Happy New Year!
The start of the year always seems like a good time to review the past and plan for the future. With so much going on to raise concern over climate change, now is a great time to look at the environmental impact of what we buy as individuals, as well – of course – as looking to government and corporate entities for leadership. Let’s start with the wo/man in the mirror!
Quick and easy and done before the end of January…
This year, you’re not just dropping your old clothes in a charity bin, you’re going into a charity shop, and here’s why…
I know I’m not the only one who feels lighter and freer after a good sort out. While it’s cold and miserable outside anyway, try setting aside an afternoon to go through your wardrobe and pull out all the clothing that you’re ready to send off to a new life. I’m a fashion collector myself, so I’m not going to tell you to throw away anything you haven’t worn for a year, as some of my favourite bits haven’t been worn for ages… but I know I will love them again in years to come. No, the things you chuck out should be the items you know don’t suit you, the items you always look at and think “nah” and anything that doesn’t actually fit. Go through shoes while you’re at it.
Be honest. Getting rid of clutter creates space for good things to come in to your life.
Sorting out a child’s wardrobe can be quite easy and life-lightening too. I say easy because when they’re grown out of it, they’ve grown out of it and there’s really no going back. If you’re saving it for a smaller sibling store it carefully.
Collect up everything you want to get rid of and take it INTO A CHARITY SHOP. No dropping it in a charity bin. Eco-warriors want you to go in to the shop and here’s why: if your plan is to be a good recycler, you need to be at both ends of the arrow, giving and taking. Buy a couple of items from a charity shop that you would have otherwise bought new and you reduce your carbon footprint.
Items which particularly lend themselves to second hand shopping are well made jackets and overcoats, as well as leather and denim items which you can treasure for their cool, vintage cut and patina. Once you get your eye in, charity shops can also be a great place to find accessories like silk scarves and retro sunglasses.
Discover a new and exciting brand…
Friends often ask me where to shop for ethical clothing. I’ve listed some of my favourites in Love this! but I am just one person sitting at my computer trying to manage my life while avoiding sweatshops, and without nearly enough time to list all the brands I love and trust. (I’m working on it, but it’s a slow process.)
Try doing a few online searches of your own. Use terms like ethical, organic, Fairtrade, made in UK, slow, conscious, vegan, eco and environmentally-friendly. None of these guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for, but often brands which subscribe to one of these values will subscribe to many. I’ve discovered interesting new brands searching for things like “conscious fashion for teens”, “vegan boots”, “affordable and ethical clothing”, “sweatshop free sportswear”, “which brands use diverse models?”, “men’s slow fashion”, “ethical bohemian dresses”, “conscious swimwear brands”… you get the idea. If you’ve got half an hour to fiddle about on the computer, get yourself a cup of tea and see what you can find. BTW if you do make a great discovery, email me, PLEASE?? I’m always looking for new brands to try and recommend. email@example.com
Test the idea that you can’t afford ethical clothing…
If you like the idea of shopping sweatshop free and being more environmentally friendly… but one of the things stopping you is the generally higher price tag, sale shopping is a great way to dip your toe in the water.
I can honestly say that without exception, the ethical clothing items I have bought over the last seven years have not disappointed. The fabric is better, the manufacturing quality is better, it lasts longer, it fits better, and of course the feel good factor soars. So find a brand that you might normally think costs more than you’re willing to pay and buy something for next winter! At the end of winter 2018 I bought a rain jacket I had been eyeing all season but couldn’t quite afford to buy… when it slipped to 70% off in the end of season sale I snapped it up, put it in my cupboard with the tags still on and smugly brought it out at the start of winter 2019. I routinely do just the same for the children’s bigger ticket items like coats, knitwear and good quality denim.
If you like these ideas, let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org And share your own ideas too… what tips have you got for upping your ethical credentials in 2020?
Want more ideas? Have a look at this list from WWF: 10 things you can do to help save our planet