Hello you gorgeous bunch!
In light of the consumer void that is ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ approaching next week (*sigh*) I wanted to write a post about clothing and clothing consumption. Don’t get me wrong, I love fashion. My mum is a stylish babe and used to travel to London in the 70’s and spend her savings in BIBA, so I got the good fashion genes (or jeans, I guess?!). I don’t know about you, but I’m actually sick and tired of companies making us feel we have emotional connections to clothing and somehow making us feel/think that taking advantage of these sales are in someway going to enhance our lives for the better? You may recall my previous post ‘Is it possible for consumers to shop guilt free, and if so, at what cost?‘ which touched on product cost, economic cost,environmental and ethical cost as well as cognitive connections to fashion, green washing, over-consumption etc etc.
I expect most of you lovely lot have seen the wonderful Stacey Dooley documentary (Fashion’s Dirty Secrets, BBC3) by now? It’s fantastic that this accessible TV show has drawn consumers attention to the amount of waste we create through the fashion industry, our own consumption of fashion and the effects it has on the planet on a global scale. According to the Waste And Resources Action Programme (WRAP) clothing waste prevention web page ‘The value of unused clothing in wardrobes has been estimated at around £30 billion. It is also estimated £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year’. In the UK in 2016, it was reported by The Guardian that UK households binned 300,000 tonnes of clothing in 2016 (Smithers, 2017), thus making a huge environmental impact. Synthetic fabrics (man-made fibres) such as polyester and nylon can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, whilst organic (vegetal/ animal) fibres will decompose over a much shorter period of time.
What can we do?
I honestly feel it’s our right as keepers of the planet to be kind and care for it as much as possible. To not over-consume and to purchase items of clothing for longevity, rather than buying into the fast fashion lifestyle of 52 micro-seasons of fashion a year. With new items in the shops every week instead of quarterly, it’s no wonder people treat fashion as throwaway. Also, think about it, why would you want to look like everyone else?
Here are some tips of what you can do to not be caught into the Black Friday web:
- MEND THINGS! Simple as that. Do you have a favourite top, a pair of jeans, a dress etc that you haven’t worn for ages as a zip is broken or there’s a visible rip? Can’t bear to part with it as you love it so much but it’s collecting dust in your wardrobe? Go to a tailor or a ‘wardrobe surgeon’/ seamstress! Or try and fix yourself. I have some well loved pieces that I take to be mended. It’s also cheaper than buying something brand new and you fall back in love with an item you’ve owned for a while.
- Take shoes to a cobbler. Before they wear out and they are bin worthy! Treat them with care, get them re-soled.
- Hold your own swap-shop! Want something good as new to spice-up your wardrobe? Organise a swap-shop event with friends/ family/ colleagues. Make a day or evening of it where you can have nibbles and wine perhaps?
- Hire clothing. Got a fancy pants event coming up? Thinking of buying something that you’ll maybe just wear once or twice and then offload to a charity shop? Why not hire some clothing for your special event instead? There are plenty of websites out there where you can hire designer clothing at a reasonable price for few days therefore not adding to the masses in your wardrobe that have maybe just been worn once or twice
- Learn a new skill! Thinking of buying something in the Black Friday sales for Christmas presents? Why don’t you make things instead? One year I went on a mad crochet fest and I think most women in my family ended up with a crochet snood (easier to make than you may think!), make some candles, make body-scrubs, bath-bombs, biscuits etc! Get creative and have fun! People will appreciate that so much more I can assure you
There ya go!
Just a short and sweet post today as thought it would be good to touch on this subject. If you really do want to take advantage of Black Friday clothing sales, perhaps ask yourself… will I wear this 30 times or more? If the answer is no, pop it back on the shelf babes. You don’t need it.
I would also 110% recommend watching ‘The True Cost‘ on Netflix if you haven’t yet either 😉