"Buy less, choose well, make it last"
When I first read the Vivienne Westwood quote; "Buy less, choose well, make it last", I assumed she was referring to her own brand and this would just be a campaign for her new collection. However, after watching the video of Dame Vivienne speaking at a Guardian event, I realised the scope of what she was really talking about. The idea itself; buying less, choosing well and making your clothes last longer, really excited me as it encapsulates all that I'm trying to promote with Grandermarnier! If this idea could be put into practice it could address many of the main issues facing the fashion industry today and could become the clothing-conscious person's new mantra to live by. I'm going to have a go at breaking down the quote into real-life, practical steps you can take to achieve this (or part of it!)
Step 1: buy less
Okay so don't panic. The words "buy less" sound scary to me too! You immediately think of all the things you'll be giving up but actually buying less could offer you a whole lot more. You may have heard about the 6 item challenge, the idea that you pick 6 items of clothing to wear for 6 weeks - and nothing else (sportswear, underwear, PJs, shoes are not included) and from the reviews I've read it can actually be a freeing experience and no one actually notices that you're re-wearing the same clothes. If you want to check it out, Labour Behind the Label (Bristol based campaign that works to improve conditions and empower workers in the global garment industry) have a great 6 item challenge, click this link to learn more!
One of the things I do is buy my clothes seasonally, so just before summer starts I buy all the clothes I'll need for the hot months (and any holiday I have planned) and then around September I buy what I'll need for winter. This may not be everyone's cup of tea but I used to buy clothes every month and thought it wasn't a lot of money but over the year the damage was insane. Buying twice a year makes me think long and hard about what I really need - not just what I want.
Online shopping can be dangerous as you often don't realise how much money you are handing over, it can seem like a fabulous game of Sims - but with a very real credit card bill! If you find you often over-spend online, try taking it to the streets, walking around and physically going into each shop will give you more of an idea of the amount you're buying and spending.
Step 2: choose well
Taking the time to be a conscious consumer can seem daunting too, but there are so many tools available now to help you make your choices. Project JUST is a great one to try, just type in the brands name and find out all about their ethical policies, chain of manufacturing and more! Click here to give it a go.
Buying vintage, used or recycled clothes is another great way of putting your money in the right place. Check out TimeOut's list of best vintage shops in Bristol. Kilo sales are great for buying bulk - but responsibly. Bristol Textile Recyclers have one on the first Saturday of every month, only £1 entry and I got around 1.5 kilos of clothes for about £14!
Another thing to remember is that if the price is too low it is usually a good indication that the item won't last you long, sometimes it's best to spend a bit more on something that will stand the test of time. Following trends can be damaging too - 9 times out of 10 you end up looking at what you've bought a few months later wondering what you were thinking - speaking from experience here!
Step 3: make it last
Making clothes last is so important if you're trying to cut down on the amount of clothes you waste, and it doesn't take a fashion design degree to be able to do it! Here's a great BuzzFeed list of ways to treat your clothes with all the love they deserve to make them last longer!
Here are some tips I've picked up over time that have worked for me. Try and never wash your jeans if you help it, instead put them in a ziplock bag and put them in the freezer. Always hand-wash your lingerie and underwear and never tumble dry. Use face wipes/baby wipes to clean your trainers regularly - doing it regularly reduces the risk of permanent marks.
If all else fails and your clothes end up looking a bit shabby, roll with it. People are paying loads of money for clothes that look worn-out, ripped and ill-fitting *cough cough* *Yeezy*, so why can't you jump on the bandwagon? Rips can be sexy, stains can be covered with cute iron-on patches and stretched out clothes can just be called oversized!