Fashion resale has become a big thing over the last year or so and is a good sustainable option. In fact the second -hand clothing market is predicted to grow faster than new sales. I have been buying second-hand clothes and selling my old things for a while now, so thought I could pass on some tips to you.
There are so many platforms online where you can sell your clothes now. Depop is a great app you can have on your phone to buy and sell and is my favourite. eBay is an old trusted platform, Vestaire Collective is for designer goods and there is also Facebook Marketplace, Vinted, ThredUP and Poshmark, to name but a few. Choose the platform where the person who is most likely to buy your clothes from will be looking. If you're not sure, then where would you be most likely to buy from? For example Depop has a younger audience than eBay and Facebook and Vestaire Collective is for the wealthier customers. There are also some brands like John Lewis, Levi's and Patagonia that now take back their clothes giving you a discount or payment and they will resell them. This is something we have in mind for Boy Wonder in the future.
First of all make sure that the garments are clean and ironed. Nobody is going to want to buy a crumpled old thing from the bottom of your laundry basket. It's probably worth even fixing any repairs too. It is also much nicer for the buyer when they receive it when it's nice and clean and ready to wear. You will get better feedback too which is important to build trust if want to sell anything again.
The key thing if you are selling online are the photos. There is nothing more off putting than a terrible photo. Most mobile phones these days have really good cameras, so there is no need to worry about expensive kit. You will need somewhere that has good, preferably natural light, but not so bright that it throws strong shadows. You may be able to brighten them up a little on your phone afterwards if necessary and crop out anything you don't want on the image. It always look better to show garments being worn as they look very different on the hanger. Most people don't have a great imagination and if they can't imagine how good it could look on them then they won't wear it! Try also to have a plain background behind the wearer, that won't distract too much from what you are trying to show. Photograph key details too, especially any branding if it's premium or designer to show authenticity. Be honest about any imperfections and show them too, as you don't want unhappy buyers. The more photos you have to show the garment off the better.
Pricing is a tricky one and will depend on the platform you are selling on. eBay is an auction site, so maybe start at the very least you are willing to accept and you can always relist with a lower price if it doesn't sell. Depop is not an auction site, so it's worth doing a bit of research to see what prices other people are selling similar things at. Consider how much you would be willing to pay for something similar if you were a buyer. Items that are brand new, have never been worn and still have the price tags on you can obviously charge more for, but you will not get the retail price back. It's important to check as well how much a platform will charge you for selling with them as they vary from a 10-25% commission.
Describe the item well and make sure you include all the key information honestly. Most sites will require you state size, colour and brand at the very least, but an indicator of quality is also really helpful. Other useful things to mention maybe the fabric, washing information or even for strange sizes some dimensions too.
I have sometimes also included images for how to style the garment or links to fashion bloggers reviews. Buyers love to see if something is a bloggers favourite so include it in the headline too.
When it comes to adding on postage and packaging be honest and only cover your costs. High postage is off putting and most people would rather wait longer than pay more. You can weigh your item on home scales along with the mailing bag and then check out the royal mail's website to find out how much you are likely to pay. If you are sending multiple or heavy items it might be worth comparing costs with a courier company instead. Try to be quick in dispatching the goods after someone has paid and let them know it has been sent. It's always safer to send something with a signature on delivery and with enough insurance to cover it as there are rogue buyers out there who will say they haven't received it. Send the tracking number to the buyer too and an estimated date of delivery.
Answer any questions that prospective buyers may have quickly and clearly otherwise they will go elsewhere. If there are any problems with the sale or afterwards deal with them as soon as possible and in a polite manner. Problems can happen to anyone and if its at your end being honest and upfront with an apology will go a long way. Remember to rate your buyer afterwards and give feedback and ask them to do the same. That way you can build your reputation as a seller and hopefully have customers returning to you.
This is stating the obvious, but don't try to sell winter coats in the summer and vice versa. But, also consider scheduling the item to start when people are most likely to be on the internet browsing for stuff. I often start eBay items on a Sunday afternoon as people often are free then. With auctions you also have to consider ending them at a time when people will be able to bid. No one wants to get up in the middle of the night to bid on some old jumper! Another thing to consider with timing is what time of the month you are trying to sell in. Near the end of the month a lot of people won't have much disposable income to spare, but after payday they are more likely to part with their cash.
