Making sustainability fashionable
Shopping without your wallet may sound counteractive to buying that great new top but it’s the start of building a sustainable wardrobe.
Nelson’s Habitat for Humanity
Becky Wyatt said it was estimated in
2011, 1.72 tonnes of clothes ended up as landfill, equalling the same amount of brand new clothes purchased.
‘‘Because I work in an op shop I obviously see the result of overconsumption of clothes, they’re made to be disposable.’’
In an age where consumers throw clothes away or into a clothing bin, fashion stylist Sonya Leusink-Sladen said creating a planet-friendly wardrobe was about ‘‘upcycling, value per wear and second-hand shopping’’.
‘‘We need to step away from the idea that clothing is something to throw out after a while.
‘‘We should be investing in quality and looking after it.’’
She said 100 years ago women only had a few dresses including a good dress, a church dress, a couple of day dresses ‘‘and a whole bunch of aprons’’.
‘‘The cost of the best dress would’ve been in the thousands but you would look after it and you would repair it and when it fell apart, you would turn it into something for your child.0
‘‘It was that completely different mindset than what there is now.’’
Now, it’s easy to buy multiple items of clothes from a chain store with prices often under $20 for an outfit.
Leusink-Sladen said while it wasn’t bad to buy from these places, there needed to be a balance.
‘‘It’s just buying the right pieces and looking after them.’’
Mindful shopping was also something to consider.
Everyone knows someone who buys on impulse and has half their drawers full of clothes with the label still on.
Leusink-Sladen said a good way to combat buying on the fly was to ‘‘shop without your wallet’’.
‘‘You look at things differently. In the shop you think this is amazing’’ but by the time you have to get your wallet, there’s time to come off that ‘‘chemical high’’.
Other ways to stave off the buying beast are to walk away and think about it overnight or put it on layby, even if you can afford it straight away.
‘‘It makes you think ‘How much do I really want this?’ If it’s not that exciting then you’re not prepared to wait.
‘‘If you really want something, you don’t mind waiting.’’
Op shops offer a plethora of used clothes that have stood the test of time.
She said the key to thrift shopping was ‘‘not to get discouraged’’ and to think of what the item could become.
‘‘I start with fabric, I let my eye be drawn to fabric.’’
With some basic sewing skills and a sachet of dye, changing buttons on a shirt, hemming a skirt or making a cotton dress brighter can instantly bring an item into vogue.
Leusink-Sladen referred to a quote: ’’French women have small wardrobes and they’re the most stylish women.
‘‘Less is more. It’s not what you wear but how you wear it.’’
Sonya Leusink Sladen, at Save Mart in Annesbrook, with a jacket she made from a curtain and a dress purchased from Save Mart.