On Sustainability and Fashion

On Fashion Sustainability: Some thoughts and ideas - www.theblushfulhippocrene.blogspot.co.uk

Hey guys! Today I wanted to share with you some thoughts I've been having on fashion and sustainability. It's something I always try to educate myself on, and so I hope that one day I might feel proud about my shopping habits. However, it seems that these days, it's very hard to be ethical, surrounded as we are by a constant influx of new products and new "it-pieces" and it's the easiest thing to fall down that sweet slippery slope. But for me, it's all about balance. Once we discard the idea that we need to be perfect, even in our garment choices, then we can realistically see, what we can do, and how we can contribute to making the fashion industry and fashion consumerism a bit more ethical.

I don't think anyone would disagree if I said that fashion is for everyone(every taste, every budget, every occasion) and that because we live in the age of images (and videos), we can be inspired by so many things, and styles and aesthetics. However, that oversaturation could prove dangerous. We love consuming, don't we? And nowadays it's so easy to do that. We may find the cheapest knit -albeit 100% acrylic- and buy it in a tick. Similarly, in the virtual world, it's just as easy to add things to our bag and click the checkout. I have absolutely no issue with that, but I'd rather see people be conscious of their purchases and the ramifications they might have. It's hard to follow everything that's going on regarding fashion sustainability and ethical brands. For that, I love following the Make it Last blog, where you can find a list of sustainable brands and many interesting articles about what you can do to help on this front as much as you can.

I'll be the first one to admit I'm not there yet. Being only a recent graduate, I'm still experimenting with clothes, and so I haven't built that "capsule wardrobe" that seems to be the newest joy kill (I'm jesting, I'm jesting). That wardrobe would probably be ideal but to be frank, I can't ever see myself as having one as streamlined and scanty; I have a hard time throwing things I love out, even though, I know I'm probably never going to wear them again. I mean I might need it?!

In the same way, I wish I could say that I'm only buying from brands that I know where they're sourcing their textiles from and how the work conditions in their factories are. That is not the case. The way I see it is that you can do your best with what you have at the moment. And try not to feel guilty, either. Many never even think of these issues, unfortunately. All I can do is keep my ears and mind open, and try contributing in any way possible, however small.

Which brings me back to the idea of overconsumption. For now, the one thing I can have control over is how much I consume. I can make the decision to buy only one new jumper this autumn, and try to make sure it's well-made. Sure, it might be slightly more expensive, but if it lasts me for more than three years, I think it deserves the steeper price.

That's something that has become easier for me in the last few years. I don't know if I've found my personal style or if I'm just more of aware of what I will wear and what will end up gathering dust in my wardrobe. Or maybe it's because I can get more excited about waiting to buy that one thing I've got my eye on, than satisfying my cravings with small spur-of-the-moment purchases. That's not to say I don't give in to temptations. I'm flawed like everyone else and love buying silly and cute things just because they've taken my fancy. I mean, I own about a million pens and small notebooks. Yes, I will admit, I'm a stationary hoarder!

There is, however, one other thing I'm trying to do as my part for a more fair and sustainable future: vintage shopping! It's so obvious; we often overlook it, but what's better than quenching your I-want-to-buy-something-new thirst, than buying second hand? We can now find vintage and second-hand boutiques everywhere. And not even just on physical stores anymore, but also online! Everything you buy from there, you know has already done its damage in the past and now all you have to do is give it a new life and a new home. Looking for a new leather jacket? I'm sure you'll find a second-hand store that's brimming with them. Asos Marketplace is a great place to start looking online if you're new to this as I am. Expert vintage shoppers can check out Ebay, and there are many tips online on how to do that.

This, of course, works the other way round, too. If you're bored with some of your items, then you can donate them or sell them. There's no reason why they should be left sad and unworn in a shady corner of your wardrobe! Plus, there's always the option to recycle them if they've been worn beyond wearability. I've seen that H&M offers that option, but I'm sure with a bit of Google search, you can find other places too. I don't really know what they do to the materials that can't be recycled, though...

I also love that there are so many resale stores online right now and with beautiful and luxurious stuff, too! Vestiaire Collective can leave you browsing through its designer products for hours upon hours. You've been warned! I mean, why not buy something older but in good condition than creating more demand for new things? Of course, it doesn't hurt that the prices are reduced!

That's all I've had to say on the matter for now. And since I'm nowhere near an expert, I will leave you some articles that you might want to check out, as well as some of my favourite places to shop, both vintage and new, that claim to be sustainable and ethical.

Articles on Fashion Sustainability:

Sites with Useful Information:

As always, let me know your thoughts on the matter! How do you deal with the issues of sustainability? Do you have plans on being more conscious like me in the future? Are you already an expert vintage-shopper?

xx Mary

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