Thursday, 20 September 2018

My Slow Fashion Summer: no new clothes for three months!

I know some readers are probably rolling their eyes at the title for this week’s blog post. I know I am lucky to be able to afford new clothes fairly regularly, and that many people have to prioritise other expenses when they really do need new clothes for themselves or their families.

Collaction's Slow Fashion Summer isn’t about shaming people for their shopping habits, it’s about challenging the way the fashion industry tries to drive consumer demand. With high street fashion chains launching new stock in store every couple of weeks, we are encouraged to become dissatisfied with our clothes faster than ever before. The average item of clothing is only worn four times before being discarded, so refusing to buy into this for a few months is a good way to reassess the way we shop.

The rules of the Slow Fashion Challenge only stipulated no new clothes, so here are all the alternatives I found to ensure I could still have a fabulous summer wardrobe!

Wear clothes that are waiting to be worn
Being a vintage fashion fan means snapping up those bargains whenever you see them, so I bought summer dresses in the autumn and winter, then had to wait for the appropriate weather to wear them! The wait was worth it though; I’ve had so much enjoyment (and some lovely compliments!) from wearing these fab frocks! You can check out some of my other vintage finds here.

Clothes swaps
Even when we shop sensibly, we still end up with clothes that we don’t really wear any more. As well as rummaging through my sister’s cast-offs and picking out a few gems, I also went to Walk In Wardrobe and exchanged some of my old clothes for some lovely new ones! Stylist Daisy Schubert has come up with an innovative “rule” for her swap shop: you’re not limited to a number of items, you just have to try everything on to make sure you actually like it! That way everyone ends up with clothes they will actually wear, rather than more items destined for the back of the wardrobe.

Charity shops
Giving to a good cause and stopping secondhand clothes from ending up in landfill means that buying clothes from charity shops is very much still allowed under the rules of the Slow Fashion Challenge! In the spirit of the challenge I didn’t indulge in a lot of impulse buys, but I did treat myself to this straw hat to keep myself cool in the heatwave!

Rent a one-off outfit
For anyone who is expected to have an ever-rotating wardrobe of fabulous clothes for events, clothing hire service Wear the Walk has you covered! I wrote about my experience hiring clothes from them in this post.

Transform the clothes you are reluctant to wear
I had picked up a silk playsuit at a clothes swap years ago because I loved the style, but I never really felt that the peach colour suited me. An hour with a bucket, a pair of thick rubber gloves and a sachet of hand dye, I had a playsuit that was much more my style!

Use up your fabric stash
If you make your own clothes, it can be tempting to fall into the trap of impulse-buying new fabric for projects before you use up the fabric that’s already in your stash. And if, like me, you love buying vintage fabrics, special finds can end up cluttering up your cupboards for months while you wait for inspiration to strike!

I only had a 70cm long piece of this blue fabric, and 90cms of the contrasting cream, so I knew I wanted to use them in the most efficient way possible. I ended up making this two-piece ensemble, with only a handful of scraps left over. I was also able to use up a few mother of pearl buttons from my button stash to add an interesting fastening detail.

Break the rules
So, did I go three months without buying anything new? Almost. I’d like to think that my one new purchase was for a good reason, though. Sophie, the owner of Gung Ho Design, also runs monthly beach clean-ups on the Thames foreshore. Seeing an ethical brand owner really living her values made me want to support what she is doing, so I treated myself to a pair of Gung Ho earrings (as well as going to the beach clean-up, obviously)!

Knowing what we already have in our wardrobes, and thinking about how we can transform average clothes into clothes we love, or swap clothes we don’t love for clothes we do, means we don’t have to head to the shops nearly so often. Organising or going to a clothes swap is much more sociable than filling our online shopping carts with impulse purchases, and sewing some simple alterations can make our clothes fit better, and give us a new appreciation for the people who made them! I might have to make a few new (ethical) clothing purchases as we head into autumn, but I’m also working on plenty of alteration and embellishment projects, so check back soon for more sustainable fashion inspiration!

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! I wholeheartedly endorse dying clothes to make them suit you - or to extend their shelf lives. A few years ago I dyed three pairs of jeans I didn't like the colour of, and they ended up being my favourite jeans ever. I wore them until they literally fell apart!