Thursday, 19 July 2018

SHOULD WE RATION OUR FASHION?

My dungaree dress is a charity shop buy (originally from Topshop) & Hazel is wearing my UO top and her sister's hand-me-down trousers. 
*Before I start, I wanna say, please read the captions under all of the pictures that I've included. We don't have to buy new things to be trendy -- I hope that by the end of this post you agree with me!*

Generally, I would say I am a fairly eco-conscious person and I like to think that my actions are reflective of that too. However, it is only within the past three months or so that I realised being eco-friendly stretches beyond CO2 emissions, one-use plastic, recycling, and the meat industry. It also means thinking about our spending habits and fashion sustainability.

Yep, fashion, I said it ladies ‘n’ gents. At the beginning of this year, one of my work colleagues told me that her New Year’s Resolution was to use all of the clothes in her wardrobe and not buy any new ones. I think my reaction was a mixture of a gasp and a laugh. I couldn’t understand why anyone would put themselves through that pain? Retail therapy is a real thing – I know it is; I bought a pair of socks on eBay at 2am in the middle of an essay crisis as a sort-of treat from me to me. A souvenir of my essay pain, but also a reminder that I persevered and… survived.

HOWEVER! Cutting back on our spontaneous retail purchases does (sadly) have a multitude of benefits. It’s better for the old pocket, the mind, and our little blue planet.

It takes 7.8 megalitres of rainwater to grow one hectare of cotton. That’s a lot of water! The Guardian says, “The water consumed to grow India’s cotton exports in 2013 would be enough to supply 85% of the country’s 1.24 billion people with 100 litres of water every day for a year.” That is a huge percentage and a lot of water being used to make new clothes for people who (probably) already have an entire wardrobe full. It’s a lil’ silly when you think about it. Not only is the water usage a problem, but, because trends change as quickly as Taylor Swift’s love interest, cotton wastage is devastatingly high.

There used to be two seasons per year in the fashion world: one for warmer weather, and one for cooler weather. Now, every clothing outlet has at least fifty-two seasons and a ‘sale’ that never-ends as they attempt to get rid of the clothing that is ‘so last week’ by slashing prices. I mean, I love a good sale bargain, but what happens when the sale ends and there are still leftover clothes?

Unsold clothing, also known as ‘deadstock’, may be given to charity, some are sold onto their staff’s friends and family, but, more often than not, deadstock is simply destroyed… not very eco-friendly, I know. It is excess, it is waste. (Click here for more information).

You may think that giving unwanted clothing to a charity shop is the best solution to this problem, but because charity shops are given so many clothes now, a lot of it doesn’t even make it to the rail. Saying that, charity shops do recycle the clothing that they do not use. But, why are we buying and making more -- at the expense of our environmental resources -- when there are already so many cute garms that we can buy cheaply whilst supporting a charity!?

Clothes should last us years, decades. Sadly, we are from 'Generation Waste'; if something is ‘out of style’, if there’s a small hole, if the threading comes undone, if we don’t have enough wardrobe space, the clothing hits the bin… or the already rammed-with-clothes charity shop. Unlike our parents' generation, who would have sewn the holes and looked after their few clothes, our generation buys without thinking about what they already have. Nobody ‘makes-do’ when they can buy new. And it is the I-can-just-buy-a-new-one attitude that is having serious negative effects on our environment.  

My brown jacket is from a Leamington Spa charity shop & this extra cute long-sleeved tee is my best friend's! Even my prescription glasses are from Etsy.com, they are vintage 80's Fiorucci frames. 
So, what can we do to help the problem?

Well, cutting down on how much we buy is the obvious answer. If we all cut down on the amount we spent on clothes, then the demand would decrease and (hopefully) retailers would stop ordering so much in. Less clothing means less deadstock, simples. Our actions have a direct knock-on effect, so as much as you think "how can little old me make a difference?", if everyone stopped buying clothes overnight, there would be a huge impact! It takes an individual change to create a collective difference.

This used to be my Mum's. She gave it to me because it didn't fit her anymore, and guess who's rocking it now ;)
I’m not saying that you should go cold-turkey like my work friend did this year, but I do think we need to be aware of what we are buying and where we are getting it from. Think to yourself: do I really need this? Or am I just jumping on the ‘oh-my-gosh-it’s-on-sale-and-it’s-quite-cute’ hype? (Guilty). Will I wear it? Or will it collect dust at the back of the wardrobe amongst the millions of other ‘cute sale purchases’? I watched a documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix recently and it has changed my outlook on what I buy. (The link for the trailer is here if you want to check it out).

If you’re like me and really can’t help yourself, then maybe try shopping in charity shops, Depop, eBay, Facebook Market Place, Vintage stores, Second-hand market stools. These are all fantastic ways to curb your fashion urge and enjoy a new look without investing in companies that believe fifty-two seasons per year is sustainable!

Another good way to stop spending is to start sharing J I am fortunate enough to have a younger sister and at university, I share a house with two other girls. If you’re lucky like me, take advantage of your friends' and siblings' clothes; just think how beautiful your wardrobes would look together (yaaaass), sharing is caring, as they say.

Another charity shop banger. One of my best friends, Emma, has just made a new hole in the belt for me so it fits around my waist properly. £7 vintage M&S though!

C'mon guys, let's take a leaf out of the unnamed girl from Mean Girls’ book and wear our “Mom’s skirt from the eighties” and borrow our mate's "pink shirt" (I WANT MY PINK SHIRT BACK), instead of purchasing from Primark’s 2018 summer range that will probably be in the deadstock pile for incineration tomorrow. 

Love, (not Regina) George x x

ps. That's the ugliest effing skirt I've ever seen.



SHARE:

No comments

Post a comment

Blogger Template Created by pipdig