Summer of Sustainability: Slow Fashion
To celebrate my joining Remake as an Ambassador and to mark the beginning of Summer, I want to write about sustainability in fashion and jewellery. That's a really fundamental part of who I am, why Maverick Musing exists, and so I want to share and learn with you. I recently read an article by sloww.co and it inspired me to muse over ‘slow’ fashion as the start of the sustainable fashion series. My first jewellery collection was 100% upcycled and recycled from a collection of seconds hand beads and jewellery. The findings used, I purchased as deadstock from other jewellery makers. My second collection is almost ready, a combination of deadstock jewellery that was made in England in the 90's, recycled beads and broken bracelets and vintage silver charms. Some of the deadstock is beautiful, so Maverick Vintage Jewellery is born, in order to preserve perfectly beautiful vintage jewellery, some items will be sold as is.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, most retailers shut and though online shopping soared, we have all been given a chance to slow down and really look at what and why we do and buy. Now that lockdown has ended, shops have begun to reopen, and high street brands are competing. Sales are on and prices are being slashed, discounted stock leaves the question, who's paying the True Cost for your fast fashion?
Before the pandemic, fast fashion supported many workers who were not well-paid in the first place. Brands, on mass, have cancelled and postponed orders, leaving millions of garment and factory workers from LA to Bangladesh without wages, and a way to feed their families. In response, Remake launched a petition on March 30th demanding brands #PayUp and Remake's work to change legislation for LA garment workers, is so important because these are the truly skilled, mainly women being compensated the lowest for making our clothes. In Leicester, UK, the spikes in coronavirus are being linked to the modern day slavery and exploitation of workers rights in factories in the UK. Brands such Boohoo, Nasty Gal and Pretty Little Things, all online fast fashion retailers, are as bad as Fashion Nova or high street retailers who benefit from globasitaiton and exploitative workers practices in factories in places like Bangladesh and Pakistan.
I am writing this because it is important that you the client know what the fashion industry you buy into is. At times like this, we have to know what we are buying into. Take a look at the brands you buy and take stand too. Now you know you have the power and opportunity to consciously do a little better. What does that mean for you the wearer, client and customer? If you are like me, you probably already have a closet of perfectly worn beautiful things.
Here are 4 things you can do to slow down as the world starts to speed up again:
1. Buy less, shop smart
For some, retail therapy is a real thing. To others, shopping is organised, coordinated and efficient. Where ever you fall on the spectrum, think about looking for sustainable options. If it were up to me, we would all be naked and simply wear jewellery and shoes for the fun of it, but alas! I am not a politician.
When you do go shopping, think quality, uniqueness and wearablilty over quantity, and try to shop less frequently.
And of course, shop second hand and vintage first. The items you find there have already lasted longer than that new fast fashion thing!
2. Your currency is like a vote when shopping & buying
Everything we watch, eat, consume, the media, tv, the news, has a consequence. If so many people didn’t want to keep up with the Kardashians, Donald Trump wouldn’t be president, I am certain these two things correlate.
When you make a purchase you’re making a decision to support a brand or an independent, cooperative, a person, a corporation, an artisan, underpaid factory workers, retail staff, shareholders, a political agenda etc.
Do you you know who you’re supporting when you buy your fast fashion? Or luxury brands?
Ok, so you may know the founder, designer, creative but do you know who graded the patterns, cut the fabrics, sewed the seams, hand-stitched your buttons? Do you know who made your clothes from that online fast-fashion boutique?
This isn’t to knock anyone’s AliExpress hustle, it's just, many factories around the world are not ethical, although some, such as Sekem are deep rooted in their sustainability practices but are you buying clothing from a company who hasn’t paid up?
Curate and Collect, Don’t Rotate
Hearing that Day one post-lockdown people were queuing on UK high streets outside Primark really frustrated me. This can’t be the new normal. After 3 months in lockdown, we’ve all earned ourselves something that will last a lifetime. The Primark item you bought on a Monday in June will probably need to be replaced by December - and that’s if you’re lucky!
All I’m saying is, clothes like jewellery can last years - decades even. I have seen many a garment in shops and museums that are hundreds of years old. And let’s not forget that UCL Petrie Museum has the oldest woven garment, known to man.
When choosing your clothes never think trend. Think timeless, classic, elegance, colour, uniqueness, detail, fabric, lining, actually look at the quality of the clothing you buy and wear. Think real fashion and curate your own unique style. Let your jewellery do the talking, a statement necklace and a beautiful ring, can do a lot for you on a bad day.
Reuse Remake Recycle
And so with all this in mind, once you do buy something: keep it, take care of it, repair it, upcycle it. Love it! It doesn’t mean you’re materialistic; you appreciate the value of your possessions. By extending the life of your clothing and jewellery you extend their value.
Today more than ever we should see that everything has value and that nothing should be disposable. The new normal is a great unknown, so everything may slow down for a time. I’m taking a visible step and have pledged to 90 days no new clothes, as I only buy second hand this is an easy challenge but I am happy to support Remake and take a visible stand, and share.