How to Dress Like an Elegant Rebelle.
The changing seasons are an excellent time to think about freshening up your style.
This year, why not make everything you wear an expression of the love that you hold for the earth and humanity?
The fashion industry that employs one-sixth of the world’s population is riddled with issues such as fast fashion, toxic chemical use, forced labour and waste. Let’s become conscious consumers and demand a fashion industry we can be proud of.
The responsibility to change fashion is shared between the fashion industry, governments and us. What we buy or demand makes an enormous difference to what is made.
There is a whole vocabulary building up around ethical fashion, with phrases such as pre-loved, upcycled, organic and fair trade. It’s important that we all start to understand what these mean and ensure this is the future of fashion.
Clothes are an important part of our daily life. We have the opportunity to affect millions of people’s lives and to protect our environment by how we shop and what we wear. Rules are made to be broken, but by following these you can make a difference:
1. Ask yourself if you really need something new, or if you can wear something in a different way to make it feel fresh. If you are buying it, think about what you have that you can wear it with so you don’t need any new accessories.
2. Try and set a limit for how many things you buy a year. Make it the right number for you.Think of how many things you usually buy every month or year and then take off at least a quarter. Or even halve it — you don’t need as much as you think.
3. Research ethical designers (Ethical, Eco, Sustainable, Green are generally interchangeable words). There are so many designers with exciting collections that are using intelligent design and pushing the production boundaries. Read online magazines and eco-fashion blogs to keep up to date with the latest developments.
4. Support small local designers. In a world that is increasingly global, it’s hard for local artists to compete with the high street. But the things that they create are special, original and come with a low carbon footprint.
5. Buy something organic, or made from a new fabric, such as from soybean, nettle or milk. They are not as harmful to the earth and the farmers as more common fabrics, such as non-organic cotton which involves heavy pesticide use.
6. Have a wardrobe clear-out and give your unloved pieces to your local charity shop. Research the best clothing banks to donate to.
7. When buying something new, ask the shop/designer what is not on the label. These might include what it is made from, where it was made and who by. This way you learn about the story of your clothes and if the designer or brand hasn’t thought about it, you are helping change the industry by reminding them to do so.
8. Get out your sewing machine and customize something old (maybe two or three things) into something new. Sewing machines are not as hard to use as you think they are. If you don’t think you can do it yourself, find a sewing class, or ask your gran!
9. When buying something new, think of how long you will like it for. Is it a keeper or something you will only wear once? Try and buy something that you will wear often, even if it is special.
10. Buy something that is fair trade. The Fairrade certification guarantees that producers have been paid a fair price for the material. Note that if they have written fair trade as two words, then they don’t have the official certification (although they might be implementing fair trade practices).
11. Rent or borrow something instead of buying something new. It’s a great feeling when you wear something belonging to a family member or a friend, and it makes them happy to see you enjoying it too. If they don’t have your taste, try a designer rental service.
12. Have fun with it! Ethical fashion is all about discovering the stories behind the fashion and changing lives, not to mention helping our planet. So explore, experiment and enjoy yourself.
As Diana Vreeland said, “The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”