Realising the potential of your unwanted clothes can be quite lucrative but also they are then going to live a second life with someone else which is better for the planet. Hopefully these tips will help you od just that.
#resalefashion #secondhandfashion #consignmentfashion
We have all felt the lure of that shiny new thing and most of us will have enjoyed a shopping spree in our time. In our western culture of mass consumption, we are constantly surrounded by advertising, in mass and social media; TV, films, billboards and magazines portraying aspirational lifestyles. All these seductively persuade us into thinking we need to buy more stuff. But does this really make us happy? And are we now beginning to confuse our wants over our needs?
As social beings we are heavily influenced by our families, friends and environment often leading us to feel we need to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ with a fear that if we don’t we are in some way not good enough. This constant push to have more, bigger and better drives consumer debt and means we work ever harder and longer to…
“Buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.”[I]
Many people within this economic model are often so time poor due to long working hours that they spoil their kids with stuff out of guilt over not spending time with them. I know I have and I worry about what affect this will have in the long run because we know innately that kids want our love not our money.
In these grave times of climate emergency and ecological breakdown we really need to start challenging this idea of consumerism. The capitalist model of endless growth which is fed by our consumption is literally killing the planet and ourselves, yet we seem powerless to stop ourselves like moths to a flame. Our wardrobes get more crammed, our landfill sites get ever fuller and our purses ever more depleted.
However, more and more research shows that less is definitely better and proves, what we all know deep down, that material wealth does not make you happier…
“The bulk of the evidence seems to contradict the consumption-happiness relationship”[ii]
And in fact…
“Being dissatisfied with what you have, and making a point of acquiring more, is the quickest way to dissatisfaction in life”[iii]
The Happy Planet Index goes some way to prove this. It found that Costa Rica has the highest level of happiness while having just one quarter of the GDP per capita than the richest countries. So what is it that is making them happier than others?
Although there is evidence that some level of wealth and material goods do add to our happiness in terms of being able to cover our basic needs we derive most of our happiness from other sources.[iv]
“People who live a life of intrinsic motivation are much happier than those who live a life dominated by extrinsic motivation”[v]
Intrinsic motivation means finding happiness within yourself, through self-acceptance, affiliation and community, whereas extrinsically motivated people seek happiness through appearance, social popularity and financial gain.
The minimalist movement is a good example of people choosing to live their lives with less and have found happiness and satisfaction from it.
“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”[vi]
I suspect too, that the current interest in decluttering experts such as Marie Kondo shows that actually we do want to be free of our excessive consumptions and actually crave a more frugal existence. So maybe there is hope for us if we can chnage our mindsets in that way?
If we start first with our fashion consumption then hopefully the rest will follow. So why not join in #secondhandseptember by buying everything second-hand this month?
#lessismore #slowfashion #ownlessdomore
Slowly Does It
The 4 R's of Eco Fashion
Donating or Dumping?
My Wardrobe Audit
Ok, so let's first talk about what fast fashion is. Fast fashion is when clothing is produced quickly and cheaply, often being able to have new designs in store just weeks after being designed. The business model is based on high volume and turnover of stock.
The main problem with the fast fashion industry is the sheer volume of clothing it produces - 1 billion garments annually! Sophisticated marketing and the high turnover of stock drives consumers on to the next trend in order to buy ever more. Considering that fast fashion is predicted toincrease 60% by the year 2030 this is not sustainable when we all need to be buying less (of everything) to save our planet. The truth is we don't actually need any more clothes at all, we have more than enough to go round already, but fast fashion taps in to the desire for the new 'must have' and the affordable 'don't miss it' offer.
Aside from a few small conscious ranges, most fast fashion garments are made with synthetic fabrics which are responsible for 0.6 – 1.7 million tons of microfibres end up in the ocean every year. We all know from The Blue Planet II what the impact of plastics is on our sea life, but the fibres also end up in our drinking water and in our food as they do not biodegrade like natural fibres. The fast fashion industry is also responsible for producing 20% of global wastewater. The dwindling resources on our planet cannot sustain such turnover of 'stuff' driven by company policies based on growth and expansion; new stores, emerging markets, ever more lines. The industry emits1.2 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year which is about 5% of global emissions - more than air travel and international shippingemissions combined. Much of this will come from the thousands of fashion miles that are incurred when the products travel across the world to get to our stores.
