I am writing this on the International Day of Love, Valentine’s day. On my social media accounts, I have been building up to this big love day by focusing our attention to a different kind of love.
The past few years we’ve seen a shift on what this day means for you, whether single, loved up or just plain not in the mood. And this year I really wanted to think about the love that we have for our clothes. No, really!
You see, when I started the ball rolling for The Re.Store, I really wanted us to build back the relationship we have with clothing, rather than seeing it as this throw-away commodity. “In” one season, “out” the next. Basically, I didn’t want to be anything like fast fashion. Having been a designer for the past 15 years, I fortunately worked with lifestyle brands which meant that I was exposed to a more design led ethos, rather than a margin led one. This of course changed as the companies I was working with grew, but it was an ethos that was instilled in my nether the less.
And then there is vintage clothing. If you’ve been part of The Re.Store for a while you will know my deep love for vintage pieces, I am currently sat here in my hand knit heart fairisle jumper with leg-o-mutton sleeves. I haven’t worn this jumper for a couple of years, I hands up am guilty of the fact that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. And so, in my bid to make us think twice about the clothes we already have in our wardrobe, I am donning my chunky, on season knit and remembering the day it came into my life back in 2013/14 on a trip to Portland, Oregon. I will never throw this jumper away; it has a story to me, and it obviously had a story to someone who painstakingly knitted it.
If you are a vintage shopper, then I bet you too have pieces in your wardrobe that have a story. You knew where you were when you bought them, who you were with and probably the price you paid. And I bet that you would think twice about throwing these garments away too. This is the relationship I am talking about. This is what I want to bring to all the clothes that we have in our wardrobe.
In the UK alone, we throw away 350,000 tones of wearable clothing into landfill each year. We also donate or recycle a whopping 700,000 tonnes of clothing each year too, the equivalent of 459 Olympic sized swimming pools. It’s great that more goes into the recycling bin than the landfill, but how many items do you own that are made from recycled fabrics, or bought form charity shops?
“I think we really forget that about our clothing, that behind every item we purchase numerous hands have made it. All the clothing in the world is handmade.”
That’s why this Valentine’s Day my mission is to show the clothes we already have some love. Even if they are no longer “on trend” and you haven’t worn them in years, get them off a hanger and put them on. A human has made that item of clothing with their hands. I think we really forget that about our clothing, that behind every item we purchase numerous hands have made it. All the clothing in the world is handmade. And if they don’t have a story you know of, create one for them. Build back that relationship so that we don’t fill the landfill up with anymore clothing.
If you are shopping, aim to buy quality over quantity. I know that often the price tag is the make or break of a purchase, the cheaper options may be the only option you can afford, however think about how long that cheaper item will last. A £12.99 sports bra may seem like a good price, but after a year of wearing it and washing it has lost its shape, its colour and worst of all its fit. You then have to replace this item each year, over 10 years that means you would have spent £129.90 replacing a £12.99 sports bra.
Compare this to a £45 sports bra, much like our own Resonate Sports Bra, which is made from recycled fabrics and to your order, right here in the UK. This sports bra may seem expensive at first, but it’s made to last. The more you wash it the softer the fabric gets; the fit stays the same and the colour still pops. Over 10 years you have worn it countless times, and you still don’t need to replace it. You’ve only spent £45.
Let’s start saving up for clothes, rather than buying the cheaper option. Let’s start wearing what we already have in our wardrobe. Let’s start having a relationship with the clothing we own, let it be part of your life and look after it well. Mend it if its torn, wash it gently at 30 degrees. Let’s show our clothes some love