I focused my attention on clothes and fashion in Feb and March with the intention on learning more about the problems with this industry, and to try to be more sustainable when it comes to clothes/fashion in my own life.
I really enjoyed doing a deeper dive into this area. On the learning piece, I think The True Cost (which is available to watch on YouTube) is by far the best documentary for explaining the problems with the fast fashion industry; environmental, health and social justice issues. It was about my fourth time to watch it and it never fails to make an impact. The Rana Plaza collapse and the unethical working practices in garment factories is really heart wrenching.
I watched the Textile Mountain Film for the first time which explored the sale of second hand clothes to developing countries. It looked at the massive waste issues this is causing as well as the detrimental impact to local businesses.
I also listened/re-listened to various podcasts and webinars. I can recommend the fashion related podcasts done by The Book of Leaves, The Climate Ambassador and The Climate Queens. Also the Green Fridays 4 Future webinar with The Useless Project is was also well worth watching. It is full of information on the problems and on the solutions.
Learning about the detrimental impact of the fast fashion industry not only on people’s lives and health but on the environment is really overwhelming at first. Initially when I watched The True Cost (around 4 years ago), it didn’t really sink in that my fashion purchases was contributing to this problem. But now I have fully digested it and the message is really simple – our over consumption of clothes needs to stop and that the business of making clothes needs to change for the better. People should not be dying so that we can wear the latest trend. Workers need to be paid a living wage and to work in safe and healthy working conditions.
So what next? Personally I’m not going to be buying any new clothes this year. I already got through January, February and March without needing to buy anything new. I will be wearing all the clothes that I already own, looking after them and caring for them. That said, I will continue to explore pre-loved fashion. While I have been in a lot of charity shops in the past year or so, I have been primarily focused on the homeware and books. So I’ve enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone and looking at the clothes in a new light. I went on a charity shop crawl with a friend which was very enjoyable. I also bought a gorgeous Phase Eight dress on Depop for €16 (including postage) which I wore to a friend’s wedding. I was absolutely delighted with it.
I love the pin and brooch that I bought from 100 Percent Re-loved. I will continue to wear it when I am showing off some of my pre-loved clothing purchases. Hopefully it will help to open up the conversation about buying pre-loved and try to dispel any stigma or misconceptions.
On caring for my clothes and prolonging the life of our clothes, I’ve been educating myself on care instructions and following them! I’ve been drying clothes on my clothes horse instead of using the dryer. I’ve also invested in a beautiful darning mushroom to help with mending my clothes.
When it comes to the Climate Ambassador programme and my climate actions this year, I do have thoughts about doing some sort of event focused on fashion. Since starting to look at clothes in charity shops, I do think the larger sizes that I wear, are in short supply. So will be exploring this idea more in the coming months. X