The Big Fashion Thrift!
I'm sitting here this morning on my friends comfy old brown leather couch with book in hand and unable to put it down.........I'm not a fiction reader and rarely read any form of writing that is contained in a hard/soft back formula. I'm making an exception with this book this morning and I'll tell you why in a moment.........
I have just returned from my first visit to a car boot sale in over three years. The morning is fine and the atmosphere is pleasant in a slow rural kinda way. The crowd are laid back and the sale is in the church grounds amongst the last of the shaded green grass that hasn't been yellow burned to a crisp by the past few weeks soaring temperatures.
The sun is scraping its way through some murky clouds and the temperature is tipping towards the cooler side. As I pass through the black iron gates and survey the scene I can feel the bubbling of my spirits rising to the surface as I remember previous trips to similar places that took place in the past.
I navigate a system so as not to miss anything and start my circular journey from stall to stall. Rails of clothing and used toys with the odd vintage item are order of the day. The smell of home baked scones and offerings of tea in brown paper cups seems very tempting. As I sit and sip my tea I realise that this sale and every Boot sale/Flea market like it offer the remnants of an over indulgent and consumer obsessed society. On closer inspection the rails are full of clothing from the cheaper chain stores and most with price tags still intact. The quality of clothing items has changed since my last visit to a Boot Sale which was in 2015. There are far less vintage or more expensive clothing available and I spoke to one of the ladies that was selling her items about this.
She explains to me that she buys a lot of her clothing from charity shops and re-sells them at markets and boots sales etc. She tells me it is harder to find good labels anymore as the charity shops are chuck full of unwanted fast fashion clothing items. Most of these pieces have never been worn and so are for sale complete with tags on...At the end of the day who really wants a Primark/Penneys tee shirt that has been pre-worn and only cost €3 to start with..... So she buys up the cheap never worn clothing and sells them on hoping to make a small profit.
So where have the better quality clothing items disappeared to ....Where are the wool Coats, the well made dresses , the Escada silk shirts etc. They have become lost and drowned by a seaful of cheap fast fashion clothing that we as a consumer society have become uncontrollably addicted to. Rail upon rail of poor quality synthetic clothing is paraded before my eyes and I am losing interest fast. I buy some home-made scones and make my exit home through the big black gates feeling oddly deflated.
I return home and after doing some odd jobs its back to my computer and my book of reference Green is the New Black by Tamsin Blanchard. Its a book on fashion and style and ethical choices .... Blanchard has worked as a top London stylist , has been fashion editor at the Independent, style editor at the Observer and style director at the Telegraph magazine and from her top positions has come round a full 360 on the whole dilemma on the fast fashion industry. She admits that she and her kind the elite fashionista types are and have been the worst offenders of promoting inadvertently (that which they would rarely willingly wear) cheap fast fashion. It becomes a kind of perverse pleasure to grab that designer inspired cheap high street purchase, often before the designer version has hit the luxury end market. Celebrities and stylists alike boost how they have paired their Primark €10 Gucci look-alike bag with their Marc Jacobs coat over their Prada dress. We read this small titbit of fashion trivia in some weekend supplement magazine and Hey Presto! that said €10 Primark bag has sold out at your local branch..... to be worn by you and I a couple of times and then thrown aside until its time for another clear out.
Fashion is by its very nature a waste Blanchard continues . We are always seeking newness and a fresh approach and frown heavily on any clothing item that isn't at least this season or indeed the season ahead. Fashion revels in waste and the whole business is starting to look a little ugly .........
I stop reading anymore and refer to the post I wrote here a few months back. I realise that all the thoughts and ideas in Green is the New Black I have had myself and from a different perspective that of a normal female interested in fashion and style with a weakness for thrifting and vintage too.
My original reason for thrifting was not a noble one twenty years ago but one born from a need to survive on a meagre budget at that time.. But time is the key word here...Time is the big game changer....Time has played its part in changing our global structure and has given us the space to educate ourselves on the hazardous effects on the environment by the Fashion Industry. So now I thrift and source my clothing choices as conscientiously as I can. I (Like Blanchard) adore clothes. They excite me and I'm continually fascinated by how they can affect how a person looks and thinks and feels. My gaze is constantly drawn to the most interesting of all catwalk shows that is the High Street. When I visit the city I am constantly inspired like a painter who is thirsty to fill a canvas. The colours and shapes and vibrancy of individuals choices never disappoint me and I am always soaking up the stylish fashion atmosphere.
I can spot a slow fashion styled person with eager satisfaction instantly. Its evident in the cut and quality of their outfit . The way the well made garment material falls on the body and hits and hugs the figure in all the right places enhancing it with its workmanship. Usually these fashionistas source their wardrobes (like me) at charity and vintage shops or alternatively cultivate a smaller stream lined wardrobe with good quality basics that has no need for hundreds of pointless fast fashion items to be included in it. Both of these wardrobe styles are sympathic towards the Slow Fashion Movement and yet probably belong to two entirely different types of people. I fall into the first type and so my wardrobe has still far too many clothing items in it even though they are sourced through a Slow Fashion method to the best of my ability.
There is still much scope for improvement and I am constantly working on my tendancy to hoard. That said, my days of buying bagfuls of cheap high street clothing are well and truly over. Do I miss it?.........Not a bit and these days I am generally bored by the repetitive styles that the various chain stores have to offer . Don't get me wrong I do occasionally purchase the odd piece of high street clothing that epitomises the particular look of that season. However , it is only ever one or two pieces and then I style it with a more unique item most likely bought in a charity shop and am usually happy with the result.
Ultimately we all want to look our best through our personal style and that usually happens by sourcing our clothing in the fashion industry. There are lots of choices out there. There's the high street, the luxury designer market, thrifting, vintage etc. The ways to purchase clothing brands and pre-used clothing is endless....From car boot sales to ebay...The choice is ours to make and we have never been so spoiled for choice in our freedom to source our style from so many different avenues. The Ethical Fashion Movement is on the increase and there is no reason why we can't all contribute to it..... even if it is only in the tiniest way...It all makes a big difference !
I have included in my photographs some looks I've put together from completely thrifted pieces that I have sourced in charity shops and flea markets recently.
Hope you have enjoyed reading this post if you have any thoughts or suggestions on Ethical Fashion and the Slow Fashion Movement I'd be delighted to hear them in the comments.
Lots of love VIOLINKIT XXX