Why we need to change our attitude to fashion

IF you do one thing today, watch Stacey Dooley’s BBC documentary on the fashion industry.

Why? It will change the way you think about fashion.

We live in a ‘buy it now’ society. See something on Instagram that you like? A couple of clicks and it’s yours.

Social media influencers have literally built careers from flogging us stuff on the internet.

And whilst that probably means we’re well dressed (I say probably because a lot of what we buy we either aren’t wearing or we’re throwing away) – we are killing the planet.

The fashion industry is the second-most polluting of all the industries, coming second only to coal and oil.

In the documentary, Stacey’s crew film the factories making clothes for UK high street dumping waste into rivers.

And yet, despite her efforts, not one of the high street retailers she contacts is willing to be interviewed.

This is really poor.

But it’s us as consumers who ultimately hold the power.

We need to demand better from our retailers. And if they won’t do better, we need to spend with companies that will.

The way we think about fashion needs to change. I personally wouldn’t say we’re any more stylish than women of the 1950s or 1960s – but they knew how to look after their clothes. Things were well made and stood the test of time – hence why we have such a

I personally wouldn’t say we’re any more stylish than women of the 1950s or 1960s – but they knew how to look after their clothes. Things were well made and stood the test of time – hence why we have such a good vintage market today.

Do you think we’ll have such good vintage in the future? Do you think anything you buy on the high street with persevere through the ages? Is it of perennial style?

That top you bought for Saturday night might look good on the dance floor, but it loses all its appeal when it’s on the trash heap. And, worse still, when you think of the irreversible damage to the planet it’s done.

I won’t go on any longer, because the documentary says it all. But what might be helpful is sharing the pledges I’m making – if we all adopt just one or two of these tips, we could make a significant difference.

  1. Buy less, spend more – It’s a simple equation. Either buy more (most of which ends up in landfill, unworn), or buy fewer items, which cost more per item, and really love them. For example, I have a cashmere sweater I bought a few years ago and I still wear it all the time. It still looks just as good as it did – it hasn’t bobbled or gone threadbare like its cheaper counterparts. The cost per wear is now minimal and based on value for money, a couple of cashmere sweaters are going to be better than new knitwear every single autumn.
  2. Think of five ways – This is something I’ve spoken about before. Before purchasing, think of at least five ways you’re going to style something. If you can’t; resist.
  3. Don’t save things for best – Be honest, do you have items in your closet with the tags still on? We’ve got to stop with this! What’s the point in saving that lovely dress for ‘one day’ – why can’t today be the day? If you’re worried about damage or stains, then….
  4. Find a really good tailor – If a skirt you love has a hole in it, don’t chuck it, take it to the tailor. They’ll mend it for, usually, a very good price. They can also take items in, let them out, customise to fit you just right. Never underestimate thepower of good tailoring! Same can be said for finding a good dry cleaner, or shoe repair shop
  5. Buy timeless – Some items are purely trend. Others will stand the test of time. For example, a classic black blazer. It can be thrown over jeans or a dress, or smartened up for work. Invest in classics and you will always look chic, no matter what’s ‘on trend.’

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