Part of this post has been sitting idle in draft form in the depths of my laptop for weeks. I’ve been keen to complete it and crack on with blogging but, due to life in general and the hours my children are keeping this academic year, I have been struggling to find the time for something as indulgent (and concentration-demanding!) as writing. Apologies therefore to those of you who are kind enough to have been checking my blog. I am hoping to get into more of a rhythm but, for now, no promises…
Today I’m writing about sustainable fashion – a topic close to my heart. My year of not buying any new clothes ended as 2015 began, but I’ve yet to make any purchases of the garment variety.
I found opting out of clothes shopping for twelve whole months surprisingly easy, but recently (and now that I’m ‘allowed’ to expand my wardrobe) I’ve started wandering through the ladies’ departments in shops again and – oh my goodness – suddenly I’m tempted to go wild, and my self-imposed limit of 6 bought items seems rather paltry.
I know there are a few of you who read this blog who hardly buy any clothes at all and that’s a way of life. I don’t naturally fall into that category, although I wish I did! Previous to my challenge I purchased clothes freely, and while I don’t consider myself to have had an ‘addiction’ to fast fashion, I probably bought (at the very least) ten new items in a year. I now want to find a comfortable middle ground.
I could do with a few new items – all but one pair of my jeans have now worn through at the knee plus my dress size has changed, making some of my old staples look rather comical. Don’t get me wrong, I could probably get through another year on what I’ve got, but I’d like to make a few sensible fashion purchases. I don’t want my quest to live a more sustainable life to feel like it’s some kind of endurance test.
I feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights though. I am proud of opting out of the fashion industry for a year and, as I had hoped, that experience really made me think about where my clothes come from. I need to make the right choices for me.
Shopping from ‘ethical’ retailers – or perhaps I mean ‘less unethical’ retailers – is an area in which I am likely to dip my toe into soon. There are lots of lovely blogs out there about sustainable fashion, including my fellow Scottish blogger Wendy, from Moral Fibres. I have a bit of research to do, but I like the look of People Tree plus I want to find out a bit more about Fat Face – a favourite store of mine which seems to have scored well in the ethical stakes recently.
Another option for me is to make my own clothes. Learning to knit and sew are two of my goals for 2015, and I have been working really hard on them. I have completed a pair of mittens and a dress so far. I’d love to sound modest here but, if I’m being honest, then I’m absolutely delighted with my achievements! I had to work hard on both, and many hours of concentration went into them. Stitches were pulled out, and frequent requests for help were made, but I did it and I can now realistically look towards making more of my own clothes. I’ll go into more details and show pictures of my ‘works of arts’ in my next couple of posts.
Finally, I’ve not mentioned shopping for clothes in charity shops which is of course another way of boosting my wardrobe. I’ll admit it’s not an option that I find especially attractive for a number of reasons, but I’m open to changing my mind if anyone’s got links to blog posts that might entice me!
For the moment, I’m still thinking and not buying but I’ll keep you updated.
Highly relevant to this post is the book that I am currently reading, ‘Clothing Poverty’ by Andrew Brooks.
I must confess that as I read this labour of love by Dr Brooks, my desire to take part in buying from the high street diminishes with each page I turn. The book follows a pair of jeans as it evolves from its various components, towards the shelves from which it is sold, and then the journey it endures after being discarded by its owner. It’s fascinating and thought provoking stuff.
If this is a book you fancy reading, then you may be interested to know that Zoe of @ecothrifty and Eco Thrifty Living is hosting a Twitter book club throughout the day on 29 April, and the book will be discussed using the hash tag #susbc (sustainability book club). Everyone is welcome to join in. I apologise for leaving you so little time to get hold of the book and read it, but perhaps you might be interested to take part or follow the conversations, even if you are yet to acquire it or are part way through its digestion? You can read Zoe’s fab post on the topic here.
If you’ve got any other book recommendations you can make about sustainable fashion, I’d love to hear about them