’s also great knowing that it’s not a mass-produced item that you’ll see half of Manchester wearing (anyone remember the polka dot dress from Zara last year?).
Vintage Shirt From Cow Vintage
I’ve also recently used Thrift+ for the first time, which was amazing. You basically send off for a free bag, fill it up and donate your unwanted, quality clothes and shoes to them. They then sell your items and donate 33% to a charity of your choice (I chose Crohn’s & Colitis) . The other 66% percent goes back into the Thrift+ business and towards your own shopping credits that you can spend on site and buy donated items from other Thrifters. Check it out here.
My Thrift Bag
If you’re looking to switch to more sustainable fashion brands, take a look at some of my go-to resources and favourite brands below:
The True Cost: This documentary looks at the impact the clothing industry is having on the world. It looks at the full cycle of producing clothing, from the raw materials to the production of clothing in clothing factories across the world. It’s a real eye opener into the dark behind-the-scenes world of the fast fashion industry.
Sustainable Fashion: A Beginners Guide: Sustainable fashion consultant Emma Slade Edmonson and lifestyle Youtuber Hannah chat about how to shop more sustainably.
Shop with these:
Disclaimer: I haven’t bought from all of these brands, but I like their ethics and style and if I haven’t bought from them previously, I will order from them in the future when I need some new clothes.
Rest of the UK:
Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear about your thoughts on sustainable fashion.