So this is my first blog post, all about my efforts in living sustainably… but mainly on my interests, musings and weird observations. Maybe, it’s going to be a refreshing insight into a millennial mind and the emerging values of conscious purchasing warring with a previous habitual consumerist mindset.
Or maybe it’s going to sound very mainstream and is common sense musings that has already been thought of before and is nothing new. Maybe. I don’t know. We’ll see.
I thought I’d start my first post with a personal anecdote on how my increased awareness of the sustainability conversation has impacted my life in the most precious way. My wardrobe.
The majority of my wardrobe is not sustainable. I think. I don’t know. It’s never really been a question for me before the last couple of years, so I’m still getting used to this new way of thinking. Thrift shopping was not a thing growing up and when I accidentally bought my father a suit jacket from a charity shop for his birthday (long story) I definitely saw a difference in quality.
As a teenager primark was my best friend. I was a kid, and they had cheap clothes. But I didn’t buy things super regularly as my mum still bought most of my clothes. Yeah. It wasn’t till I got to Uni and I discovered online sites – which literally had a new selection everyday – that I felt I developed my own style. I guess because it was so cheap I could afford a bit more trial and error.
I’ve become more particular now about what I buy. Making sure it’s well made and I place emphasis on longevity which costs a bit more and so I buy less. But I sometimes wonder if it was because I was first able to gauge on clothes, that has helped me to now have more discerning tastes (there’s going to be a whole blog post on fast fashion later). But onto one of my favourite items in my closet. My leather jacket. It’s second hand you know! I’m very proud to say that now. We’re living in very different times from my parents.
Its a funny story with this jacket. I actually bought it a year and a half ago in frustration at an expensive leather jacket that was a crap fit. I’d been really excited to buy my first designer biker leather jacket and better yet, it was on sale! Unfortunately it was an actual biker jacket and not the ‘fashion biker’ jacket I wanted. It was very durable and long lasting… but not quite the cute edgy look I was going for.
I really really didn’t want to spend another £100 on another leather jacket, and so I made up my mind to stick it out with my boxy, shoulder paddy looking ‘authentic’ leathers. That didn’t last long.
About a couple of weeks later (yup that’s how long it took) I caught sight of a cute second hand one in my local traid store for a fraction of the price. I was haaaaaappy! I also felt justified in spending because it was second hand. Hey, the money was going to good place anyway.
At the moment I saw the jacket my first thought wasn’t “yes! I’ve found what I’m looking for”. It was more….”oh look I’ve found a cute jacket at much cheaper than retail price and it’s second hand so technically I’m not really buying too much”.
Ever since a Traid store opened up in Peckham a few years before, I’d been making a habit of popping into there when I felt the need to browse clothes alongside the other high street shops. The difference was, I felt less guilty buying there. I felt a sense of achievement in finding a bargain and doing my environmental bit all at once. Major points for me! -will totally justify the McDonald’s binge later.
Now, some of my favourite pieces are from second hand shops. But they weren’t the shops I grew up with (which if I’m being honest ) didn’t seem to have that many nice clothes.
My new tendency to browse charity shops didn’t just start because I’d been thinking – I really need make an effort in reducing how often I bought new clothes. I had been thinking that. But I had been thinking that for quite a while before I actually started. Honestly? It became a habit when Traid opened its doors on my high street. Traid do a lot of awesome work around the globe and it felt cool that I could feel like I was playing my part with minimal effort.
For me, the intent was there but the ease of having something near me was great. I’m realising now though, that to sustain initiatives like this I have to be more about intent. I don’t live next to a Traid store anymore. But the reason why one opened up next to me was because there was an increased demand for it that sustained it. Other people had the intent to be more responsible with their clothing purchases that led to me benefiting.
For me, this is what sustainability is about: conscious responsibility that transcends borders. The global community is fundamentally unequal. And this inequality is being sustained through personal habits and society at large. I’m not quite sure how to best to play my part in changing this, but this blog is going to be me exploring all the different global efforts and my personal ones.
Anyway all this is to say, that I’ve been on a bit of a journey with my wardrobe and the sustainability question in general. One thing I’ve learnt is that part of the current trend on sustainable fashion is, that it feels exactly that. A trend. But it’s been the most important trend in decades and one I’m at least personally determined to sustain. Welcome to my journey. (que TV show dramatic music)
Let’s see how it goes. Lols