My good friend Sarah Chuck wrote a post about her slow fashion philosophy, which consisted of 6 ways on how she makes slow fashion a part of her style and how we can incorporate it into our wardrobes.
These six were chosen based on Sarah’s approach to slow fashion that suits her “style, aesthetic, lifestyle and budget.” The six concepts are:
- curated secondhand shops
- sustainable brands
I thought about it and applied these six concepts to my clothing and here is the break down.
My interpretation of closet is, well, shopping from clothes you already own. Whether it is thrifted or bought retail, if it resides in your closet, it is fair game to rewear it again. Hey, if Kate Middleton can wear her McQueen dress multiple times, then so can all of us with our non-McQueen dresses. LOL. Instagram has made it a foreign concept to rewear clothing you already own for fear of diluting the feed. I don’t think this is always true (I mean, look at the minimalists and capsule wardrobe-rs), you can rewear an item a variable amount of ways.
This denim jacket is something I purchased at Urban Outfitters when I truly could not find the right fitting denim jacket at Goodwill. It is a staple in my closet and I wear it frequently over graphic tees and dresses.
Handmade literally means made by your own hand. Aside from my pajamas (that are items my grandma made for me when I was a high schooler) I actually have not crafted an entire piece of clothing by hand. Blame it on not owning a sewing machine or my own laziness.
Recently, my mom has gotten into making masks from leftover fabric and I have been wearing them consistently to avoid COVID so this is as close to handmade as I get. However, I am great at repurposing, which leads into…
Refashioned or as I like to call it Fashion DIYs are ways you can repurpose clothing you already own into something newer. Refreshing the item also extends its lifespan. DIY inspiration hits when I see a designer shirt/dress/skirt/jacket that can be duplicated with items I already own (or things I can easily find at Goodwill).
Exhibit A: I have always loved this Maison Martin Margiela duct tape blazer worn by Jane from Sea of Shoes since 2010 but never found it secondhand. I recreated my version of it using a thrifted BCBG blazer and real duct tape. A year ago, I replaced the tape with denim stripes from an old pair of Madewell jeans that I didn’t wear anymore.
Over the years I have created many DIY clothing inspired from designers such as the tulle denim skirt by Unravel Project (Exhibit B). Sometimes I am inspired by thrift finds, for example, I took a dog applique (Exhibit C) from a striped shirt that didn’t fit and transferred it to a button down that did.
About 2-3 years ago, I rediscovered my love for thrifting. Since then it has helped me expand my closet without breaking the bank. Currently my closet consists of approximately 60% retail items and 40% thrifted items. I am working towards increasing my closet to be more secondhand and have fewer retail items.
Thrifting has also expanded my graphic tee collection; I have found graphic tees from expired Uniqlo collaborations that I missed out on. Here’s the Jurassic Park vintage tee that I thrifted for $3 worn in different ways.
Curated Secondhand Shops
I took curated secondhand shops to encompass online secondhand websites like eBay, Poshmark, The Real Real, and ThredUp.
I definitely use Poshmark for specific clothing items that I have in mind. Searching through Poshmark allows me to narrow down items from previous runway seasons (e.g. my pink Playnomore bag) or expired collaborations (e.g. the Zara x Disney collection) as thrifting a desired (or designer) item usually boils down to pure luck and a lot of patience.
I truly don’t believe a brand can be 100% sustainable. I do think they can work towards having and maintaining sustainable goals and business/manufacturing processes.
Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of these “sustainable brands” (Everlane, Reformation) have very troubling and racist personnel problems, which is unacceptable in my book. They might as well be… Anthropologie.
However, there are definitely brands that are true to their word. One of my favorite sustainable brands is Nooworks, which is conveniently located in San Francisco. I love their bold and colorful patterned dresses and tops.
Sustainable brands don’t always come with a reasonable price tag. Not everyone can afford a $150 item, even if the brand reasons that they pay a fair wage to workers and that textiles are sourced ethically. Their hope is that you can wear this one dress for a lifetime, thus, limiting your purchases to a few items.
So now what?
My top categories of slow fashion would be closet, thrifted, refashioned and curated secondhand shops. I don’t think my bank account can sustain a wardrobe made entirely by sustainable brands because I am a maximalist. To simply put it, I love clothes.
I enjoy the creativity of styling clothes that I already own and when I am bored, I can refashion old items I own through a DIY refresh. And when COVID goes away, I can resume sifting through the thrift stores. But until then, I will shop with my eyes through Poshmark.