Most fast fashion (97%) is produced in far off countries which have extremely low wages. Low price fashion often means unethical practices and little transparency. The prices we pay in a fast fashion store do not reflect the true cost of what someone should have been paid, nor the resources used and the environmental damage done. Large fast fashion brands have incredible power, which puts pressure on developing countries to provide goods at rock bottom prices and cut corners on health and safety in order to keep the orders coming in. The speed of production can also lead to long working hours and extreme pressure to hit impossible deadlines. The Rana Plaza tragedy is a prime example of this.
Some fast fashion brands have sustainability schemes such as H&M's 'Closed loop' and ''recycling' schemes. However, with current technologies, it would take 12 years to recycle what the fast fashion industry creates in 48 hours. It is also unclear about how much of these unwanted garments actually get recycled or reused. This seems to be a marketing idea rather than a solution, as it still takes energy and resources to recycle. What happens to what cannot be recycled? The worry here is that so much low grade fast fashion is going out to African countries that their local textiles industries are collapsing. Clothing recycling as with household recycling makes us believe that it's ok to keep consuming at the rate we are without considering it's impact.
The Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry had one main conclusion and that is we need to value our clothes. And high street and fast fashion does not necessarily mean low quality if you choose good pieces that are classic and look after them. However, the majority of fast fashion is not designed for longevity which is one of the principles of circular fashion.
So, I don't believe that fast fashion can be sustainable because of all these issues. Can the big fast fashion brands change their way of working and become more sustainable? Maybe, but I doubt they would want to jeopardise their bottom line. So don't be fooled by clever initiatives and green-washing or that at least they are trying. There are so many other ethical and sustainable brands that deserve our attention that are doing so much more.
#fastfashion #sustainablefashion #ethicalfashion
6 Fashion Brands to avoid
Top 5 Ethical Kids Brands
5 Most Ethical High Street Fashion Brands
Since doing the Who Made my Clothes course last year in association with Fashion Revolution, I have become very curious about the journeys that our clothes make. Take the average cheap cotton t-shirt for example; where did it come from, where did it go to and who did it meet along the way? I took up this tale again in the recent course I did and wanted to explore it further with you here.
The protagonist of this tale is the t-shirt itself, which starts it's life in the cotton fields. Up to 99% of the world’s cotton farmers are from developing countries[i]. The majority of cheap conventional cotton (not organic) is grown in the cotton belt of India[ii]. The 3 largest producing states being Gujurat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Forced and child labour is sadly very common in the cotton industry and India has the highest number of child workers in the world.[iii] You can read more about the children our t-shirt would meet in previous blog posts here and here.
As cotton is traded many times before reaching the factory, tracing where it was grown and picked is incredibly difficult. This is why most UK retailers cannot say whether child labour has been used in their supply chain or not. Furthermore, as conventional cotton uses 24% of global pesticides, 11% of all insecticides and seven out of the 15 most deadly carcinogens known to man it is highly damaging to these cotton workers.[iv]
After harvesting the cotton bales are transported to processors where it is washed and dried in a gin machine that separates the fibre from seeds and chaff. After this the cotton fibres are carded, combed and blended, often at another factory, before being spun. The cotton yarn can then be knitted into fabric which at this stage is rough and grey looking[v]. The next processing stage involves treatment with heat and chemicals until it looks as we see it in the shops, soft and white. Up to 2,700 litres of water[vi] are used to produce the cotton to make this t-shirt as well as up to 250ml of toxic and hazardous chemicals. Read more on this here.
The sewing facility is often in another country. China is currently the largest garment producer in the world[vii], however Bangladesh has the lowest wages at about $65 or £40[viii] a month. As our protagonist is a cheap one, it’s safe to say it probably came from here. At this stage our t-shirt has now travelled over 3190 miles at least, not counting the distance from field to factory and the haulage route before being shipped to the garment factory. Here, the cotton cloth will be cut, stitched and finally pressed until it is the t-shirt we would recognise. You can read more about the people our t-shirt would meet in Bangladesh in a previous blog post here.
