HOW TO: SLOW FASHION




Being that this is a fashion-based blog, you may notice I almost never talk about fashion designers anymore. I used to be up to date with the latest runway shows, designer houses, and trends. Just the other day I found a Vogue magazine in a box with post it notes. Post it notes. 

Now, I just have my favourite(s). Vivienne Westwood has always had my heart. I've been following her for years now and she once said something that stuck with me. When she coined the phrase buy less, choose well, and make it last it was quite controversial — and rightfully so. A fashion designer, who sells clothes for a living, is telling everyone to buy LESS? Yes. Yes, she is. As a public relations professional and raging fan, this intrigued me. I love a rebel. I love people who stir the pot. 


Photo: Getty Images

And while I was intrigued, I also couldn't relate. Yes, it's easy for someone with a lot of money to say choose well — as in buy something of better quality with a bigger price tag — and keep it forever. But this isn't realistic for most people. I think she is encouraging people to save their money, over a period of time that varies to everyone, and purchase something of higher quality and design that will be more sustainable than fast fashion. If this is possible for you, I'd encourage this too. For the rest of us though, I've taken a deeper message from this.


I think we can all agree; As humans on this earth, who depend on the sustainability of the environment to live, it is in our best interest to respect the earth, for ourselves and for the new generation. It begs the question(s). 

How can everyone make better buying decisions? 
How can all of us reduce the amount of clothes that end up in landfills

There are many solutions. Some of which I am sharing today. 

So, how do we buy less, choose well, and make it last?



BUY LESS.

I used to frequent the thrift store a few times per week. I would buy anything I relatively liked. I had so many clothes but nothing to wear. Mostly because I couldn't see what I had. My room smelled of eau de thrift-shop-musk. My closet rail snapped. 

Now, I go thrifting every few months. I also strict-thrift. I'm very, very picky about what I buy. I put a lot of thought and fully inspect the items. I've changed so much and now I don't see the point in buying things just to buy them and sit in my room enjoying free rent. I've also become very aware of what materials my clothes are made of so if I don't love the way they feel, they're an automatic no. 

I found this video really helpful in resisting the urge to shop. My friend and local sustainable fashion blogger Alyssa shares her tips for shopping your closet when you'd rather be at the mall. Especially after scrolling through Instagram or fashion blogs and wanting to shop the trends. I understand the need to feel current and stylish but it doesn't have to be a barrier to buying less.


Dress: Lily Nymph Vintage, $25. Top: Gap, $23. Tights: Marshalls, $6. Boots: Naturalizer, $80. Purse: Marshalls, $50. Earrings: Little Arrow, $25. 

CHOOSE WELL

I'm not saying don't shop. Shopping is one of my favourite things to do and gives me great joy. Bliss, even. I do believe in choosing well, though. Vintage shops, pop-ups and flea markets are the best place to practice this. All of my favourite pieces are vintage. They are SPECIAL. Since they tend to be a little pricier and more eccentric than pieces I find in the thrift store, I take my sweet time deciding to buy or not. When you shop vintage, you're not only getting a piece that is of higher quality materials (generally!) but you're also re-purposing a piece that may have otherwise ended up in a landfill before it's time. Plus, you're supporting local small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

If you're in Ottawa, here are two awesome vintage clothing sales coming up: 

Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show — this weekend! 

Ottawa Vintage Pop Up Shop — November 18 (shop mine and Rosie's closet!)



MAKE IT LAST

Consider what you already have in your closet. Is there something you forgot you had? Is there a blouse that is just missing a button? Is there a pair of jeans that could use some distressing or patches? 

Think of your clothes as people. We need daily maintenance, upkeep and fixing up. We change our nail colour, get hair cuts, and wear different glasses. Your clothes sometimes just need a little makeover. And it can be fun! Make a night of it with friends where you bring a few pieces from your wardrobe and alter them in some way. Share and exchange patches, lace trim, buttons, you name it! And share skills, too. 

Learning the basics of sewing can be the difference between fixing up a garment or having to buy a new one, and have to throw away the old one, adding it to the landfill, etc. Another way to make it last is to do a clothing swap. Look out for swap events in your city or organize your own with friends and coworkers. 



PHOTOS BY LISA KIDD.
Sustainable fashion needs to be inclusive, respectful, and simple. I truly believe we have the power within us to help our mother earth and each other by the actions we take. 

It has to start here, now, small, with you, with me. 




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