In January I wrote about quitting fast fashion and I said I’d keep you updated on my progress, so here goes!
I’ll admit I’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit, especially in the last few weeks as the world’s gone crazy. But prior to that, it was going fairly well and I’m not going to beat myself up about a few slip-ups. I read a good quote about that recently – don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
On the whole though I’ve made a conscious effort to buy less and buy well and, I have to say, my bank balance is definitely thanking me for it!
One of the challenges seems to be finding ethical brands of adult clothing, including looking at what that means. There seem to be quite a few ethical children’s clothing brands, but the selection of adults seems to be smaller. And while lots of brands claim to be ethical or sustainable, but there doesn’t seem to be a common understanding of what that entails or any sort of universal accreditation scheme.
Anyway, a few people have asked me what brands I’ve found, so here’s a few I’ve come across in my hunt for ethical clothing. However, I would say I haven’t purchased from them all so I can’t vouch for quality, and I certainly haven’t examined their supply chains, so this is purely based on their own claims. That said, there are some cool clothes here… (or at least I think they’re cool, but you may totally disagree!) Some are small one-woman-band businesses, others are larger established brands, but have a look and see what you think.
- Boniface Atelier
- Tiny Fibres
- Very Miss Berry
- People Tree
- Sea Salt
- Ninety Percent
- Lucy and Yak
One of the other challenges is that none of these is terribly cheap but that’s part of the commitment to buying less and buying well. If we want to ditch fast fashion and everything that goes with that, we need to start understanding the true cost of clothes. That includes slowly and ethically produced fabric and materials, and properly paid labour and working conditions. Fundamentally, this is going to cost more than cheap, poorly produced and synthetic fibres that are being massed produced in unethical conditions by people who are not paid a living wage.
I think this is particularly relevant in the current situation as we’ve seen large, multi-national retailers refusing to pay manufacturers for goods already produced and shipped. The people who are going to suffer in this situation are the workers – those who live at or below the breadline already. I don’t know about you but I’m not really comfortable with this, and it’s been a real eye-opener for me about which brands are behaving in this way.
Aside from buying ethically of course you can also buy second hand. There are plenty of charity shops to rummage in and the number of online market places has made picking things up online quick and easy. Personally, I struggle to find time to trawl charity shops, especially if I’m looking for something specific. But there are now also a few places where you can buy second hand clothing where charities also benefit – Re-fashion is one, Oxfam also sells clothing online. So you can search from the comfort of your sofa!
Personally, I’m enjoying going back to the concept of having fewer clothes but well-made ones that last and can be worn in a variety of ways. Whilst I’ve sometimes missed the buzz of buying something new, it’s also made me rediscover lots of things I already have in my wardrobe, and look at new ways of wearing things.
So, the overall verdict is there’s always room for improvement, but I feel like I’m making progress and I’m enjoying discovering new brands. If you have any suggestions, comments or feedback, please get in touch!