Now our t-shirt travels the last part of it's journey as it is shipped to the UK, travelling over 10486 miles by sea. If the major cargo ports[ix] were used in each country on the journey then our t-shirt will have travelled well over 14,000 miles in total to reach its final destination of London, England. As it has travelled halfway around the world it will have met many people along the way. Cotton growers and pickers, processing factory workers, haulage drivers, shipping container staff, machinists and finishers and the retail staff who sell the t-shirt to us. Some of these people are the poorest in the world and their hard labour enables us to buy that t-shirt for very little.
We've all heard of food miles, but maybe we should start thinking about fashion miles too. Buying locally made goods, including fashion, means you can lower your carbon footprint and often the provenance is clearer too. Ethical manufacturers in the UK look after their workers and keep British craftsmanship and skills alive.
The Terrific T-shirt
Wake Up To Child Labour
Who made my Jeans pt2
#fashionmiles #ethicalfashion #fashionfootprint
As part of the online Fashion and Sustainability course, created by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and Kering, that I have just completed, we had to develop our own fashion manifesto and action statement. These are a great way to demonstrate our values, vision and commitments as a sustainable business so thought it would be good to share them with you here. Would love to hear your thoughts on this and hopefully it might inspire you to create a manifesto or statement of your own x
#fashionmanifesto #sustainablefashion #fashionforchange
As an assignment for the Fashion & Sustainability course I am currently doing through FutureLearn, we have been asked to undertake a wardrobe audit. Doing an exercise like this, like a food or money diary, can really make you stop and think about your consumption habits. I decided to share the findings with you to get you to think about just how many clothes you have. I expect it's more than you think!
I have never had a lot of money to spend on clothes, so I was amazed to find that I have over 100 garments in my two wardrobes (spring/summer and autumn/winter) and a nearly another 100 garments in my chest of drawers and coat hooks. This includes nightwear, sportswear and swimwear, but not underwear, shoes or accessories such as scarves etc.
My excuse is that I am fashion designer, so I am naturally a hoarder of clothes! My oldest garment is actually only 14 years old, this is due to the fact I have moved around a lot, so would often give lots to charity while packing to move. Just imagine how many I would have had if I still had those! I still sometimes wish I had kept some of those older items as fashion is cyclical and so some would have come back into fashion.
As I work from home, the clothes I wear the majority of the time are pretty casual; jeans and a jumper (of which I have 18!) mostly. Generally, when I get something new I will wear it all the time and then get bored of it, so most casual stuff gets a lot of wear. At a guess, only about a ¼ of my wardrobe has been worn in the last 6 months. Some items were gifts, some were work samples, some were passed on to me and a couple were my late husband’s that I like to wear to remind me of him. Most of my clothes are from the high street and a lot from fast fashion brands so not of great quality unfortunately.
Sadly, I do have 5 items that have never been worn. Most of these are new, so I haven’t had the opportunity to wear them yet, but the others I shall endeavor to sell and learn from my mistakes! (I have to confess that I already have a pile of clothes to sell that I haven't included in these numbers, oops!) I have always passed on unwanted clothes to charity, clothing banks, store recycling schemes or onto family. I would never put clothing in the waste bin, but I am aware that recycling is not the solution.
I have a big thing for dresses and have over 40 of them, and most of them are summery ones, so in the British climate they don't get out much! I also have 10 coats, and 8 jackets which seems like a lot, but most have particular functions and get worn a lot in our weather (excuses, excuses!). I only have 6 pairs of jeans which is below the average, and in fact I mostly wear one pair nearly all the time! These ethical jeans are the most expensive garment I own, yet cost per wear would be very low. I have 23 casual tops/t-shirts in my drawers (a lot of which seem to be striped) and I also have 25 going out/dressier tops too, so I will have to cut down on those!
I was surprised by how many items I estimate that I have only worn once or twice; 51 garments which is about a ¼ of all my clothes! These are mainly dressier items worn to weddings, funerals or for going out. These seem to be the majority of what I have in my wardrobes, so I am looking at selling on some items on Depop. Some things I am considering adapting in some way to make them more likely to be worn. I have already done this with several items by dying, shortening or changing the fit.
