There is a climate emergency. We all know this, unless you have been living under a rock (or two). Remember the saying live and let live? Nope, me neither! Today it seems everyone knows something more than the person they are talking to and those who don’t agree with them are just ignorant and uneducated. Some know all there is to know and because they are so well educated on one topic, they feel the need to preach this in an aggressive manner to those less knowledgeable. Or maybe I’m being harsh?
What I have come to understand as important is that we all aim to make changes in our daily lives, break old habits and care for the environment. You know the girl that refuses to drive a car in an effort to lower her carbon footprint? She gets a coffee in a single use cup every morning whilst waiting for the bus. And you know that guy that uses shampoo bars and only shops in plastic free supermarkets. He flies to London once a week for work. No one is perfect so stop acting like we all should be!
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world”
Last month seen the Oxfam campaign #SecondHandSeptember go live and what a reception it got with the hashtag being shared on Instagram over 48,000 times! We all know, or partly know as it may be, the damaging effect fast fashion has on the environment. I remember hearing about fast fashion some time ago and the effects it has on the planet… surely not? I remember being told to watch The True Cost on Netflix and never did. Being the shopaholic, fashion lover that I am I’m sure, in hindsight, that was a subconscious decision I made as I didn’t want to face reality and alter my *obsessive* shopping habits.
One night, home alone I found myself on the sofa flicking through another dire night of TV whilst paying more attention to my phone. Before I knew it, Sarah Dooley’s mancunian accent filled the room and I put my phone away to find out what she would be investigating this time. Fashion’s Dirty Secrets. It struck a cord, it scared the life out of me and from there I became interested, very interested!
No, I didn’t stop shopping over night, I didn’t delete all the shopping app’s from my phone, I didn’t stop my ‘Sunday Scroll’ feature on Instagram stories and nope, I didn’t decide to buy only ethically sourced clothing because to be honest, it’s a process. We are conditioned in a way that today a new outfit is not a want but a need for every social event (especially being brought up in Derry where re-wearing an outfit is basically social suicide). App’s save our card details or paypal accounts so you don’t even have to leave the sofa to order that dress which might be ideal for that night out you have coming up – next day delivery will let you make the decision, tomorrow! Shopping connects us all and give us something to discuss. Magazines are filled from cover to cover with the newest trends, the latest IT dress and latest styles straight from the FROW of fashion weeks all over the world – just cheaper high street versions, obviously! Our favourite influencers collaborate with brands and sites we love to lure us in – I’ve been there, done it and literally bought the t-shirt. So no, I probably still am as bad as the next person. My disposable income isn’t massive so when needing new work clothes, jeans or another piece of clothing, in all honesty, my first instinct is to go on ASOS, Zara or the like! Despite this, I tried something. I tried to educate myself on the topic. I read articles, I frequented charity shops more often than not and became a more ‘conscious’ shopper if you will. I now question how often I will wear a piece, I don’t buy to wear once like I used to do and I have started selling clothes on to others. All very small steps but the difference being – I am open to learning and adapting my ways!
When a follower brought my attention to the #SecondHandSeptember campaign I was delighted to sign up. I toyed with the idea of sharing it on my social platform, wary of the response to fast fashion and the like I got in the past but decided to go ahead regardless, if it meant one person signing up then I would consider it a success. Of course the messages came in, the majority delighted to be alerted to such a great campaign but of course there was the nay-sayers. A non-follower, who I guess does a lot to help the environment, branded me as ‘false’ and ‘transparent’. I resisted the urge to ask for tips on how she made the effort to help the environment. The point being, so many people have so much to say. Social media is the kindest corner at times but also a haven for keyboard warriors to give their tuppence worth when they fancy it, not allowing anyone to do right for doing wrong!
#SecondHandSeptember dominated my social media feed with so many people getting on board. I took the opportunity to swap out my high street Sunday scroll and share second hand finds with followers and as the days went on I realised that in fact, a lot of the people getting on board were, amongst others, ‘instagrammers/influencers’. This got me thinking, whilst I appreciate everyone wanting to do their bit to help the environment, it’s deeper than that. Are we really just all our own worst enemies? Do we all put too much pressure on ourselves when we feel we don’t have new content for ‘the gram’ or new clothes for the new season?
We all get excited when we get new clothes (I for one can’t last a day before ripping the label off new clothing), despite wanting to save the planet, are we latching onto #SecondHandSeptember as a way to save ourselves, from ourselves? The social pressure alleviated from this campaign is enough to allow everyone to get creative with what they have, shop their own wardrobe or a friends because, what is actually wrong with that?
Here are a few things I have found myself doing over the past year and more so the past month – tips and tricks I guess…
1. BE A CONSCIOUS SHOPPER/ REWORK YOUR WARDROBE
Don’t just buy something because it would be perfect for that night out… try and train yourself, if you don’t already, to shop for pieces, not outfits. Don’t buy something because it goes well with one pair of trousers you will wear twice at most. Make a conscious effort to buy things that you know you will get wear of time and time and time again! I tend to ask myself, when I wear this once – will I wear it again? If the answer is yes I’ll then decide, how many times will I wear it and if the answer is two or three I make a conscious decision to leave it behind (as difficult as that may feel sometimes) but if the answer is five or six times then I know it something I genuinely love and won’t be rushing back to the shop to buy something all too similar in a couple of weeks! This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive pieces, just don’t go buying 7 tops from cheap site because you *might* wear each of them once!
2. VISIT YOUR LOCAL CHARTIY SHOPS
You never know who is leaving their previously loved clothes into charity shops! I have offloaded perfect clothing to charity shops in the past, sometimes with the tags still on so chances are you could be in for a treat. Find yourself with an afternoon to spare and go searching! The price will be miniscule and you might even find a vintage beauty that the high street couldn’t come close to matching! Another fun way of shopping second hand is through vintage kilo sales, of which I have got a lot of gorgeous items in the past (and it’s a total novelty) or organise a local clothes swap – just swap out a pieces of your clothing for someone else’s and you won’t even have to part with cash before finding yourself with a whole new wardrobe!
3. GET FAMILIAR WITH DEPOP
Ok, this is a new one for me as well! Depop is similar to eBay but focused on clothes, shoes and accessories! I have found it takes a bit of searching to find sellers you are interested in but the ‘Discovery’ page acts like the cover page of ASOS for example and holds items under different subtitles! People will often wear items once and sell them on so it’s very common to get new season pieces at a cheaper price than currently in store!
4. FIND INSPIRATION
Imagine it – a Tuesday night, I’m lying in bed and thinking meh, I have nothing to wear to work tomorrow or likewise if I have an event coming up and don’t want to buy something new/my bank balance is forbidding me to do lol. If nothing springs to my mind I will always open Pinterest and start to search for inspiration. Usually a theme will develop and I guess that’s what I want to wear!
Recently my brother called me after a work meeting and told me of an older lady he had just spoken with. She was 88 and he asked what her plans were for the remainder of the day, she responded saying ‘Oh, I’m going to Topshop and Zara. You don’t have to shop there or wear the clothes but you always have to know what’s on trend.’
Get the inspiration, find the garments and always, always wear what works!
“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little. Do what you can.”