Something big is about to happen soon… Do you know what is it? Maybe some of you do… trrr drum rolls… it is the Fashion Revolution week! Yes!
This year it’s taking place from the 23rd to 29th April and if you didn’t know before reading this post then no worries – you still have time to sign up for some of the awesome events organised for next week. This is the link to their website where you can check what events are closest to where you live or where you are at the moment so you can join in. There are so many things happening, from sustainable fashion talks to workshops where you can learn how to repair your own clothes to good ol’ clothes swaps. No matter what you like, you’ll find something of interest.
I truly recommend signing up as this fashion revolution movement is trying to educate people in slow fashion, ethical fashion and making them aware of all the inequalities, human right’s violation and abuses that are happening and are involved in the actual fashion industry. That is why we need this big revolution and why we should be joining it.
Given that next week is set to be an awesome reminder of ethical living and that today is Earth Day (very cool!), I thought it fitting to tell you what, in my opinion, are the pillars on which to build a more ethical and sustainable closet.
1 – Value the clothes you own
For me, this is the most basic thing we have to do. Clothes are a very important part of our lives. We use them every day, we think about them every day, they protect us against the climate by keeping us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They help us to show others our personalities and interests. They make us feel pretty, smart, confident… They cheer us up on a blue day… They form part of our most important memories, gracing our wedding and graduation days; the birth of our children; our first kiss…they’re always there…in our photos, reminding us of our friends and loved ones. As far as material items go, clothes are among the most intimate and vital.
And yet, in spite of all of this, we are faced with a modern mentality that treats clothes as if they were nothing more than disposable plastic cups. People are disposing of their clothes as fast as they can buy them! They are reducing garments from something living to single use adornments: an instagram photo, a dinner, a dance, a night out with friends (obviously you can’t repeat that ‘wow!’) and suddenly they are no longer wearable. So, they are binned…and new ones purchased. Where has this ridiculous mindset come from? As far as I am concerned, this is a mentality that has been created by the furore of the fast-fashion industry and it is causing so much damage. Just think about it for a second – a way of thinking about what clothes are and what they should be is causing global pollution, illness, poverty, contamination and deep psychological anxiety.
We have to start giving our clothes the respect and value they deserve: by treating them with care so they last and wearing them with pride hundreds of times if possible! Being careful when we wash them, store them and repair them when they need. People don’t take into account how many resources nor how much energy, hours of hard work and people are involved in the creation of one single piece of clothing. What should be astonishing is that our clothes are truly unique, manually crafted pieces that we have to treat with respect.
2 – Shop Less. Think twice before buying anything
This was something I found very easy to start doing despite thinking that it was going to be far more difficult. When you are going to buy something new, think about what you already have in your wardrobe and what you really need. I mean really take a moment to think. Like a pair of sandals for the summer or a new jumper for the winter – you know you don’t need to buy 4 pairs just because they are all cute and cheap. I can assure you that you will end up wearing only one pair anyway (your favourite) for the rest of the season and the others will never even see the light of day!
Buying items from ethical brands helps as they are more expensive than the fast fashion versions, so this makes you more careful in your selection of what to buy for your closet. In the end you end up spending the same amount of money but the difference is that these clothes ethical, high quality garments are going to be truly loved.
A good tip that I read once in an article (I’m sorry I don’t remember the name of the writer but I do remember it was in one of those magazines you find on planes) is that when you are going to buy something ask yourself this question: ‘How many times am I going to wear it?’ If the answer is less than 50, don’t buy it!! I am trying to do this every time now and you know what? It is working! It has stopped me from buying so many things that would have just ended up neatly folded away and never worn – it’s great! So now you know, only buy things you absolutely love and need.
3 – Learn how to sew to make your own clothes
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now because, if I am honest with you, I do not know how to sew. Not even something basic. But I think it would be great to learn how to use a sewing machine or, at the very least, a needle and thread so I can explore this world a bit more. Wouldn’t it be cool if we all knew how to make our own t-shirt or skirt? I don’t know if this happens to you as it does for me, but I always have these ideal pieces of clothing in mind that I just can’t find anywhere! I mean, I go shopping and end up feeling frustrated because that lovely dress I can image isn’t there. I would love to be able to make my imaginary pieces real.
I’ve checked and there are a lot of places here in the UK where they give classes on sewing no matter if you’re a beginner or advanced! There is one place in Brighton which looks so cool that I’ll definitely join its classes in the future and I will let you know about them.
Not only would learning this be good for creating new clothes but also for repairing the ones we already have. And what’s really cool is that this skill can transform old pieces into something completely new! Cutting tops into new tops, reusing old t-shirts to make hairbands – I don’t know about you, but I’d love to do that!
4 – Buying second hand clothes
This is important as giving our clothes a second life will massively reduce the amount of material that finally ends up in the landfills. Last year in the UK alone, more than 235 million items of clothes were thrown away without being recycling or donated. That is a huge amount of contaminate which, of course, leads to more pollution and environmental problems. We have to change the fact that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, please!
Buying from second hand shops is a great way to shop. There are a lots of charity shops in the UK where you can donate your clothes and buy new ones at super cheap prices. If you’ve never tried buying from them before, give it a go! It’s a cool experience as you never know what are you going to find or fall in love with. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt, only without the pirates.
Another great alternative is doing a clothes swap with friends. This is absolutely fantastic and a nice way to spend an afternoon or evening – laughing, eating pizza, or cupcakes or whatever you want! You’ll end up with new pieces for your wardrobe without spending a penny. Great eh?
5 – Support ethical and sustainable brands
We have to support the brands and companies that are doing things right. Absolutely. They are making a difference for so many people in developing countries. Creating jobs and providing training, they really are giving people an opportunity for a better life. These brands are trying to change the way the world works by putting an end to slavery and abuse. They want to see workers given rights and good working conditions. This is, after all, what we all deserve, regardless of country or ethnicity.
They are also doing a lot to improve sustainability by recycling materials, using natural fibres and dyes, and banning the use of chemicals in their clothes. At heart, they are basically rethinking the consequences and impacts business has on the planet.
I have faith in these companies. They must be the future of the fashion industry. A future where fast fashion and the mentality linked to it are mistakes of the past. A future where garment workers are no longer exploited or abused and where their rights and working conditions are protected. A future where the children of those workers have access to schools and universities and have better health care and where parents can work in dignity and feel proud for providing for their family. This is the future I can see when I close my eyes, and this is the future I hope to help usher in by making the necessary changes in how I lead my own life.