Since the start of 2017 I took up the idea of slow fashion after blogging about it for some time. This meant being really conscious about what I am buying and I can see that has had a big effect. I have mainly bought second hand garments, a couple of high street essentials and a couple of ethical brand items in that time. In comparison to the previous year the number of garments I bought last year has halved as did the amount spent.
I love the idea of having a minimalist capsule wardrobe of classic styles, which is effortlessly stylish and means you don't have to spend ages deciding what to wear. However, as a fashion designer I really need more variety than this. That said, I am trying to buy more classic items now and stay away from trends as these can look outdated very quickly.
The item that holds the most emotional value for me is probably a green floral dress that I bought when we lived in Sweden. I have a particular memory of wearing it to the Midsommar celebrations and dancing around the maypole with my late husband and our son. I have worn it many times since and always makes me feel great and reminds me of happy times.
In the last few years I have been using the Stylebook app on my phone to help organise my wardrobe and plan outfits. You take or download a picture of the garment and input all its details. It will then give you stats on how often you wear them, how many you have, cost per wear, outfit suggestions and what is most and least worn and much more. It also helps me to see what I need to complete outfits and so extend a garment’s wearability, rather than just impulse buying stuff that won’t get worn.
I would like to go into more detail on my wardrobe audit at some point (when I have more time) to see where most of the items are made and what fabrics they mainly are. This would give me a better idea of the social and environmental impact that my clothes shopping has had.
Is your wardrobe bursting at seams like mine? Could you become a more conscious fashion shopper too? Let me know what you think x
#wardrobeaudit #slowfashion #consciousconsumption
Since I have become a more ethical fashion consumer I have begun to realise that, the second-hand, pre-loved or vintage market has so much to offer. Not only are you saving clothes from landfill, you are more likely to get something original that no one else is wearing and if it’s from a charity shop you are helping the needy too – triple win! However, charity shops and the like can be quite overwhelming, so here is some handy advice and tips for how to get the best out of your experience.
There are many places to purchase second-hand fashion, but be aware that vintage and retro sites and stores will be pricier than auction sites or charity shops. Many of these have online shops too now like Oxfam, so check them out first to see what to expect. Local charity shops will have lower prices than larger national charities and look out for their sales too. You could get friendly with the staff and they may let you know when the next sale will start. Locations for charity shops can be an important factor too as a more affluent area will mean better quality and more expensive pieces.
Often people get rid of excess wardrobe pieces when the seasons change, so this can be a good time to shop, especially spring. However, try out charity shops regularly as you never know when good stock is going to be donated. You will soon be able to spot something you like the look of quickly.
Start with knowing your preferred decade, or if you follow trends what decade or pieces that are trending right now. (Vintage is classed as 1970s and earlier and retro is 80s & 90s). Most clothing pre-1960 will be tailored and made to a much higher standard than post 1960s. Lots of synthetics also came in in the 1960s & 1970s, which are not great against the skin, so always feel the texture. Good quality will show in the feel of the fabric too, so will often come from higher end pieces and bear in mind that natural materials tend to last longer.
· Take a list to find what you need rather than browsing.
· Take your own bags, hand sanitizer or wipes.
· Always try it on, as sizing has changed a lot over the years and will often be much smaller than you think or may even have shrunk. Or take a tape measure and know your measurements or hold it up to your hips or shoulders. Most charity shops will accept returns but check first.
· Have a budget and ask for a discount if buying more than one item.
· Wear something that’s easy to change in and out of or wear something that you want to find a matching item for.
· Check for; bobbles, cracking, pulling, fading or stains that can’t be covered, dyed or washed out easily. If you find such faults that can’t easily be fixed you should leave it.
· Check for missing buttons and that zips work, these can be replaced if necessary but may get you a discount if spotted.
· Check for moth, beetle and other insect damage. You don’t want to infect your own wardrobe.
· Check the labels: I have spotted a Dolce & Gabanna jacket for sale on my local high street which disappeared from the window display very quickly! Vintage stores will know what they are doing much more so you are less likely to spot a designer piece for next to nothing but they will still cost you much less than new.
· Look out for timeless classics that are versatile and durable and keep your eyes peeled for that amazing buy.
· Feel the quality, as they are older pieces you need to make sure they still have plenty of wear in them and aren’t going to fall apart as soon as you get them.
· Get good quality as there is no point in buying something that wouldn’t have been much less new.
