The world of fashion is changing as we can no longer ignore that our planet’s resources are finite and are currently witnessing the true cost of our choices, as such we are now forced to assess how to shop sustainably and build a wardrobe with this awareness.
Conscious and sustainable fashion is a statement and now we have choice, we can use our money to vote for fashion that does not harm the environment or the people creating our clothing whilst still following trends and supporting creativity.
Sustainable fashion brands
Nowadays, there are so many sustainable clothing brands brands to choose from, from companies like Rêve En Vert, Antibad and Know the Origin dedicated to making beautiful sustainable clothes more readily available, to brands and designers who are really trying to make a difference, like Mayamiko, Reformation, Mother of Pearl and Maiyet. Then there are the big fashion designers like Stella McCartney and Mara Hoffman, who are leading the way and being open about what their brands can do and how they will become more sustainable businesses.
How to shop sustainably
There are other ways to be respectful, too. Fashion is very much an aesthetic and, as someone who studied design, I find myself drawn to particular pieces and designers that don’t have the means to be able to certify or be sustainable. That’s why I love Livia Firth’s 30 Wears campaign, which encourages us as customers to consider whether we’ll wear an item at least 30 times or not before we buy it (which would sound mad to previous generations!).
It’s another way of saying, ‘Do you REALLY love it?’ At a time when fashion is cheap and trends turn over quickly, in an image-obsessed era when wearing the same item continuously feels ‘old,’ we can get caught up with an outfit for an occasion and lose interest after — whether it’s a cheaper item or an expensive one.
For me, just as with food, it’s not about the luxe credentials but the story behind its provenance. Many think that sustainability means only having a few classic items, like the ultimate chic French wardrobe, however unfortunately that’s just not me. I love colour and pattern and, while you can mix and match, having just a few items just wouldn’t work for me. I prefer to be selective in what I buy, whilst still retaining my style and identity.
Sustainable vintage clothing
I have always been a fan of vintage clothing; I love to ‘thrift’ and sort through treasures. I trawl vintage shops, the expensive designer ones and the cheap ones like charity shops! Car boots are a favourite for everything I buy. I am also aware of what I do with things I not longer need, sometimes selling pieces I invested significantly in through Vestiaire Collective or eBay, then either donating to charity shops or sell at my local car boot and the Women for Women #SheInspiresMe carboot sale.
I also love to support small designers and when trying to shop sustainably on a budget, search for ‘sustainable’ on big retailer sites such as ASOS and H&M, as there are now many who are supporting the cause.
There’s no perfect way to become a sustainable consumer overnight but as awareness and support continues to build, change will come. I look forward to a time when sustainable fashion becomes the norm and when it is applauded to wear the same outfit multiple times, in different ways rather than it be acceptable to wear something different everyday.
Words by Jasmine Hemsley