Fast fashion is killing our planet - Shop Vintage instead
Every year, around 80 billion garments are produced worldwide. When we purchase an item of clothing, we know little about who made it, how it was made and what the real cost is to the people who made them and to the environment.
Every one of our wardrobes is tainted. Seduced by fast fashion and having something new to wear, with bargain prices, we have lost sight of the fact its production has brought working conditions to the developing world that were outlawed in Western countries a century ago.
Fashion should be fun – it should excite and inspire you. But definitely should not exploit the workers. Poor working conditions are not the only reasons for re-thinking how you shop. Its manufacturing is draining the planet’s natural resources.
Cotton production uses millions of gallons of water that is leaving vast areas of sea dried out. The toxic fumes created by the plastics used to produce many items (polyester, nylon and acrylic), are leaving whole villages uninhabitable.
We throw out tonnes of clothing that ends up in landfill when we get bored with wearing them. A survey for Oxfam and M&S found that one in 10 of us admitted to wearing just 10% of our wardrobe and estimated that there were 2.4 million garments hanging in our collective wardrobes.
What can we do?
We have a duty to future generations to think about what we are buying and really consider if we are purchasing out of need or desire. If one million women bought their next item of clothing second-hand we would save six-million kg of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere!
If shopping in charity shops or vintage shops is a bit out of your comfort zone, then maybe think about designer consignment stores and Etsy or Ebay for vintage. Many charity shops are stocking their shops with pre-loved designer pieces and the merchandising is far removed from charity shops of old.
Shopping second-hand and vintage will not only help to save the planet but will give you an individual look. Buying clothes that don't harm the planet is becoming a higher priority – almost a fashion in itself.
Stacey Dooley long before she was known as the winner of Strictly Come Dancing, was investigating the iniquities of fast fashion. In ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’, she uncovers the shocking environmental impact caused by an insatiable appetite for cheap clothing.
Bea Johnson has been running Zero Waste Home project for a decade. She lives with as few items as possible and this includes her wardrobe. She has pledged to buy only second-hand clothes and update her wardrobe twice a year. Caroline Jones author of Knickers Models Own has documented her journey in buy second-hand clothes on her Instagram feed.
Fashion Revolution is a non-profit global movement that campaigns for systemic reform of the fashion industry and the greater transparency of the supply chain - #whomademyclothes. Charity Fashion Live recreates fashion trends and is now part of London Fashion Week. There is nothing new in fashion, designers take inspiration from the past for their collections, so instead of buying into the fast fashion frenzy get your fashion fix second hand.
So how can you get a touch of vintage into your wardrobe? Karen James Welton aka Fabulous Miss K gives us her tips on how to make vintage part of your everyday wardrobe.
Vintage items are just clothes at the end of the day and can be worn in exactly the same way as piece you would buy from a high street stores, just because they are old makes no difference to where and how you can wear them.
A 60's shift dress worn with opaque tights and boots is perfect work wear, find a fabulous 70's maxi, mix it with strappy sandals for summer or layer it with a polo neck underneath for winter
Wear an oversize print shirt over your jeans or a pussy bow blouse with your work wear to glam it up a bit. Try one in lurex or sparkles for some bling at night.
A simple and easy way to add some colour into your outfits - wrap a small square around the handle of your bag or wrist as a novel bracelet, use a long scarf as an alternative to a belt around your waist.
Throw a faded denim over your summer dress or find a Chanel style one and mix it with your jeans. An 80's sequin jacket will dress up your outfit for an evening out.
Build up a collection of costume pieces that will add instant bling to an outfit - brooches can be worn high on the shoulder to bring light to the face, wrap a cardigan around you waist and fasten with a big stone, add one to waist of a dress or to a simple wool hat. Cuffs are great to add a statement to any outfit – buy them in lots of colours and styles and wear a few together. Vintage necklaces to add impact to a simple white shirt or polo neck sweater
The 80's pleated skirt is everywhere from high street to designer so grab an original. 70's A line skirts work on any body shape so pick them up in plain and prints – wear them with a simple shirt or sweater or add a pussy bow blouse for a cool take on the latest trend.
And finally, why carry the latest “it bag” when a cool vintage one is so much better made and individual.