Thursday, 12 November 2015

Style: A Thoughtful Winter Wardrobe

A gets a handle on dressing sustainably this Winter.

This weekend was my official transition from Summer to Winter wardrobe. Away went the shorts, the sun dresses and the light scarves, out came the jumpers, the sweaters and the wooly scarves. I also got rid of a couple of things that have gone unworn all Summer. 
This is part of my ongoing effort to make my wardrobe more sustainable. Keeping my wardrobe streamlined and organised helps me keep on top of what I actually own, and therefore make use of it, rather than forgetting about it and constantly buying new things. It also means things that aren't worn get recycled, for instance a wonderful gold velvet skirt that will likely get turned into Christmas decorations, or go to the charity shop to find a new home.

The issue of sustainable fashion is still not crystal clear, with mixed messaging from the media, retailers and campaign groups being thrown at us all the time, so here are some simple tips to making a jolly good start at a sustainable wardrobe.

Rules to Dress By

Amisha Ghadiali, formerly of the EFF and board member of Fashion Revolution Day, has created a wonderfully simple poster of rules to dress by. Knowing it's nigh-on impossible to shop completely ethically all of the time, the poster provides hints and tips for a journey toward sustainable style. 

On the High Street
More and more high street retailers are investing in sustainable and ethical fashion. Marks and Spencer have just released their second Limited London collection which is inspired by and made in London.
Topshop Boutique is a mark up from regular Topshop ware, higher quality and with a focus on style and design rather than fashion and trend, this collection will work harder as part of your wardrobe and much of it is made in the UK.
The Ethical Consumer site provides reports about retailer practices across various industries, including rankings of some high street fashion shops.

Ethical Online

If you're looking for brands that are committed to developing ethical practices, the best place to look is online. Sites like Master and Muse (founded by model and actor Amber Valletta) and Rev en Vert bring together well-curated collections of ethical fashion, in an easy to browse online boutique format.

An Oldie but a Goodie

You all know it, but a charity shop is a great place to shop sustainably, recycling and supporting a great cause at the same time. This time of year is especially good for charity shop shopping, as they are a treasure trove of knitwear! If you're not brave enough to venture into one, Oxfam even sells online (so no excuses!)

Fresh Ideas

There are amazing advances being made all the time in ethical fashion, and one of the most exciting at the moment is the 30 year sweater. An indiegogo campaign started by designer Tom Cridland to fund the production of a superior quality classic crew-neck sweater, with a guaranteed lifetime of 30 years. This is a novel way to launch a fashion idea, but one that seems to be popular, as the campaign is already almost 40% funded.

Get Creative

For ways to recycle your no longer worn clothes, just look to Pinterest. Search for winter upcycling and you'll find a thousand ideas for turning scarves into cushion covers, or jumpers into slippers, and plenty beside that.  

Further Reading
To really get to grips with the issue of ethical fashion, Lucy Siegle's To Die For is the best place to start. Siegle is an expert in the field and has been researching, writing about and campaigning about ethical and eco issues within the industry for years. Her regular column for The Guardian is a great way to keep abreast of the latest issue and advances in the field.
Andrew Morgan's film, The True Cost, highlights current issues across the fashion industry, and is a must-watch. You can rent it direct from the website or stream it on Netflix.

A x

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