Guest contributor Manon Marguerite
This issue we have a guest writer, Manon Marguerite! We interviewed her earlier in the issue about sustainability and ethical fashion, but we wanted to know more about how—and why—it is important to maintain ethical practice when it comes to our fashion choices. Here are Manon’s thoughts.
It’s a tough business, staying cute. But what does that mean in today’s environmental and sociological landscape? Cuteness, in my opinion, is more than just an aesthetic. It’s something that comes from within—an attitude and care for the world. I can’t feel confident in my outfit if I knew it was manufactured at the expense of the planet or someone else’s livelihood. We’re inundated with warnings of fast fashion, sweatshops, non-recyclable fabrics, the environmental impacts of manufacturing and so on—all of which can feel overwhelming. It can be hard to know what changes should (or can) be made to ensure you’re being an ethical and environmentally conscious consumer, so here are some tips to get you started.
1. Rebuy and resell
Luckily for people who like Kawaii fashion or alternative fashion styles, reselling and rebuying clothing is hugely popular. Whether it’s apps like Depop or trading at a local meet, this is a fantastic way to extend the lifespan of a garment and make sure it doesn’t end up in a landfill. And when you’re tired with a garment you can sell it on to someone who will love it again!
2. Thrift or buy vintage
Thrift and vintage stores are a fantastic resource of cool, quirky, and fun clothing. My favourite things to look for are vintage lingerie (vintage nightgowns are perfect for layering and giving an outfit a dreamy look!) and cute sweaters. By thrifting or buying vintage, you’re giving a garment a new life and avoiding the damage done by manufacturing something new as well as avoiding more landfill. Vintage clothing quality is also usually a lot better than modern, fast fashion quality so the things you buy are likely to last much longer. Plus you can find something truly unique!
3. Remake or repair
Time to get creative. For well-loved garments I am not ready to let go of just yet, remaking and repairing is one of my favourite activities. Patching old denim with cute fabrics, cross-stitching a cute design on your favourite sweater, or simply cutting up your old clothing to make something totally new are all great ways to increase a garment’s life-span. Not only that, but they’re also wonderful and cathartic activities that leave you with a really unique, personalized piece you can be proud of and have fun making.
4. Buy from independent designers and small brands
Supporting independent designers and local brands is a great way to find unique and ethically-made items. Most of the items will be handmade so you can be confident about who you’re buying from rather than worry about supporting sweatshops and other bad manufacturing habits.
5. Choose well
The longer an item will last you, the better—so rather than buying a lot of cheap clothing that will only be worn once or twice, it’s best to spend your money on higher quality items you will cherish and keep for a long time.
At the end of the day, no one is perfect but every little choice makes a difference. Challenge yourself next time you get that shopping urge to make something yourself, check out your local thrift store, or support an independent designer.