I have always bought and worn vintage not necessarily for any ethical reason just because I wanted to be different and couldn’t afford the designer pieces that I saw in the pages of Vogue so I found my own versions in charity shops and vintage shops. But I have always favoured second hand over commercial high street brands, I would rather have the buzz of finding something fabulous in a vintage or charity shop and putting my own mark on it as opposed to buying the designer version.
Like many people I was aware of the devastation of our planet by the fast fashion industry but I wasn’t aware of the full impact so when I watched Fashion’s Dirty Secrets by the journalist Stacey Dooley – check it out on BBC Iplayer if you haven’t seen it – I am even more determined to shop second hand, pre-loved and vintage with both my wardrobe and home purchases.
Yes I know there are some things that you have to buy new – aside from some fabulous 1930’s silk knickers and slips my pants will still come from M&S!!
300,000 tonnes of clothes end up in land fill – we are encouraged to buy the latest “must have” and we rush out to buy our next fashion fix. Whole areas are being polluted and seas drying up to produce our constant need for “the new”.
Fashion bloggers and You Tubers post their fast fashion hauls all over the internet enhance the need for more clothes that which all end up in wardrobes unworn. I recently spoke to someone who has a very good friend who is paid to do these kind of posts and has had to rent storage space to store all the “gifted” items she has been sent.
Wanting to get back to reading and trying to switch off the laptop and put the phone down at least one day a week I picked up a book that I have talked about on the blog before The Art of More for Less Savvy Chic
Anna Johnson says “There is nothing more tempting than the lure of a cheap dress. I understand the potent attraction of a fast fashion fix. Disposable clothes are designed to trap us all. They sing their siren song on a Friday night. They promise transformation but all too often they wind up as gaudy landfill in your closet.” She sets herself ground rules when she shops. Clothes need to be well made, have staying power between the seasons and interlock with other mainstays in her wardrobe. She wants to wear one piece of clothing for several years so she chooses classic items – easy when buying vintage and puts them to work. If you start thinking about what you buy and whether it is something you will wear for years or just something you want to curb your fashion craving???
Everyone is entitled to do what they want and buy what they want. And I understand the buzz when you find the perfect piece but I would hope that now the truth is out there people will think before they go out to shop for the next fashion high!! As a vintage and charity shopper I get such a thrill finding a designer bargain hiding in the rails of a charity shop or a fabulous piece in a vintage shop. One thing I do hope is that some of the Instagram influencers and fashion editors are not just playing lip service in there columns or on their feed and jumping on the next big thing and actually start to practice what they are now preaching and stop before they rave about their latest gifted pieces or post a What I bought on the high street You Tube video. How useful could these influencers be if they started to show people a more ethical way of shopping by hitting the charity shops or look how wore pieces I have had for years posts??? This is something that we can’t stop talking about even when the buzz of the programme has died away. It is something that needs to be addressed by government, fashion industry insiders and influencers.
If every fashion fan took a few steps to shop with more thought and found new ways to get a fashion fix just think of the difference that would make. I know that not everyone is a fan of vintage or charity shops – some still have that stigma in their head that they are smelly and the clothes will be dirty and musty – that so not the case you only have to look at Mary’s Living and Giving Shops for Save the Children that have changed the face of charity shopping and all vintage sellers have a passion for what they do and lovingly source, mend and wash their pieces before putting them on the rail. So that myth is well and truly blown so there is no excuse and what about the high end consignment shops where you can get your designer fix for less.
My mission for the last few years has been “Vintage for Everyone Everyday” – making vintage and second-hand part of your everyday wardrobe so now with renewed passion I am going to be on the campaign trail to get fashionistas to at least start to re-thinking the way they shop and think about their wardrobes.
There are many ways that you can change the way you shop. If you went into your wardrobe/dressing room now – how many pieces do you actually wear on a regular basis? Are there items still with the tags on? Think about this the next time you say I need a new frock – can you find a new way to wear an existing piece in your wardrobe – why not spend the time creating outfits from what you already have or if that is something you find difficult to do book my Shop Your Wardrobe service and I can give your wardrobe a whole new lease of life and show outfits you never knew you had!!
Over the next few months on the blog, Instagram and You Tube Channel I will be showing you was to make the most of your existing wardrobe, shop for vintage pieces that are straight off the runway, doing my own version of a capsule wardrobe challenge (using print, pattern and colour not your usual bland neutral shades) and get your fashion fix without costing the earth in more ways than one!!
On final note all I will say is next time you take a walk around the high street in your lunch hour and reach the that “must have item” just think to yourself – do I really need this? Will it last me a few seasons or will it go with other pieces in my wardrobe? The other weekend when I was at a local vintage fair I even stopped myself from buying as there wasn’t anything that I really needed just a few pieces that I would have liked but I have a wardrobe full of vintage so really don’t need anything else (unless it is to die for – sorry but somethings are just too fabulous!!!) If we all just took a moment before we tap that card we can do our bit to save our planet.