I love fashion, I really do. I think it’s an excellent way to express yourself. I have always liked art and in another life, I would love to have done interior or fashion design. Art GCSE was a lot of effort but strangely enough, I still miss it. However, I am the first to admit that in the past I have been too casual when it comes to shopping. I would spontaneously buy cheap clothing off sites such as Prettylittlething and Boohoo without much thought.
It was one of my best friends from home that bought this to my attention. She studies fashion design at Westminster in London and has spent the year attending fashion shows, designing in studios and learning everything there is to know about the fashion industry. I’d never given much thought as to where is best to buy clothes, but it turns out it was something I really should have thought about. My friend informed me of the problems with popular online shops like Prettylittlething; they are very harmful to the environment; their clothes are made cheaply and are bad quality and they wildly underpay and mistreat their workers.
I’ve always loved to browse shops like Urban Outfitters or Zara, but I have never really stopped to get anything as to be honest, they were just too expensive. It’s a simple concept really, rather than buying three bad quality tops that would be worn a few times before being thrown in the back of the wardrobe to never be seen again, it is much better to save for something you really like that is better quality and you will get lots of wear out of.
I recently read an article on a site called ‘Who What Wear’ titled ‘What other fashion brands can learn from ASOS and Urban Outfitters’. It outlined the steps that both were taking to be more eco-friendly. ASOS launched ‘ASOS Eco Edit’ where every piece of clothing sold must meet at least one of several sustainable objectives, making sure that everything they sold contributed to sustainable business practices. Similarly, Urban Outfitters’ ‘Urban Renewal’ line was launched where every piece sold was either remade, vintage or recycled to help reduce waste.
For Christmas, I asked for items of clothing that I really wanted from my family and I made sure to choose only a few things that I really liked and from stores that were taking steps to become more eco-friendly. Before I did this however, I had a big clean out of my wardrobe. I had so many clothes that were slightly ripped or that I simply just didn’t wear. I had so many old tops from the age of 13 that were just stuffed at the back of my wardrobe and draws. It took me some time, but it was definitely worth it. I got rid of a lot of clothes and sorted them into piles.
There are lots of options for what you can do with your old clothes. You could offer them to friends, take them to local charity shops, take them to recycling banks or even take them into shops. H&M and M&S both run a recycling scheme where if you bring a bag of clothing in they will take it to be recycled and in return give you a £5 shopping voucher. If you really wanted to sell your clothes you could also do it yourself, using sites such as depop. I did a mixture of all these things with my clothes and encouraged some of my friends to do the same.
Now I am happy to say that I have significantly less clothing and the things I do have will last me a long time as I really like them and so they will get lots of wear. Sustainable fashion is not something I had given a lot of thought to but after listening to friends who are entering the fashion industry and reading up on the issue, I believe it’s extremely important to be aware of where we are getting our clothes from and not to be too wasteful.
The Durham University Charity Fashion Show (DUCFS) takes place on 30th January – 1st February at Rainton Meadows Arena. This year they are supporting STOP THE TRAFFIK a pioneer in human trafficking prevention and Fashion Revolution who work to unite individuals and organisations to change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed.
Find out more about DUCFS here.