You Say You Want A Revolution

A top I crocheted, using acrylic yarn from Woolcraft which is made in the U.K

I'm a little late to the #FashionRevolution party, but as I was having trouble with my computer. It's been impossible to blog, but basically in April they have a week of asking who made our clothing. Who it was made by, what is it made of, how much wear are we going to get from it. It's a minefield of a topic, as it has knock on effects beyond what were shown and I can understand why sometimes it's easier just to pretend. As you know I've always loved to thrift/charity shop, and as I hoard I've always worn most of my clothing. But I'm as guilty as anyone, of being so caught up in the garment it's self that these questions are far from my thinking. I want this to change. 

At one point probably in the 00s due to celebrity influence, it was considered cool if you never wear ANYTHING more than once. Magazines would shame those that did, and those circles burned into our brains. We weren't questioning, and I guess we assumed that our clothing came from a magical place where fairy godmothers waved their wands and they came to life. There wasn't as much access to instant information, you couldn't go on the net to google these things dial up was nobodies friend. Of course there were books in the library, but no one was really writing about these issues. There was plenty on how things were made, but I can tell you know they were not rocking boats. They were garment based and people making the garments weren't the main focus. This was miles apart from past generations, that had no choice but to make do and mend. That had limited amounts of clothing, but really took the time to look after everything they owned. 

But as our planet is sliding it's way into using up everything we have, more and more have questioned. How much water and other natural resources it takes to make these throw away goodies. More and more have said 'this won't last forever'. After news papers are splashed with more news, of garment factories caving in and leaving people dead. Where does this madness end. None of my clothing is worth someones life, but each is an hour a day where someone, somewhere has made it for me. After reading Laurens post ' I quit the high street for a month and made my wardrobe work harder instead.' which is brilliant and you should all definitely give it a read. I thought I would share my thoughts on why I shop the way I do, and how you can shop more guilt free. 

My Journey 

The reason I started shopping in charity shops, had nothing to do with garment workers. I was 15 and from a single parent family. I did get some cool hand me downs from my fashionable auntie. But money was tight, my mum treated me on birthdays, but most of the time she didn't have it. With a tenner to my name (which I still don't know how my mum managed to give me bless her), if I wanted something 'new' it was the only place I could shop. Like I said there was no information than and no one questioned who made this. It was the 90s, and a lot of brands were still U.K based, Primark and places come later and back than sold out of trendy sportswear. Charity shops were fun, I would always find something cool. Even now I don't have a heap of money to spend on clothing, I'd rather spend it on my boys. The difference is now I do question, over the years I shop less and less on the high street. Once every other month, I'll buy a limit of five items and I've found that most of the time I don't even hit my limit. I am as guilty as anyone of owning items that I know are not ethical in any shape or form, but I want to change this.  

At one point when I had my first job, I didn't stop spending. I would go into a shop and spend my whole pay cheque, because I wasn't use to having so much money. I was never thinking about it, I just bought because I could. Now this has become a way society shops. This frenzied buying, with no real reason why. But I love that some the blogging community are fighting back. I want to be part of this, no ones saying don't shop but how you shop does and will make a difference. More and more retailers are having to talk more and more about what they pay garment workers. Where garments are made, and we can even watch videos of the effect this has on the people and our world. I love to sew and crochet, and more and more I'm investing my time and energy into both. Even if I'm upcyling my old clothing, while it's great to make things from scratch if you can give new life to what you have and get more wear from it than go for it.

How Can We Shop Better 

Reducing how much we shop is key, trust me I know it's hard but once you start cutting back. When you go out and buy something, it really is a treat. I use to shop every single day, now I think about how much time I wasted looking at clothing, when I could have been doing something else. If you shop online, than remove apps from your phone for a while if it's not easy than you less likely to want to shop. If you prefer to online shop, save into your basket as much as you can. Yes some things will get away, but more often than not you can find them on EBay and depop. I've found that more than half the stuff I've saved I get fed up of seeing within a month. New and shiny, is always going to be appealing. Knowing what you love and what you actual wear is worth noting. Buying a heap of dresses when you mainly wear jeans, is pointless. Buying into what you wear more,  has helped me reduce my wardrobe it may take time but you will start to notice that getting ready becomes easy and you don't need as much. 

I've found planning time to shop has helped me, and if I buy something new than something has to go maybe to a friend. As even with donating and recycling as fab as they are,  we can be effecting local trade in other countries. It's so tricky, but as Lauren mentioned in her post ' Don't give up'. Upcyling what you have can also be great for stopping you spending, there are hundreds of D.I.Y videos on YouTube and you can honestly make some amazing things from your old clothing. 

Thrift more and invest in more vintage, if we all slow our spending on the high street maybe they will start to understand that we don't need a billion collection a week. Our high street shops proved jobs and it's important that people don't lose those. But if we support our charity shop, we get fab items and give to charity. I have a guide on how to shop charity shops like a proIf we shop for more vintage, we give new life to clothing that has a story. I love finding handmade pieces, that someone sat and sewed their own garments. They made their clothing. You can find plenty of amazing vintage on EBay if your on a tighter budget, I tend to question how much I would wear it also how you can clean it. Items that are dry clean only, will often not get worn much. 

Fair trade, yes you maybe paying more. But if you have the money why not, knowing that you're clothing has helped someone. They are getting more fashion forward and fair trade doesn't have to mean wearing anything less than fabulous. It helps us to break the habit of more is more, and investing into a garment of better quality that you can get plenty of wear from. Here's a list of retailers. 

Independent designers, you know first hand who has made your clothing. There are more and more people launching their own business, and it's wonderful to see. Yes it's not going to be within everyones budget, as we must remember and understand that it's going to cost more to run a busy in the U.K. But it supports local business, proves jobs and you know where your clothing has come from. 

The main thing is wear more, make do and mend and shop less. We have to move anyway from our wear it once and throw it away society. It's not about having more or less money, we can all help to slow fashion down. To question and expect answers from those that sell us the 'lifestyle dream'. To what to know about those that make our garments, and while we can't magical fix things. We can start to make retailers, work harder to provide their workers with safe places to work and pay them a fair wage. When we talk about these issues we can be left feeling guilty about everything. It's not easy, but the more we talk and the more we make these little changes a bigger change will happen. Don't give up, and do what you can. What are your tips for shopping more ethical? How are you managing your wardrobe? 

No comments

Thank you for your comments, I really do love hearing from you x