I’ve been writing about ethical fashion and less wasteful living for a while now, but I’ve not really considered how the two overlap – until now! With the seasons set to change very soon I have been doing some second-hand shopping and have consequently been connecting all the loose threads – geddit – which entangle the clothes we wear with the impact we have on the environment.
As much as we might be trying to resist it, fast fashion (and unethical consumerism in general) is still very much the norm in today’s society. Attitudes are slowly shifting, with charities and grassroots groups working alongside sustainable style brands to bring the human, animal and environmental suffering caused by the fast fashion industry to the forefront of consumers’ minds, but there’s still a long way to go. With magazine pages and blog posts devoted to throwaway style, where are we to turn to for fashion inspiration?
At the beginning of the year, I pledged to give up fast fashion once and for all. After years of dipping in and out of ethical fashion, I resolved in January to only buy clothes made fairly, or second-hand. Now that we’ve blinked and half the year is gone, I thought it’d be a good time to check in and chat to you about where I’m at with this goal, and what I’ve learned along the way.
In just a few short weeks, it’ll officially be summer here in the Northern Hemisphere – yay! While the British summertime weather can be rather changeable (I’m talking blisteringly hot one minute and hailstones the next) we do love to make the most of the sun when it’s out; I for one am among the hordes of Brits who flock to the parks, the seaside or the pub gardens, to soak up those rays. All of this is to say that you’re gonna need you some sandals – and why not shop for some fabulously stylish and ethically made ones?
You guys…somehow, summer is just around the corner. While I don’t have any holiday plans involving a beach this year (sob) I thought it’d be a good time to do a round-up of ethically made swimwear. Truth be told, I hadn’t considered the conditions under which my bikinis were made; I so seldom purchase beachwear that it hadn’t occurred to me to shop for eco-friendly and fairly made alternatives. If you’re someone who tends to pick up a fresh swimming costume or bikini every year, or if you’ve been holding out for a new one for ages, this little guide should give you some inspiration!
As I’ve become more conscious of my impact on the environment – and the plants, animals and humans with whom I share it – I’ve been led to confront a part of my life which is not only a necessary element of it, but that also brings me a lot of joy and contributes to my definition and presentation of myself: my wardrobe.
As a member of the cruelty-free community, I’m well versed in ensuring that my lifestyle – in particular, my dietary choices and cosmetic routine – causes little to no suffering. I know where to look to make sure that the brand I’m buying from has an animal testing policy, and know the tell-tale signs of whether or not that policy can be trusted. My compassion for animals extends to my wardrobe – I avoid all animal-derived materials, and promote vegan-friendly alternatives wherever possible.
As vegans, we know that no matter how hard we try to minimise our impact on the planet, animals and our health, we can never satisfy everyone. There will always be someone ready and waiting to scrutinise our efforts; to point out our apparent hypocrisy or shame us for some inconsistency or other. We will never be vegan enough for some folk, and while it’s most often meat eaters waiting to defensively tear us down, our fellow vegans can be just as enthusiastic in their criticisms.