We are becoming increasingly fed up of living in a society which seems hell bent on creating ever greater mountains of unnecessary waste. From plastic bags in their billions to fast food packaging, cheap promotional items that no one wants or needs, and even shrink wrap covering for supermarket cucumbers, we are drowning in the stuff.
Textiles waste is a particular bugbear of ours. Did you know that in the UK alone, we throw out in excess of one million tonnes of textiles every year, most of which ends up in landfill sites?
Far from being harmless holes in the ground where we can conveniently bury anything and everything we no longer want, landfill sites cause significant environmental damage. In the case of landfilled textiles, garment dyes and bleaches can cause toxic chemical seepage into the ground and water courses. As the material decomposes, the build up of methane gas presents further hazards.
Although environnmental issues have been gradually nudging their way up the political agenda, there is no evidence that our throwaway society is ready to take responsibility for its wasteful behaviour. We need a sea change in attitude and, while there is some great work being done to reduce textiles waste through reuse and recycling, the clothing industry remains awash with cheap ‘fast’ fashion which is likely to end up in landfill in a matter of months if not weeks.
So how can we as concerned individuals make a difference yet still stay stylish (and solvent!)? Well, we have put together a list of simple ‘RE’ ACTIONS to the relentless pressures of the fast fashion industry, and we hope the following top ten tips on working towards a greener wardrobe will be useful for waste aware, eco-friendly fashionistas like ourselves.
1. RESIST temptation. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it! Your wardrobe is probably already bulging with impulse buys, many of which you have never worn, so you know it makes sense.
2. REJECT fast fashion outlets and cheap imports which have been transported halfway round the world, may have been produced by an exploited workforce, including child labour, in dangerous conditions, and will probably fall apart after one wash.
3. RETHINK your buying habits. Support ethical, fair trade businesses and ‘home grown’ designers.
4. REUSE clothing and accessories. Buy from vintage, second hand or charity shops, car boot sales and auction websites – or swap clothes with friends
5. REDISCOVER the back of your wardrobe and the darkest corners of your attic which may well harbour some long forgotten outfits that are yearning for a new lease of life.
6. RESTYLE your current wardrobe. Get the sewing box out, refashion a dress into a top and matching bag, add a few embellishments, chop off some sleeves, or just shorten a hemline or two.
7. REFRESH your ‘old’ clothes by adding belts, scarves and complementary accessories for an instant style update.
8. RECYCLE the clothing you no longer need. Drop it off at your local textile recycling bank, freecycle it, or else donate to charity.
9. RESELL your unwanted clothes on one of the internet auction sites or, if you don’t want to do it yourself, through a local or online dress agency.
10. RESEARCH environmentally friendly fashion alternatives which combine style with sustainability. We recommend Kate Fletcher’s Lifetimes project as a great starting point for both information and inspiration.
Having recently floated the idea of green stocking fillers and sustainable ‘secret Santa’ gifts, we have been encouraged by the positive response of some of our eco-friendly customers, who say they do want to exchange thoughtful gifts with family, friends and colleagues, but really don’t want any of them to cost the earth.
Rising to the eco-challenge, we have now included a selection of goodies with suitably green credentials in The Frockery catalogue, which means they are all affordable, as well as being quirky, vintage, retro and/or recycled, in what we hope is a much needed antidote to the rampant consumerism which abounds in the run-up to Christmas every year.
Retro tea towels are already flying out of the shop, and we have some old fashioned pinnies like this one on offer, as well as a selection of inexpensive jewellery. You will also find an affordable selection of scarves, bags, hats and gloves, and even some retro table linen for some 1970s nostalgia.
Meanwhile, dedicated fashionistas will still find plenty of affordable party wear for the upcoming festive season and, by Frockery shopping, they can congratulate themselves on reducing unnecessary style miles in the process!
We have had lots of great customer feedback over the past few weeks (thank you all!) and are now working on a few new ideas to improve The Frockery shopping experience for the many vintage and retro clothing fans out there, as well as for those who are simply looking for pre-owned contemporary pieces that will neither break the bank nor cost the earth.
A ‘search by size’ function is planned, and we have also received requests for a wider selection of ladies clothes which are bigger than a size 14. Since retro and vintage clothes tend to be on the small, if not tiny, side (as we were all a lot smaller back then) it is often more difficult to source larger sizes from past decades, but we are certainly on the case! Meanwhile, we have a few larger size posh frocks in stock, such as this black and gold glitzy party dress, which is sure to turn heads over the festive season and beyond.
The Frockery has launched its first Fifty Quid Fashion Challenge in which its website visitors are being asked to put together a stylish look for a given occasion for £50 or less.
Challengers are being invited to submit an entry to one or both of the following categories: an outfit for a office based job interview; a festive party outfit. Entrants are also being asked to state in no more than 20 words why their chosen outfit deserves to win the Frockery Fifty Quid Challenge.
The closing date for completed challenges is 30 November 2007 and the winner of each category will receive goods of their choice from The Frockery website to the value of £50, with one runner up from each category receiving goods to the value of £25.
With the extra financial demands of the festive season now looming, dedicated fashionistas still want to look chic, but preferably without breaking the bank. We hope the Frockery Fifty Quid Fashion Challenge will help more people realise that you can dress for less, yet still stay stylish.
The Frockery offers an affordable and sustainable alternative for style conscious and environmentally aware consumers who neither want to max out their credit cards on expensive designer labels nor settle for same and soulless ‘fast’ fashion.
Recycling fashion makes perfect sense from the point of view of both the planet and the wallet. At The Frockery, we take great pleasure in finding new appreciative owners for pre-loved quality clothing and accessories and we want to remind people that looking stylish need not cost the earth.