‘HOW I QUIT SHOP­PING’

As Fash­ion Revo­lu­tion Week kicks off, fash­ion edi­tor Prue Lew­ing­ton re­veals how she down­sized her wardrobe to help save the planet

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER - FASHIONREVOLUTION. ORG

As a fash­ion edi­tor I am ex­pected to be on top of the hottest new trends each sea­son but I have a con­fes­sion — I haven’t shopped for over a year. In­spired by the KonMari method of de­clut­ter­ing and a home ren­o­va­tion, one year ago I cut up my credit card and culled my wardrobe to within an inch of its life. In the fash­ion in­dus­try wear­ing the same dress twice is the ul­ti­mate faux-pas, but when it takes 3000L of wa­ter to make one cot­ton T-shirt, it’s time for all of us to care more about how our clothes are made and where they end up.

It’s the an­ti­dote to fast fash­ion, a sar­to­rial purge that forces you to re-pur­pose un­wanted clothes and take bet­ter care of what’s left.

On the eve of Fash­ion Revo­lu­tion Week, which marks the an­niver­sary of the Rana Plaza fac­tory col­lapse in Bangladesh in which 1138 gar­ment work­ers were killed, con­sumers are be­ing en­cour­aged to con­sider pur­chases more thought­fully.

The ini­tia­tive en­cour­ages con­sumers to buy fewer, bet­ter qual­ity gar­ments and wants cus­tomers to ask #whomade­my­clothes to de­mand greater trans­parency in the fash­ion sup­ply chain.

Ac­cord­ing to Bap­tist World Aid Aus­tralia’s fifth an­nual Eth­i­cal Fash­ion Re­port, the per­cent­age of com­pa­nies pub­lish­ing at least some por­tion of their sup­plier lists in­creased from 26 to 34 per cent last year alone.

Even Hol­ly­wood is get­ting in on the act. At the Os­cars last month, celebri­ties in­clud­ing Camila Alves McConaughey and Zoey Deutch turned up wear­ing archival gowns to pro­mote con­scious fash­ion. And the Duchess of Cam­bridge is of­ten praised for wear­ing the same out­fits mul­ti­ple times.

Back home, my strict no-shop­ping rule was tough but no one seemed to no­tice I was wear­ing the same clothes to the of­fice each week. On des­per­ate days stor­age boxes were dusted off to re­veal a few for­got­ten gems: a be­spoke wool sweater that had lasted 20 years, and de­signer leather boots pur­chased at the same time that were in mint con­di­tion. It’s proof that with a lit­tle TLC, clothes can last decades.

I found my pared-down wardrobe lib­er­at­ing. Fewer op­tions meant fewer headaches as I scram­bled to get the kids ready for school each morn­ing. Months later the only clothes left are ba­sics that match my min­i­mal­ist style. It felt good wear­ing them over and over again. And when it’s time to re­build I’ll choose guilt-free pur­chases, which are now easy to find.

Lo­cal pro­duc­tion of la­bels Bianca Spen­der, Carla Zam­patti, No­body Denim, Cue and Man­ning Cartell is au­dited for safety and fair treat­ment of fac­tory work­ers. Re­tail giant David Jones has launched its first sus­tain­able col­lec­tion. And Aussie swimwear chain Tigerlily de­signs biki­nis with Econyl — a re­gen­er­ated fi­bre from fish­nets and other ny­lon waste. Over­seas chains H & M, Zara and C & A, which pro­duce the high­est vol­ume of prod­uct, are in­tro­duc­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal ste­ward­ship pro­grams.

So it turns out, we can all do our bit to save the world.

Prue Lew­ing­ton wears the Di­ver­sity Drape Dress by KITX by Kit Wil­low (pic­tured). The Syd­ney la­bel is at the fore­front of the sus­tain­abil­ity cam­paign.

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