Sustainable Fashion

Sustainable Fashion

When you are purchasing clothing, what is your criteria for the brands you buy or the shops you visit? For you is it price, quality, fabric, being preloved or brand new? Is it a mixture of some, or all that draws you to a brand or shop?

Vintage clothing on mannequins outside shop

In recent years ‘sustainability’ has become a big buzz word in the fashion industry. Whether it is the fabrics’ sustainable credentials, or who, and where it’s made and of course its carbon footprint has become extremely important to a growing mass of individuals wanting to do the right thing for the environment and for the manufacturing process and the conditions of the workers employed.

Clothes rail of vintage clothing

My eyes were well and truly opened to the whole clothing cycle in several books that I read a few years ago, which reinforced the massive growth on the consumption of clothing over the last 30 years by everyone of us, propelled by the term ‘fast fashion’ which provides the insatiable desire to be fashionable.

I’m sure there are those who will argue that they are not interested in fashion. Reminds me of the film ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ where Miranda explains to her new assistant (who declares she is not a follower of fashion) that the secondhand jumper she bought in Cerulean blue, started as a design, created in a certain colour for a particular collection, which made its way down the catwalk, then imitated by the many clothing companies offering something with a similar look or feel at a much more competitive price or ends up in a charity or preloved shop.

Model wearing navy dress with floral embroidery - catwalk - Fast fashion

It is not just the colour which we are drawn to, but also the feel of a garment and how it looks on a hanger (this last bit can be very deceiving as many clothes need a body in them to see their full potential and how it might work on your specific figure shape).

There are a few customers who visit the shop now, that ask about the fabric, but rarely its journey to the high street. Online websites overall now do offer their sustainability position, but it does beg the question does anyone ever read it? And, more importantly do they really care?

Fast fashion - couture clothing on mannequins

Fast fashion has been the reason for many of us having ever expanding wardrobes containing far more garments than we ever had 30/40 years ago. Shoppers buy five times more clothing than they did in 1980’s*. Looking further back to the 1st and 2nd world war, clothes were rationed and in short supply. The expression “make do and mend’ came from this era. New clothes were “kept for Sunday best”. Can you imagine that, in this day and age?

Women holding a lot of clothes shopping bags

In our throwaway society and vast consumerism, I often hear women say they don’t need any more clothes! Yet they continue to buy. There are several reasons for this. One of the most interesting, is asking what does your lifestyle demand? Since lock down wardrobe requirements have taken a new turn. Lack of holidays, reduction in commuting and a more relaxed way of dressing for all but, the smartest of occasions has led us to have even more clothes sitting in the wardrobe we no long wear, as they don’t reflect the demands of our relaxed lifestyle.

Lady organising clothes for charity shop

What does this mean for you? A rethink about why, and how we buy clothing I would suggest. Firstly drawing attention to your own wardrobe, a through clear out and reorganisation is probably in order. There are professional consultants that can help you with this and assist with the correct colours and styles to suit you shape.

If you already know what suits you and / or you want to keep it simple, head over to our homepage and subscribe to our monthly Noa Olney VIP emails. You will receive a free downloadable guide with styling tips and wardrobe planning. This will help focus your attention as to what you have, or not and whether it reflects the needs of your lifestyle. In turn, you will become more focused as to the items you need to create a more coherent capsule wardrobe with colours and styles that work for you.

 Here are some of my top tips for your wardrobe and purchases in 2024:

  1. More thoughtful purchases which add value to your wardrobe, buy good quality items.
  2. Less rash spur of the moment “that will do” items filling our ever-expanding wardrobes.
  3. Only buy what you really need.
  4. Letting go of all those sentimental pieces with an emotional attachment, either sell it and raise funds for a future purchase or give it to charity and let them make some money for a good cause.
  5. Try pre-loved or charity shops as additional shopping opportunities.

Buy less, choose well, make it last

If we all did this, what a massive effect would this have on the fashion industry! Reducing the demand on a weekly basis would slow fast fashion down and would in turn, reduce many global issues, too many to name here. A return to manufacturing good quality products, which are long lasting and valued. In addition, workers in better working conditions.

I am passionate about getting customers to really think about what they are buying and why, ensuring they make the right decisions about what they are buying and how it will integrate with items they already have in their wardrobe at home. The end result being a more satisfied customer and a more thoughtful purchase.

 If you would like to chat about how it's best to improve your wardrobe, email Jane or visit the Olney store

*For further reading I would recommend Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas

Shops to consider in Olney:

Willen Hospice Olney, Mercy in Action, Age UK Olney and Mel at The Revival Rooms.

Please note there are no affiliate links included in this blog. Just for your information.
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