Tuesday, 5 November 2013

eco thoughts

flow chart image via |the note passer|

i've started, abandoned, deleted and re-started this post so many times i've lost count. it's going to be rambly, but i hope it makes some sort of sense. i'm not trying to rant or preach, and i'm not saying i have any answers, but it's just me thinking aloud.
for the last 2 years, i have had a pact with myself to buy second hand as much as possible and live as thrifty & eco friendly a life as possible. this has grown and changed over time and even though i've briefly touched on it before, i've never really explained myself and would like to try.

studying fashion design opened my eyes to the world of fast fashion, and i consequently interned for some awesome ethical brands which was amazing. i learnt about the processes from the conception of a design all the way through to hand sewing in care labels before they appeared in store. doing all of that ethically, in every aspect you can think of, is really, really hard. but it shouldn't be. these days when i stumble across an eco brand, or someone who actually specifies the manufacture of their clothing openly, i feel elated - but i hate the fact that these companies are in the minority because of the impacts of fast fashion.
but back to uni. so, i realised that i really cared about the impact i was having on the industry, and knew i wanted to change. i stopped shopping in high street stores - though i will openly admit that i didn't go cold turkey. any purchases i did make from the high street i thought about like in the flow chart above. any clothes prior to this decision i kept and wore until they were either threadbare or didn't fit, and from there i sent them to charity shops or recycled the material into craft projects etc.

second hand shopping had already become a huge love of mine at uni as we had to cut up clothing to reconstruct it and super cheap shirts are always a given in charity shops. there is nothing better than finding something in a charity shop or at a car boot sale that fits you perfectly, or that you really love, for such a small price. and then when you consider the fact that you are also giving to charity and recycling an item, it feels even better.
since uni, thrifty shopping has become the norm in my life, and i love nothing better than a saturday morning mooch never knowing what i'll find. some of my favourite clothes, bags and even furniture have been bought second hand, and i love that!

the amount of waste in the clothing industry makes me want to cry. the unfair working conditions and wages is even worse. it's wrong. it shocks me to think that so many people out there think that clothing is disposable - buying a dress for one night out and then binning it - why?! i don't know if people just don't think about where the clothes come from and who makes them, or if they just don't care. the factory collapse in bangladesh this year was another in a long line over recent years, and it's so so sad to see. i cannot even begin to articulate what goes on behind the scenes of fast fashion, but i will (again) recommend |"to die for: is fashion wearing out the world?" by lucy siegle| because it has opened my eyes so much. the consumerist world that we live in has sent the production and manufacture of fashion insane. it's a horrible, vicious cycle and i don't know how it will be solved. all i know is that i care about it, and i want to do whatever i can to change it. i'm aware that i have barely scratched the surface with so many of these issues, but i just wanted to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard?? doesn't quite have the same ring to it!).

if you want some inspiration for ethical shopping, |sadies wardrobe| is an amazing blog full of the best ethical brands and shops.
|moral fibres| is a newly discovered blog for me, but has tips on eco friendly living from the best ethical banks, to choosing the best tights.
and if you want inspiration for recycling and making your own clothes, |so zo, what do you know?| is a seriously inspiring blog. i am always bowled over with zoe's makes, and love how committed she is to having a "me-made" wardrobe.

i'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts on this, and i'm also thinking about compiling lists of my favourite ethical brands as well as favourite second hand shops in brighton. if you're interested in this then let me know :)


  1. I'd be very interested in a list of second hand shops that are actually good, I have real trouble find anything when I go second hand or 'vintage' shopping. I'm not currently an ethical shopper on purpose, but when I buy things I keep them for years, and even if I don't everything gets donated either to my mum or to cancer research once I'm done, so hopefully I'm doing as little harm as possible

    Really great post, it's refreshing to come across something so different in the blogosphere xxxx

  2. I loved this post my friend. LOVE LOVE LOVED it and I say YES SHOP ON . WE ALL UNITE

  3. Fab post Skye! I definitely need to start shopping more ethically, not only good for the wider world but it generally is better value for money shopping this way. My only problem is working in retail, I need to be wearing clothes we have in store as a way of advertisement =/ but that definitely shouldn't stop me from being ethical elsewhere!

  4. Great post Skye! I know what you mean about finding it hard to write this post, I had the same problem when I did a similar one. I think there is so much to be learned from books like the one you mention, it's hard to get it all into one post!

    I did a similar thing a few years ago where I stopped buying clothes from high street shops, but i did find it incredibly difficult, and now I do shop at them again, but only in moderation! I think that the key would be in getting the high street shops to change, but I guess this can only be done by raising more awareness with the general public.

  5. Great post SKye, glad to hear you spreading the word! I'd love to do this properly; in fact, I want to learn to sew properly so I can make ALlll my own clothes from re-used fabric- that's the dream! I'd love for you to share ethical shop knowledge :) xx


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