Reuse, Recraft, Relove - Home Styling!
How have you been swagging your style during lock down? Personally, I have alternated between sweatpants and my usual jeans & t-shirt combo with a dash of effort for my zoom calls. Last week’s Fashion Roundtable webinar focused on how we can fall back in love with our wardrobes— discussing everything from sustainable solutions when buying new, reusing what garments we already have and re-crafting them into something different without having to leave the house.
A style veteran herself, Tamara Cincik— CEO of Fashion Roundtable— is the ultimate stylist who’s been used to working with exclusive designers, brands and clients like Sophie Ellis-Bextor. She was therefore able to give us her own valuable advice on how to pull together our own wardrobe pieces to create a new look.
Joining the panel this week were an array of designers, stylists and brand owners who collectively put customers and sustainability first through the designs they create.
- Catherine Teatum & Rob Jones, designers of the British brand Teatum Jones
- Esther Knight, brand owner Fabric for Freedom who uses recycled or sustainable plant-based fabrics to innovate personal one-off pieces
- Merryn Leslie, a Former Fashion Editor for ID Magazine and now owner of 69 Boutique, one of the first sustainable fashion concept shops in the UK. She gave her insight into how the industry has changed from her editor days and throughout her sustainable journey with her business
- Milada Burcikova from The Centre For Sustainable Fashion who provided a psychological viewpoint
When it comes to fashion and buying habits do you have peers, icons, influencers which inspire your purchasing habits? Or is it simply based on nostalgia with types of fabrics and cuts from the past which draw you to a particular piece? Or maybe a bit of both? Without truly realising it, the fashion industry has always been the underling influence of our every purchase— from the showcasing of fashion shows and the fashion calendars to which the industry adhere to.
However, is all this about to change? Last year the Swedish Fashion Council cancelled Stockholm’s Fashion Week for a more sustainable alternative and in the last week an announcement from Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele revealed they were cutting shows from 5 to 2 for a more “seasonless” approach to the industry.
It’s a positive step forward— creating powerful change in the industry not just for financial gain. By showing less and drastically slowing down the fashion cycle, designers have the opportunity to see how their customers' personal wardrobes fit with their offering. It’s a slower approach to fashion than the trends which are spewed out in such quick succession year-on-year, month-by-month.
When COVID-19 lockdown lifts and we navigate our way to a new normal, retail fashion shops— from luxury to independents— will have that need to go into heavy sales and shift the mountains of stock that’s been gathering in their shops and warehouses over these last few months. How can we break old habits when we buy back into the old system of mass consumption? Or do we use this time to clear through and realign?
Many who are currently purchasing fast fashion have seen first hand the impact of these companies in the last month, with Bangladesh workers not being paid for orders which have already been produced. Each time this happens it enters into people’s conscience, and we understand why the collective are shouting so loudly about these issues. Influencers in this space must combine their knowledge and resources to change the narrative and communicate to people about sustainability, whilst not letting them feeling guilty about not being able to afford their entire lifestyle. Shopping will not always be conscious or ethical— we grow to become more sustainable in our choices. The messaging needs to be of encouragement and inspiring people to make the first step.
With the ethical fashion community coming together they must use the same key sustainability terms and dialogue in order to keep pushing through the correct messaging to target into mainstream audiences. When shoppers are ready to buy new, they need to be told the true the story behind every piece—having this knowledge to hand brings the value back into our clothes, and reinforces the true ethical credentials of retailers.
However, when we come out into the new normal, the economy will limit our shopping habits and make us focus on more practical purchasing. We’ve seen this already happen during lockdown when Athlesiure sales grew and summer dresses took a dip. Instead, now more than ever, shoppers are looking again at their wardrobe becoming more resourceful with a “make do and mend” mentality. This brings to life people’s own vision of themselves through their clothes by “layering”. As Milada Burcikova says ‘With each layer you are combing new and old clothes, in doing this layering you are connecting pieces from your wardrobe from different parts of your life in material form’
In turn, this becomes periods of our life, a material expression not like a catwalk show. We need to stop listening to those who say it’s wrong for you connections and combinations to be pieced together in such a way because it doesn’t suit the fashion industry’s usual dictation of trends and seasons. Only what is happening right now and what we have in our wardrobe counts. This strength in your own identity is something we should all build on, especially during this period of downtime.
So what are you waiting for? As Merryn Leslie says ‘Try the #MarieKondo method by asking each piece, does it bring you joy?’. Collectively we need to shop better and fall back in love with our clothes, thus creating a wardrobe for ourselves.
If you’d like to watch the Webinar in full, please click HERE.
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