In my last post, I wrote about how fashion needs to become more green. With the staggering statistics, the fashion industry has to do something but it can also start with you. Here are a few tips to be that little more green.
Eco Green Is In!
My grandparents are from the post war baby boom and growing up they had to make do and mend. Once the world started recovering and getting back on its feet, it had a big bang. A lot of things were becoming easily available and especially my parents generation (1970s onwards), they start to get things such as credit cards and finance for all sorts of things. It just became so easy to be a consumer and not think about the environment. Times change and sometimes trends come back round again. When I was a kid, people who wanted to save trees and the environment were tree huggers and people would roll their eyes, but thanks to years of scientific research and observations we can see we are killing the planet. We may not be able to reverse it completely, but we can surely slow it down. It started with plastics, tins and paper, now it is time for fabrics.
Repairing clothes with a simple stitch or sewing on a new button is easy enough (I desperately need to sort out a coat of mine). Getting your favourite shoes resoled instead of throwing them out not only keeps you moving for longer but also helps out a local business. I asked some of my Facebook friends what they did with their clothing:
Billy: “I have very few clothes and I wear them til they die and then carry on wearing them anyway”.
Georgy: “I’m a repeat dresser but always guilty of buying new stuff and it staying in my wardrobe!”.
Caz: “I have stupid amounts of clothes. I’m guilty of wearing the same few tired and tested things a lot as well. I have cut back massively and I don’t keep buying new clothes. I’m very guilty of finding things with the labels on that I’ve had ages. Only really buy new from ‘My Little Halo’ rock gear and band t-shirts these days”.
Mark: “I have Hawkwind t-shirts from 1985 that I would still wear (even though now look like a boob tube on me)”.
It seems the guys are less conscious about how long they wear things for, but all the same it is a little help towards the bigger issue.
Second Hand Retailers
Growing up, going to charity shops for clothes or to be given “hand me downs” was a poor persons thing. You always had to have fresh clothes, wearing them again and again wasn’t a problem, but where you bought them from was. As the years have rolled on, people have (on some level) grown up and realised just because it’s second hand, doesn’t mean it is dirty. Now, it is an achievement almost to get an amazing bargain!
I’m not going to lie, I am proud of a lot of my bargains… my favourite was my New Rocks boots, retailed at £240 and I got them from the local YMCA shop for £20! I’ve found amazing bargains in charity shops and I check them all the time. Look in all sections because you never know what gems you will find! Men’s shirts are great as thin cover ups in the summer, I’ve bought some things off the kids rail too! Charity shops are a great place to find new projects, I’ve bought jeans and ripped the knees or poured bleach over them for a distinct look. The possibilities are endless and you are in charge of your style!
While you shop, every penny that you spend in goes to worthy causes such as Cancer Research, who generated £414m from donations during the tax year 2020/21. Despite gloomy reports in 2020 saying that charity shops are dying, more people are actually becoming more conscious of purchasing new clothes. Help the planet by donating your old clothes to someone who desperately needs it or even someone who wants something new to them.
eBay has been around since 1995, an online market place where you can buy or sell anything and I mean anything. My mother sells clothes on eBay for a bit of pocket money and has made a fair bit, and I have bought some bargains from there too. Recent years have seen eBay declined compared to new fashion apps and retailers more catered to the younger audience. I’m not saying eBay is irrelevant but there is some new kids on the block!
Vinted: Started in Lithuania in 2008 and has grown across the globe for all ages. You can sell clothing, accessories and beauty products with no selling fees. The purchaser pays a fee and then off you pop, your thing is sent. It’s so easy to list items and to communicate with buyers/sellers and it’s all done from your phone. I was a little sceptical at first but I have made a little over £80 since September from selling things at a maximum of £5. You can find bargains like I have (two jackets for £10, a pair of boots for £10 and £6). Vinted made £214m in 2020 with offices across the world catering to 45 million followers, 1.2 million of them in the UK alone!
Depop: Depop was founded in 2011 in London and has offices across the globe. It is a great place for influencers reselling clothing they’ve bought for posts or events. It has a loyal fan base aged between 18 to 26 years old and made $70m in 2020. It is mainly for clothes and most are used, vintage or upcycled. A lot of users have created their own shops and some even sell designer pieces. It has 21 million users worldwide with 90% of users under the age of 26. Like all apps, it does have its critics and some things have been a bit shifty so please be wary (like with all apps) of online scams.
Vestiaire: Now, if you are after a tad bit of luxury but cannot afford the price tag (such as myself), there is hope. Vestiaire is here to save you. If you want to sell luxury goods, you have to provide authentication of your product before selling. You can list things from as little as £20 going all the way up to the big numbers. You will find nearly ever designer name on its list and honestly, it is my little hope list. Maybe my chance of owning a Chanel handbag is closer than I thought!
Make Do and Mend
Everyone has that one favourite item of clothing. It can be a jacket, a pair of boots, a handbag, anything but what happens when it starts to fall apart? Luckily my mother is very handy with a needle and thread (me not so much), she’s always stitching away, hitching a hem line, adding a button or tightening up some straps on a top. I have a denim jacket that I am wanting to glue (or mum stitch) band patches to. The jacket is a bit knackered so the arms were cut off, now it will be a great vest.
There is even companies out there who will turn your favourite band shirts into blankets such as Too Many T-Shirts, which is an amazing idea. Not that you can have too many band shirts, but heck, when we’ve worn/torn them to death, before they go to the big old pile of forgotten clothes, give them new life.
Go and get your boots resoled rather than just throwing them out. I understand that sometimes it costs just as much if not maybe more than the boots did in the first place, on the other hand, you are helping a local business and keeping your faves for longer.
Nothing Too Small
Our planet is dying sadly. We all know about green house gases and deforestation and with the staggering numbers I gave in my last post, the fashion industry needs to be held accountable too. There are businesses out there making changes aiming to be more transparent about the creation of their products. The Business of Fashion has created a Sustainability Index focusing on six points that business are charted by and it does make for interesting reading:
Vogue Business has also produced a single page on its website dedicated to sustainability within fashion and is helping to promote the New York Fashion Act. The Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability act has been put into action in New York state and is supported by designers such as Stella McCartney.
We may not be able to make massive waves and tear down the bad within this industry, but we can start a ripple that hopefully will continue to grow.
Do your bit, doesn’t matter if you make do and mend, resell, buy second hand or donate to charity, it all helps and hopefully, Green will stay in fashion!