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I don’t know much about Fashion
I am not your regular fashion girl, I don’t find enjoyable the experience of shopping. I get bored pretty quickly, even when I need to buy something specific, is just not my cup of tea to spend hours looking for THINGS to buy. But, I realise that clothing and fashion is just another way people express themselves, they communicate and make a statement through their clothes.
In this road to sustainability, I’ve been focusing on how to live with a zero waste mindset and of course I started with food because it is a daily need to be fulfilled. It wasn’t until the cold of Autumn-Winter came when I realised my waterproof warm boots had a huge hole in the sole, that I started asking myself what will I do now? How will I protect my feet from water and cold without compromising the environment and the rights of other people to live in fair conditions?
There’s a hole in my sole
The cobbler’s answer
With my favourite boots on my hands and high hopes in my heart, I went to the cobbler to ask him cost and time for the repair of my soles. He gave the boots one look and gave them back to me and told me that I should go to a shop not far away from there, to buy a new pair. He simply stated that he couldn’t do the job, but even if he had the material it would be way more expensive for me to repair them than to buy new ones. I left feeling disappointed. How could it be that we are so accustom to the throwaway culture, that even the people who repair things for a living advice you to buy something instead of trying to make it useful again.
Advice from the online community
I went online to ask for help, first to the zero waste community which had lots of advice on DIY repairing stuff. But since I’m not very crafty, I don’t have the materials they suggested (old tyres and equipment to cut them) and I recently started a job that required to be on my feet and walking around London all day under any weather conditions, I went to ask to my blogger buddies at the Ethical Influencer Network where to buy sustainable shoes. They recommended me a couple of brands, but I still didn’t feel like I was truly understanding the issues behind a sustainable brand. If you want to know how to buy with the planet in mind, you should definitely visit their blogs, they recommend tons of brands that align with their ethical values.
A temporary solution
Like I said before, I am not your typical girl. I think long and hard before buying something, and I guess now even more than before. I ask myself so many times if I truly need something, that when days passes by and I don’t have it and I can live without it, I end up not buying it. Whilst downsizing my clothes I realised I had a pair of second-hand boots I saved in a box for donation last year, but since now I want to dispose of my items in a responsible way, and I didn’t know if the best solution was the charity shop, they were sitting there for the whole year. Anyways, I thought, this is a temporary solution, while I find a way to repair my other boots and/or buy a sustainable new pair.
21st Century Slavery = Fast Fashion Industry
Maybe I am the kind of person that doesn’t care too much about fashion, style or buying new clothes every season. Maybe my mind is focusing on the beauty of nature, moments, good food and living according to my values. But, clothes exists, fashion exists, is something I can’t simply ignore. And even someone like me, has to buy clothes sometimes.
I have been receiving second-hand clothes since I was little, being the second child gave me that as a benefit. And so I find is very easy for me, when someone doesn’t need something anymore from their wardrobe and it fits me, just take it as a new item for myself. And yes, here in the UK there are so many charity shops that offer second-hand that is amazing to just go and buy something, support a good cause and feel good for following the Zero Waste guidelines. But, there is a hidden truth, there are so many clothes disposed in these shops, that they can’t deal with everything, and after a long process of trying to sell the things they get, lots of the clothes ends up either in a foreign country or in the landfill.
“The True Cost” the documentary
In order for me to understand more about all the dirty secrets of our clothing items, I have to ask questions, read, and learn by myself what is happening. I went through Netflix, and instead of selecting one of the many series I watch or another food documentary, I thought it was very fitting to watch a fashion documentary, this time I watched “The True Cost”. I knew it was going to be a harsh truth, but I didn’t know how sad it was going to make me feel. We are consuming our planet and even the people, just to have the latest fashionable £5 T-shirt. There is people that earn as little as 2$ per day, people that don’t have and don’t even think about having any other opportunities. We are damaging their health, their lands, all with our wasteful habits. That has to be another form of slavery.
Black Friday and my Birthday
I will be 30 years old this 25th of November, which happens to be the Black Friday, a day in which the big companies will be making tons of money because people will be buying things they probably don’t need, just because they are cheaper. The cheaper the things are, the cheaper is the life of those who made the things they’ll be buying, the cost we are saving in those things is actually being paid by nature, biodiversity, human rights and the health of people in a foreign country.
On the contrary, I will be collecting memories and no things on that day. Spending time with friends I haven’t seen in a while and with my lovely husband in Brussels. I rather spend my time doing things that bring joy to my heart, in the end, the things we buy don’t give us happiness, try to remember about the presents you received 10 years ago….I bet is easier to remember about that time you laughed so hard that you ended up crying, or the awesome trip you shared with family and friends.
Shifting your mindset
Support local brands that are in-tune with ethical values, brands that respect the environment and people’s rights. Refrain yourself from shopping something you don’t need. Understand that your habits and ultimately your actions have an impact in the world. The reason why fast fashion exists is because we want to be happy and we are accepting that things will give us that happiness, but is not, so think twice about this. And read, investigate, ask yourself questions, like where do my things come from, where will they go?
Challenge: After watching the Documentary, if you dare, check the labels of your clothes, shoes, and anything you have at home, and tell me how many of them were made locally?
“Today the consumer is completely detached from the clothes he or she wears and from who makes them, it happens far away so we don’t see it… Out of sight, out of mind”. Livia Firth