Sustainable fashion, slow fashion, recycled fashion, repurposed fashion, upcycled fashion; all terms that have been at the forefront of my mind lately. I’ve spoken about this topic many times before so please bear with me while I explain why I’m talking about it again now. Before I do that from here on in I’m going to pile all those terms together under the umbrella of ‘slow fashion’ as anything that contributes to slowing down production, reducing waste, improving conditions to workers and consumers to me is slow fashion. Ok so last year I was having a crisis of inspiration. If you need a reminder read about it here. This lead to an unexpected personal shopping ban and despite my love for shopping, surprisingly I managed well. Then came pregnancy, during which I relied heavily on hand-me-downs, charity shops and borrowing clothes. Again if you need a reminder click here. Now post-pregnancy and breastfeeding I find I’m in a similar position. Some clothes in my wardrobe either don’t fit or are not breastfeeding friendly and I have no intention of spending money on clothes that are not going to be permanent features in my wardrobe, so I continue to look and not buy. I’ve bought the odd thing of course but my shopping habit continues to be somewhat subdued and I’m rather happy about it.
While all of that has been going on, sustainable fashion continues to make waves in the fashion world. Whether it is celebrities re-wearing outfits (finally), new brands dedicating themselves solely to sustainable fashion or existing brands looking to change their approach I can’t help but think about my role in slow fashion. I’ve been watching, researching and exploring and honestly I don’t get very far as I become so overwhelmed with such guilt and anger. I’ve been here before and some of you may have as well but I’ve decided to do something about it.
Which brings me to where I am now. A few questions have popped into my mind over the past few months. Questions I’ve asked myself and now you. Would you go a year without shopping? Would you only buy second-hand clothes? Would you only buy from sustainable brands? Most importantly would any of these positively impact slow fashion? If I (and hopefully you) am going to become a conscious consumer, I have to make informed choices. I need to understand all the options available to me and I mean realistic options, as well as accompanying barriers. Why for example is the temptation to buy a four euro t-shirt multiple times a year more appealing than buying one good quality t-shirt for substantially more? Or is buying second-hand clothes actually aiding the slow fashion movement? The item of clothing has still to be made by someone potentially working in horrendous conditions so what is the point? When fashion, clothing and getting dressed can have a positive impact on one’s creativity and self-confidence why limit it by not shopping? My list of questions is endless and I’m not the first person to ask them or even to try to change their attitude towards slow fashion but if we are to truly invest in everything that the slow fashion movement encompasses, surely it is our behaviours as consumers that need to be sustainable? And that is exactly what I’m going to try to do. I’m going to dive into all things sustainable to explore all of these options so I can make an informed choice about changing my consumer habits; hopefully permanently. Whether it is not shopping for a year, buying second-hand clothes, swapping clothes or whatever other options I find, I will make a change. This is going to be a huge personal challenge as you know how much I love shopping but at what expense?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Hopefully you will come along with me as I explore this topic more and even join me if I do decide to not shop for a year!