This week I watched Stacey Dooley’s documentary… and it’s given me a kick up the arse to have a long hard think about how I shop, where I shop and what my actual style is. Being part of the social media generation I hold my hands up and admit that my Instagram account features several fashion bloggers, all of whom on a daily basis stand in front of a mirror taking selfies, looking amazing in their latest fashion finds. I’m not afraid to admit that most of the time I am practically reaching for the bank card and adding things willy nilly to a shopping cart. I have little regard for what this ‘fast fashion fetish’ that we all seem to have is doing to the planet. I’m sure I’m not the only one who suffers fashion FOMO!
Why is it that I will rubgy tackle a stranger to the ground who is drinking out of a single use plastic bottle yet happily allow my daughter to buy the unicorn sequin T-shirt from Primark without a care in the world. Well let me tell you, I have had a long chat with me, myself and I and we have all agreed that not only is this a stupid waste of my cash but it’s also a huge oversight for someone who prides themselves on doing their upmost to be a caretaker of this great planet.
Having admitted that yes, I too am partial to a leopard print dress from Zara, I am not a total hypocrite as I have always been a big vintage clothes shopper. I have several vintage Laura Ashley dresses that I pop on for frock occasions (I know ‘who knew?’ ... that may actually have been an overshare). I love the thrill of finding something unique that nobody else will have and most of the time the cut and the fabrics used are far superior to anything you find in the shops today. I find gems at vintage fairs, carboots and online sites, usually costing pence. I also have lots of accessories all made from recycled or upcycled things, my old tyre clutch bag from RECLAIM Bags is a firm favorite.
As part of my work finding more sustainable designs for our interiors and materials that are made from recycled things – particularly fabrics made from recycled plastics - I have come across several really interesting companies. These businesses are not only super fashionable and sustainable but are like minded in their concern for the planet, so this week I want to share some of them with you...
VILDNIS - Founded on the team’s unwavering desire to drive a trend for sustainable fashion combined with their wish to make a positive contribution to the world. They use environmentally friendly materials and production methods, I love their recycled plastic bottle range.
Riz - Their swim shorts are crafted from Eco-Friendly 100% recycled and recyclable fabric. The founders of Riz set out to build a brand with the aim of creating 'The most beautiful and sustainable swim shorts in the world'. Trendy, sustainable and for every pair of shorts sold they donate £1.00 directly to marine conservation.
Planks Clothing - Planks is committed to being more friendly to people and the planet and they have now incorporated recycled content into over half of their styles; this includes fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles! They really do have the most fashionable looking ski wear, great to have a brand that does not comprise on style for sustainability, having a conscience clearly is cool. You know me and my love of a camo print so super excited to see their new range, if you are off skiing this year choose a brand that actually cares about those amazing mountains.
Adidas Parley - Those of you who follow me on social media will be well aware of my love for recycled bottle swimsuits and trainers. Not cheap, but if you’re going to spend money on a pair of trainers they may as well be made from ocean waste and being kind to the planet at the same time.
Elvis & Kresse - Since 2005 Elvis & Kresse have been rescuing raw materials, transforming them into luxury lifestyle accessories and donating 50% of profit back to charities. They use London's damaged decommissioned hoses from the fire brigade and fashion them into fantastic bags, belts and home accessories saving them from ending up in landfill. One of their bags is on my wish list .
ECOALF - Javier Goyeneche, President & Founder of Ecoalf says ”I believe the fabrics and products of the new generations should be a new fashion/lifestyle brand that integrates breakthrough technology to create clothing and accessories made entirely from recycled materials with the same quality, design and technical properties as the best non-recycled products. That way we show that there is no need to use our world´s natural resources in a careless way”. This brand is leading the way in the style stakes, their coats being particularly stylish.
Teeki - A wonderful brand of which I am an Ambassador, they take water bottles and turn them into clothes, giving them purpose again through an eco-friendly process. Teeki make fantastic clothes for an active and adventurous lifestyle including yoga, gym, workout, surf and dance. I just love the design of their leggings - if you click on this link you can get my ambassador’s 10% discount on all your orders.
Wyatt & Jack – This team create sustainable bags and accessories from up-cycled deckchair canvas, broken bouncy castles and salvaged beach inflatables. I have been loving their #Inflatableamnesty over the summer where people hand over their broken inflatable pizzas and flamingos to be remade into bags. Such a lovely idea and a way of giving things a second life that would otherwise end up in landfill. All made on the Isle of Wight by a small company, super creative and super sustainable.
A few other ideas
Other than making better choices when we ‘buy new’ we can also do a few other things, some of these are not well known at all and are so simple to do. Here is my summary of the easiest;
H&M, The Garment Collection Program is a global initiative where you can drop your bag of unwanted clothing in the recycling box at your local store. All textiles are welcome – any brand, any condition – even odd socks, worn-out T-shirts and old sheets. The textiles are then sent to the nearest recycling plant, where they are sorted by hand. For every bag of textiles you drop off, you’ll receive a £5.00 voucher towards your next exciting purchase – Bloomin’ fantastic!
Oxfam, Tag Your Bag - Sign up to Tag Your Bag and start collecting Nectar points for all those Nectar card holders. Say "NO MORE" to too many pre-loved items. Bag it all up and drop it off at your local Oxfam shop using the personalised tags they send you and for every £1.00 your donation raises you will get 10 points…. That’s amazing.
Marks & Spencers, Swopping - Every item you place in one of Marks & Spencers Shwop boxes helps to put an end to poverty. Your Shwopped items are resold, reused or recycled and allow Oxfam to fund all sorts of vital projects around the world.
Incredibly, since 2008 the M&S and Oxfam Shwopping partnership has collected over 20 million items, worth an estimated £16 million for Oxfam’s work - now that’s so much better than it all just ending up in landfill if you ask me.
So next time you’re clearing a space in your wardrobe, pop any unwanted clothes into your bag and drop them off in a Shwop box at your nearest M&S. It's so easy. Shwopping. Ordinary clothes made extraordinary!
Fashion Reboot - Look out for the next Fashion Reboot event https://www.instagram.com/fash_reboot/?hl=en and join in Buy,Sell,Gather - its fashion with integrity - one person’s trash is another person’s treasure and these events are a great way to swap things that you don’t wear anymore and also find some other amazing second hand pieces.
So, as Stacey Dooley has given me a kick up the arse I hope this blog has carried on to give you all a kick up the arse and question your buying behavior. Just a few changes will make all the difference and I bet somewhere hidden at the back of your wardrobe is that outfit that will make you look and feel amazing… you have just forgotten it’s there!
The more I think about it the more the term ‘Fashion Victim’ has a whole new meaning.
FYI to be clear this is not the look I am advocating………
Happy shopping in your wardrobe!