Three years ago, I was so fed up with my industry I didn't buy any fashion for a whole year.
Now, when many are pointing at fashion as the culprit for climate change and the ravenous Australian fires, I have to remind myself of two things.
1: I can't dwell on the frustration I feel about everyone else who isn't shopping ethically or sustainably. I have to focus on the impact of my own choices, and what I can do with my own buying power.
2: Fashion is not to blame. The choices brands and buyers make with fashion, are.
I published a blog post a year ago today, about my experience buying no clothing the year before. Yep, you read that right - I didn't buy any new clothes for 365 days, except for a $9 pre-loved outfit from Vinnies, some undies and socks. Did I have a positive environmental impact? Yes. Was it hard? Hell yes. Will I do it again? Probably not.
I'm not a nun. I'm an ethical and sustainable fashion advocate, which means I want people to buy things, I just want them to buy better things.
I write to inspire my readers, you, to make better fashion choices, not to submit yourself to the all-mighty fashion convent and completely stop buying. I did it for a whole year and maybe I don't cope well with abstinence, but it made me feel worse about fashion instead of better.
The fashion industry is rife with social justice and waste issues, but we can’t just stop buying and we can’t just shut the industry down. Instead, we need to buy better, we need to demand transparency and better working conditions, and we need to reinvent the industry we’ve ruined with fast fashion, polyester and trends.
Buying fashion is perfectly fine, there’s no guilt in that, so long as it is ethical and sustainable. Endless buying and one-time-wearing is the problem, but buying fashion and loving it, living in it, and cherishing it, is not.
I don’t want to give up fashion and I don't want you to either. I want to inspire you to buy ethical fashion and sustainable fashion, and instead of boycotting fashion, I want you to buy good fashion that means something to you. I want you to support local designers who love what they do, and buy from labels who give their makers a chance to build a better life through ethical opportunities.
It's not about boycotting, it's about buying better.
The Fashion Advocate x
Shot by The Studio Melbourne.