· Be patient, it can take time to find something you like.
· Keep an open mind, as it may be a lovely item that just needs a hem taking up and shoulder pads can be removed.
· Use your imagination! It won’t look as good as it would styled on a trendy model with the latest accessories.
· Embrace smelly, it can be washed!
· Don’t buy things that are too small and hope to lose weight to get into them, be realistic that they probably won’t get worn.
· Remember to look at other sections. There are often some great belts or oversized knitwear in the men’s section, vintage jewellery and also coats.
· Give them a good wash when you get home or spray dry clean items with vodka to get rid of any nasties before wearing.
Other places to look at are; Ebay, Vinted, Depop and Clothes Shack, Facebook selling groups, dress agencies and car boot sales for kids clothes. There is a list of links below to get you started and my Pinterest board might help too.
bang bang berwick street
#secondhandclothes #vintagefashion #preloved
GUEST WRITTEN BY SHEILA WILKS
Since very young I have always sewed in some form or other. I also enjoy talking with others and have been part of a women's group for thirty years. So, when someone mentioned to me a project run by Oxfam in central Brighton, that consisted of a group of (women) volunteers getting together on a Monday evening to sew and generally play around with donated clothes, I decided to investigate.
In the basement of an Oxfam shop are several 'mountains' of plastic sacks filled with donated items. Spare a thought for the volunteers whose job it is to sort through these. There is a long bench to work at and two sewing machines, bought by Oxfam for the project. Spilling off the shelves are baskets and tins of motifs, lace, buttons and selections of more unusual pieces of material.
On a Monday evening our project co-ordinator has already sorted, or had given to her by shop staff, items that need either repairing or altering in some way to make them more likely to sell. Brighton, having both a large student population and “arty' reputation, has a long history of selling vintage and second hand clothes. I still remember, in my first year as a student here in the 1970s, daringly buying a second hand, sapphire blue velvet waistcoat and matching flared skirt with velvet insets. Bees knees!
The project is a form of heaven for those who love fabrics and enjoy chatting, whilst sewing and drinking tea. Some of the volunteers have brilliant ideas for how to jazz up a dull jacket or dress. It could mean taking a patch from a T-shirt and sewing it onto the back or front of an item. Shirts can be converted into skirts. Long tops can be cut down into mini ones, have lace added or a series or buttons. You can be as imaginative as you want, though it pays to keep an eye on fashions/trends in the local main outlets.
The project has it's own label 'Better the Devil you sew' that is sewn into an item that has been adapted (see photo).
I find the work satisfying on so many levels:
- it feels good to support Oxfam
- I support the idea of recycling cloth and clothing, that otherwise might be thrown away into the huge mountains of clothes waste (I know some goes abroad but there are issues then about the local manufacturers losing out when clothes are exported to developing countries)
- I learn new skills and practice old ones
- I meet other women who share an interest in material and dressmaking
So, check out your local Oxfam and, if you enjoy sewing, talk to them. You don't know where it might lead.
#fashioncustomisation #oxfamfashion #upcycledfashion
It’s that time of year when we look back and reflect on the previous year and think ahead to the new one. For many of us, after the indulgences of the festive period, that often means setting ourselves stringent resolutions which often don’t last. Are resolutions not the right solution then? Changing the way we live in the longer term is possibly more sustainable if done in small, considered steps.
Last New Year I embarked on three changes in my life all based on becoming a more ethical consumer. The major one was the start of my own slow fashion journey, which I’m happy to say I have done pretty well with. I have spent less, been more thoughtful with what I have bought and my purchases have been second hand and from two ethical brands; People Tree and Hiut Denim. I did buy one item from the high street (after much exhausting of other options) and I know I will get the very most out of them. I will admit though, that it was quite tempting after Christmas to see lots of lovely things for sale but I didn’t miss the Boxing Day sales madness!
Secondly, after living on a tight budget for some years I had being buying cheap toiletries and cosmetics but I wanted to switch to only buying cruelty free products. Through this I have discovered some exciting cosmetics brands including Arbonne and Barefaced Beauty and gone back to some old favourites such as Neal’s Yard and Weleda. They don’t always have to be expensive either as UK supermarket own brands are also cruelty free. I have listed these any many more on my Pinterest board.
