Fast Fashion Fast (ish)

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

I signed up to the Fast Fashion Fast back in June to see if I could go three months without buying anything from the high street. Those of you who read my Buyer's Archive posts will know that I tripped and fell, purse first, into a few.

Taking part made me look at my spending habits, and whilst I have purchased some high street items during the challenge, I'm happy with what I purchased (pictured above) and don't feel too bad about 'failing'.

Because I don't feel like I've failed.

What I have done is reminded myself of what I've known and felt all along. That as consumers we have a huge amount of power to influence the industry by speaking with our wallets. If we buy less, and wear what we have more and for longer, we create less demand, less demand means fewer items ending up in landfill, and less demand on the garment worker at the beginning of the line, not to mention less pollution in the process.

I don't think ethical fashion holds the answer, certainly not yet. I think the price is prohibitive for many and the availability, whilst improving, isn't great. And even when these things improve I don't believe that it will ever take the place of the high street store, but I do hope that one day ethical clothing will make up a greater proportion of the clothing market. Alongside this I hope to see high street and fast fashion stores improving their working practices, closing the gap between them and ethical fashion brands.

In the meantime I've made a promise to myself. To buy a brand new item only if I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I will wear it 30 times or more (I'm already keeping a tally). This is inspired by Livia Firth, and was the catalyst for my #30Wears mini challenge.

Recently I read this article, about reducing waste within the clothing industry.

One statistic was this 'A survey commissioned by Sainsbury’s last spring found that 235m items ended up on landfill sites as people readied their wardrobes for summer.'

235 million items. In landfill. In spring. In the UK.

The same survey by Sainbury's revealed some surprising statistics on recycling, 'The study also uncovered the reasons people do not donate or recycle clothing, with 49% saying they did not think they could because the clothes were worn out or dirty. A further 16% said they did not have time to visit a charity shop, or could not be bothered to sort items, while 6% did not realise clothing could be recycled.'

If you feel you have to buy a particular item, I can't understand why you'd simply throw it in the bin rather than donate it. If it's no longer wearable it can still be recycled, although as the article explains this isn't as straightforward as it might seem, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't bother. Of course the obvious answer is not to buy it in the first place.

So, what started out as an interesting experiment ended in a renewed enthusiasm to 'do my bit' - to buy only what I know I will wear, to buy the best quality I can, to wear my clothes for longer, and to continue to donate and recycle what I no longer need / use / fit into. And I'll continue to buy pre-loved clothes and show that they can be as exciting as a shiny new purchase, right here on this very blog.

I will never apologise for being seen in the same outfit twice, which is something that seems to happen frequently in blogland. I'm not ashamed for featuring clothes I've worn before on my blog. I like to find new outfit combinations for my favourite items, mixing old favourites with new (or new to me) items. I consider nothing in my wardrobe to be disposable, I want to wear every item again, and again, and again.

#onlybuyitifyouloveit #wearitagainandagain

Further reading : Love Your Clothes

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  1. That's a lovely photo of you and your purchases.
    I think you've got it just right, buy it, love it and keep wearing it. Fashion's only disposable if you chose it to be.
    There really is no excuse for not donating your unwanted stuff to charity, if you think it's tatty then mark it as RAGS on the bag and the shop staff will put it with the other rags, not waste time sorting it and get paid by the kilo for it.
    Most supermarkets seem to have charity bins on their car parks - people who stick their old clothes in the bin, destined to be landfill should be fined. xxx

    1. 'Fashion's only disposable if you chose it to be.' yes! Exactly. This is why I don't feel too bad about my high street purchases, I intend to wear them again and again.
      I'd never thought to label rags as rags, I'll do that in future.
      I was so surprised at the recycling statistics, horrified that people 'couldn't be bothered'. A fine is a good idea, there's really no excuse not to recycle anything if it can be

  2. The 30 wears challenge is such a great idea! I was only thinking this morning that I make far too many rash purchases that don't then get used, and as such can't then afford things I know I'll wear to death- time for me to rethink as well! x

    1. It's an interesting thing to do, it's hard to know how many times something has been worn. To wear my green skirt 30 times in three months I had to wear it 2-3 times a week, over a year it's 2.5 times a month which doesn't seem that much but most people (myself included) reach for the same items time and time again, ignoring the everything else hanging in our wardrobes. I doubt there are many people who wear everything in their wardrobes twice every month! That's a real challenge! Xx

  3. I don't think you have failed either, as you are able to justify each and every one of your high street buys! I never ever throw any clothing away. Anything I no longer love or no longer fits goes to charity, the rest is going in one of the textile containers which you can generally find in most towns or in supermarket car parks! There's even a two monthly collection of unwanted textiles here, but still a lot of people can't be bothered, which is such a shame. xxx

    1. I was so surprised by the recycling statistics, obviously landfill isn't the only issue with the disposable culture but I just thought people would be more aware and would care more about what ends up in landfill.

  4. I think this is a great attitude towards buying new things, I know I make the occasional new purchase, but I wonder if I wear those new things 30 times- I will try to from now!
    And I like seeing you blog about your clothes worn in different ways, it's more true to real life that way :)

    1. Clothes are made to be worn, so I don't see why some bloggers and the media make it out to be such a bad thing!
      I'm finding the 30 wears thing really interesting, some things I know I wear more - jeans, my navy jumpers, but there are some things that I've had for years, that I really couldn't say have been worn more then 10 times, let alone 30.

  5. P.S. My local council picks up clothes from recycling kerbside, I just put it in a bag labelled clothes for recycling and it goes out with the wheely bins and into special slots in the side of the recycling lorry (there's slots for batteries and lightbulbs too) I wish it was more common across the country because it would save a lot of landfill!

    1. That sounds perfect, I wish ours was the same. I take things in good condition to charity shops, anything a bit tatty gets put in recycling bins at local supermarkets. It doesn't take much effort but being able to leave it at the end of the drive would be so much easier!

  6. Even scruffy clothing can be used as rags which I note Vix has said too. It is is shocking that sheer indolence leads people to put it in landfill! I never usually put any clothing in the bin. My odd socks got used as stuffing by year 2 for the felt fish they made. That said, I did chuck a pair of tights in the bin the other day but I should've cut them up for stuffing too!

    1. I was shocked at the landfill stats, I always try to see if something can be recycled before putting it into the bin. Sometimes I mindlessly throw something away, like you with your tights, but I feel dreadful afterwards.
      I have a few bin bags of old curtains and pillows that really aren't any good, but you've given me an idea about re-using the stuffing, everything else will be donated for rags.


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