Since taking the plunge from vegetarian to vegan I’ve done a lot of reading. Like a lot of reading. In my previous post (here) I mentioned how turning vegan has opened a can of worms for me. I’ve started to question a lot of my every day life choices and what I can do to reduce my negative impact on the environment. Sure I can’t completely erase my carbon footprint; everyone has one. But I’m committed to making mine as small as possible.
Throughout uni I worked for a pretty famous fashion store, Topshop. Like most teenagers/girls in their early twenties I was obsessed with this fast fashion which was probably made even worse by working in this environment where we were always expected to look the part and dress a certain way (not even kidding, being a ‘fashion rolemodel’ is part of the job description). This meant I spent a lot of money on clothing and make up without giving a second thought to where it came from, how ethically is was made and how sustainable it really was.
I’m now making a very conscious effort to question where my clothes and make up come from (I’m going to be putting together a post on cruelty free and vegan make up soon so keep an eye out for that). I’m also thinking twice before buying clothes in general. Do I really need it? I went through this horrible phase during uni where I would buy something new for every night out. This quite frankly is ridiculous. I’m not saying stop shopping. I’m saying think twice before you that new dress for your big night on Saturday for it then to sit in your wardrobe because you couldn’t possibly be seen in it again too soon. I mean it would be truly terrible to wear it to two parties in a row, that would just mess up my Instagram feed completely…you’re hearing how ridiculous this sounds right?
I’m working on creating a small dynamic wardrobe made up of good quality, versatile pieces that I can source sustainably – I’ve been very inspired by the wonderful blog A Small Wardrobe. I’m not a millionaire though (unfortunately) so I have to work within my economical limitations. That pretty much means sticking to highstreet brands, a lot of which don’t have the best reputation when it comes to ethics and sustainability. So who am I going to looking to when adding to this wardrobe of mine? Zara (thank god, because these guys are my all time favourite highstreet brand), ASOS (who have an awesome eco edit on at the moment), H&M (who are opening a store in Christchurch soon, hurrah!) & People Tree. If I’m ever looking for anything more high end, which hopefully once I’m a fully functioning adult with a good career under my belt will be, I’m looking at Stella McCartney. She’s a lifelong veggie who doesn’t use any leather or fur in her products.
I’ve already began to collate a wishlist of versatile classics which prove just how easy it is to shop sustainably…
It’s only since turning vegan I’ve really looked at how much leather and animal products I own. I honestly didn’t think I had that much but once I really had a look I was a little bit shocked. Most of my shoes are leather, I own a down jacket and couple of leather pieces from Mulberry and Michael Kors; all of which were purchased before I even turned vegetarian. I’m not about to chuck all of this out though. I’ve thought about this long and hard and talked it out with vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters. And I’ve ultimately come to the conclusion that I won’t be buying anymore animal products to wear. That’s no wool, no leather, no down.
I’m not, however, going to get rid of everything I already own primarily because I don’t believe in waste. I’ve just preached a more sustainable lifestyle to you all so it would be a bit contradictory to gather all my shoes that are in perfect working order and put them in a landfill. Another reason is some of these items have a lot of meaning for me. When I graduated from my undergraduate degree my Dad gave me a Mulberry handbag that I had swooned over for literally years as a reward and gift. Now to me that bag isn’t just a bag. It represents the blood, sweat and (a lot of) tears I put into getting my degree and it means a lot that it came from Dad. It was also gifted to me in a time of my life where I wasn’t thinking the way I think now and I believe that’s something I need to embrace. I know a lot of people won’t agree with that thought process but we’re all different and need to come to our own decision that sits comfortably with ourselves.
On that note if anyone has any recommendations for ethical and sustainable fashion over here in NZ or the UK (I’m headed back for a holiday in 3 weeks, woohoo!) they’d be very gratefully received.