Lastly I did Veganuary too, which at first seemed quite hard. Already being a vegetarian I was interested in the ethical and environmental benefits to veganism and throughout the year discovered more about its health benefits too. I managed to maintain a mainly vegan diet throughout the year, apart from my Achilles heel, cheese! So this year I have decided to ditch the cheese wherever possible. I have been excited to find this year that there seem to be more vegan options available when out and about. And of course the more it gets requested, the more it will be catered for. Here are some of the recipes I will be trying out.
This year I am adding a couple more life changes that I have been investigating for some time. Firstly, after watching Blue Planet 2 I felt even more motivated to reduce my own plastic and household waste. The Zero Waste movement is gaining momentum right now but I do feel the name is not especially helpful as it is unachievable. However, it will mean changing the way I shop, especially for food due to the packaging and avoiding disposable plastics. I have compiled a Pinterest board on ideas to help any of you who are interested in joining me in this.
Secondly, having a more non-toxic home will also help with reducing waste. Our grandmothers would have been very familiar with using household ingredients such as lemons and bicarbonate of soda for cleaning. Nowadays, we are exposed a multitude of different chemicals that help us clean our home but are also very harmful to our health. I want to go back to using some of those old fashioned recipes to reduce my toxic footprint and also save money. Why not give some a go yourself with some ideas from my Pinterest board?
I would love to hear about what ethical life changes you are making in 2018. Happy New Year!
#slowfashion #crueltyfree #veganuary #zerowaste #nontoxic
A great way to embrace slow fashion is to buy less and of better quality. So how can we do this I hear you ask? Ok readers, so here is the low down on how to assess garment quality.
The first thing to do would be to feel the fabric, does it feel good? How thick is it? Does it wrinkle easily? Does any stretch return to normal properly? Then look at the fabric composition on the wash care label. Natural fibres such as cotton, linen, wool and silk will last longer and wear better on the whole than synthetics which tend to pill and fade. Even fabric with a high percentage of natural fibres such as 60% or more will ensure the garment lasts longer and better.
When trying the garment on does it fit well and not feel like there has been any scrimping on fabric which affects the fit? Do the seams sit smooth and straight and does the fabric hang well? If the garment has been well cut it should sit nicely on the body without it pulling anywhere. The grain of the fabric should be straight unless it’s cut on the bias- meaning that it shouldn’t look wonky or wrinkled in the wrong areas. Also if the print matches at the seams, then more care has been taken over the garment. For children’s clothes also look for more length in the body, arms and legs to allow for growth spurts.
The quicker garments can be made the less they will cost so cutting corners on construction is a common in fast fashion production. Most are not meant to last more than a few washes to encourage us to go out and buy more.
So next, turn the garment inside out and have a good look. Pull lightly at a seam on both sides and check for strong stitching and that there are no wonky lines, snags, puckering, gaps or loose threads. Even and generous seam allowance is another good indicator, as is a good hem allowance of at least 1 ½ inches to allow for letting down. Make sure there are no raw edges and look at how the seams are finished. They should at the very least be overlocked which is where there are thread loops around the raw edges of the fabric. High quality items however would have French, flat felled or bound seams. Here either the seams are turned in on themselves so you cannot see the cut edge of the fabric or covered (bound) with another fabric making them stronger and more attractive.
Look at the stitching to see if there are any broken stitches or clumping, this is an indication that the sewing machine tension was wrong so the garment will not be as durable. The more stitches there are and closer together the better especially for finer fabrics. Are there reinforcements such as bar tacking or top stitching where needed for extra strength? The finer details of a garment such as whether it has lining or not and how well the corners and points are finished are another giveaway. Collar points and cuff corners for example should have had the seam allowance trimmed so there are no lumps and bumps.
Metal zips will always last longer than plastic ones and are less likely to misalign. Are the buttons good quality and sewn on well? Do the buttonholes have tight stitching and a neat slot? Lastly is a spare button or thread provided? This is a great clue that the garment is meant to be looked after and loved.
A final suggestion is to go and look at some high end designer clothing. Of course we can’t all afford to buy such luxury goods but try some on and you will be able to feel the difference. It will then be easier to spot good quality. Great bargains on designer pieces can always be nabbed on online auctions & in second hand shops if you are willing to have a good hunt around.
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