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How to swap to Slow Fashion

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Talking all things Slow Fashion with Eleanor from Wild Strings

Wild Strings by Eleanor, reversible bucket hat, denim and print

We’ve all heard about the horrors of Fast Fashion. Almost half of all textiles are made of cotton, which is environmentally unsustainable using current production methods – never mind the amount of clothing that ends up in landfill (or worse). Let’s talk more about how to swap to Slow Fashion…

Eleanor from Wild Strings by Eleanor is passionate about Slow Fashion and swapping our current habits for something more sustainable, which is why she creates beautiful clothing from second-hand materials on a made-to-order basis.

Here she talks about her concerns, what we can all do to change our habits and how to swap to slow fashion:

“I started a series of blog posts discussing the fast fashion industry over on my website. There have been several controversies in the press recently, namely the exploitation of factory workers at Boohoo.com and the hypocrisy of the new Missguided documentary on Channel 4, which you may have seen advertised.

It’s so important to discuss these issues, but whenever I started writing a piece it turned into a rant about how awful the fast fashion industry is – and I realised I’d just be adding my voice to the barrage of outcry instead of offering solutions on how to swap to slow fashion.

A pandemic is enough to slow anything down, and many people have changed their mindset in recent months. If you’ve always wanted to shop more sustainably or don’t know where to start, I’m here to show you how to swap to slow fashion.

Here are my 5 top tips on shopping more slowly and sustainably:

1. Remove the temptation impulse buy

Are you constantly tempted by fantastic emails promising the latest styles and a hefty discount? Unsubscribe! One easy way to shop slower is by removing the temptation – don’t just buy for the sake of buying.

Clear out your inbox, unsubscribe to enticing emails and always ask yourself if you really need that item you’re lusting over. Will it just get shoved to the back of the wardrobe? How much wear will you really get out of it? And if you don’t buy it, will you still be thinking about it this time next month? Probably not!

These small steps stop you from impulse buying and will lower your carbon footprint too! Not only will all that posting be avoided, but according to Science Focus, “in a year, an average person in the developed world adds 136kg of Co2 to their carbon footprint from the emails they send and receive”. That’s the equivalent of a 320km drive!

2. Shop second-hand

Shopping second-hand can seem overwhelming. Many people picture endlessly trawling through charity shops, never finding what you want in the right size, but rummaging is fun! Charity shops are a great place to dive in and find some gems, but they are a bit more work.

A couple of my charity shop top tips are to make sure you’re in the right mood to rifle through lots of items until you find something you love, and to keep open mind – that patterned top may scare you in store, but it could look amazing with those jeans you’ve got waiting at home!

I’m also a big fan of eBay, and often find myself in a frantic bidding war over a lovely piece. It’s so easy to search for what you’re looking for. Apps such as Gumtree and Depop are good for second-hand pieces too.

I love shopping second-hand, whether via charity shops or online, and personally think it’s the easiest way to switch up your fashion habits. It’s also a good way to shop more slowly and avoid fast-fashion brands. You can still purchase high quality clothing without a hefty price tag.

The BBC reported that ‘continuing to wear a garment for just nine months longer could diminish its environmental impacts by 20-30%’. By buying a pre-loved garment, you’re actively extending its life and lowering its environmental impact.

I also feel that second hand fashion allows you to develop your own style and think more about what you actually like to wear, rather that what big brands tell you is ‘in fashion’. You can still look great and help the planet.

3. Shopping small = Shopping slow

When you’re looking to buy a new piece of clothing, look at shopping made-to-order. As Emma Slade Edmondson said in a recent article for Elle, made-to-order fashion is ‘a far more ethical and sustainable approach because there is no overproduction, reducing the risk of excess unwanted stock going to landfill.’

Wild Strings by Eleanor and many other independent fashion brands offer a much slower approach to shopping by providing a made-to-order service, so that we only create what’s asked for. This encourages everyone to move away from the instant ‘browse, buy, get’ model that is promoted by the fast fashion industry. We are so impatient these days but it really has an awful impact on the environment when overstock ends up in landfill.

Not only does the made-to-order method mean less unwanted stock, but each piece is high-quality and well made, meaning it will last much longer and is less likely to end up in landfill. The garments will be ethically made (unlike many mass-processed factory garments where workers are often unfairly treated), with a (usually) transparent pricing structure. It also means a garment is created specifically for you so could fit better, too.

4. Reuse, repair, recycle

If you choose just one of my tips to try out, let is be this mantra! The ‘reuse, repair, recycle’ mantra will extend the life cycle of your clothes, and improve your future shopping habits too.

Let’s break it down:

Reuse – Re-wearing your clothes massively reduces their carbon footprint. When you’re shopping for something new, think about how many times you would wear it and how many outfits you could make with it – this will really help you to adopt better shopping practices and curate a wardrobe that you really love and feel comfortable in.

Repair – This is a true love of mine! When your clothes get tired, worn, torn or that bloomin’ red wine stain won’t come out, repair them! As Lily Fulop says at Refinery29, mending your clothes ‘sends a message that we care about reducing waste and minimising our environmental impact’.

Mending clothing is also a great mindful practice; taking care and repairing reminds us that our handiwork is valuable, relaxes the mind and creates a unique piece that absolutely no-one else has!

If you’re unsure where to start with repairing your clothes, I’ve written a blog on my favourite mending techniques and where you can find other great resources to help you repair them.

Recycle – You’ve had a wardrobe clear out and there’s a load of stuff you
don’t wear any more. It’s time to recycle!

It’s fine to get rid of your clothes if you don’t wear them – but don’t just throw them in the bin. If they’re simply not your style or don’t fit you well, sell them on eBay or Depop, and you can earn some cash from it too. This will also extend the life cycle of the clothes.

If your clothes have definitely had their day and are worn or torn, drop them at a local council clothes bank where they can be recycled and made into new items, such as padding for chairs and car seats, cleaning
cloths and industrial blankets. They have so many uses, don’t just throw them in the bin!

5. Be kind to yourself!

Last but not least, be kind to yourself. This is so important with everything in life, but especially when you’re trying to break old habits.

Changing your shopping habits is not always easy – it is absolutely okay to get it wrong sometimes. However, if every single person in the world attempted sustainability in an imperfect way, we would be in a much better
place.

There’s no to beat yourself up or feel guilty for your last fast fashion buy or clicking on that ‘new in’ or ‘sale’ email, it’s about taking small steps to be more mindful in future.

Ask yourself questions whenever you’re tempted to buy; Do I need this? Where will I wear it? What will I wear it with? Do I love it? Will I wear it at least 20 times? If the answer to each question is a hearty ‘Yes’, go ahead and buy it!

Blog guest written by Eleanor Bradley.

We do hope this article has offer some tips on how to swap to Slow Fashion, which will help you shop more ethically and sustainably in future. Here are some snaps of Eleanor’s wonderful clothing range…

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