When I first started to explore the field of sustainable fashion the number one advice I would hear was BUY LESS or even better – don’t buy at all. Which in theory sounds good but in a reality we still want to shop. My initial belief that our society will magically stop consuming is long gone. Maybe that was just my experience but I felt like my options were either to go for that or the 3 sustainable brands that wasn’t really my style. But oh well – in the name of environment they say.
Personally nothing against second options in my book. I would rather see someone buying beautiful and more sustainable garments than scaring them away by suggesting to stop buying all together. In addition, I have noticed that when you make one sustainable choice you become more open to make another. So even if we often just focus on the big change I feel like taking baby steps are the way to go. We also tend to forget that what works for one might not work for someone else. For example, I am not convinced that someone working in a corporate environment could and would be willing to shop second hand. Therefore we need a variety to choose from if we wish to help the environment for real.
During the evolution of What’s Your Legacy we have been brainstorming alternatives to these pressing issues within fashion industry some existing and some more futuristic so let me lay them out here:
1. Clothes rental aka sharing economy. In this globalised world where we constantly move around we might not wish to hold onto things forever so rental services might become handy. Some players exploring this area are subscription based Higher Studio that holds library filled with garments from Comme Des Garcons to Celine and Danish baby clothing rental Vigga that will rent out clothes for the fast growing toddlers.
2. Buying second-hand but in a cool way. From reselling your wardrobe through Depop or Shpock to starting your own curated instagram vintage/second hand shop that has beautiful finds and great aesthetics like Shop Girl LA, Shop Pilgrim, Adornment Studios and many more. Basically utilising the skills and willingness to go through charity shops to uncover hidden gems and building sustainable business on top of that.
3. Circular economy. Products that can be sent back to company after you have finished using them and they would upcycle/recycle them in a new product. Check out Mud Jeans and Swedish Stockings for that. Also read more on the subject at Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
4. Blockchain-powered supply chain transparency that would allow products to be easily traceable at every level from raw material, garment production and up until it reaches the customer. Even though it is in the early stages at the moment this technology-enhanced approach looks promising and one of our favourite brands that have been experimenting with blockchain is Martine Jarlgaard.
5. Sustainable fast fashion. Like KNA Plus pleated bags that will start to biodegrade after a year of use. We tend to assumes that consumers should want things that last forever but the truth is that we want a new design and upgrade our wardrobe each season. This brand addresses that by designing products for truly short lifecycle, making them zero waste, but also serving the economy and increasing the demand.
6. Brands that use sustainable, recycled, deadstock fabrics. There are abundance of those! Have you seen our sustainable brand guide?
8. Virtual clothing? This might be far fetched idea because I feel like virtual reality might need some 10-15 years to become part of our everyday life but by the time we will attend conferences/meetings in virtual reality we will probably want to buy virtual clothing for that and hey, no raw materials needed for that. In the meantime what about augmented reality accessories seen through smart glasses?
Even though buying less is great if that feels limiting what about buying smart?
BEHNO | womenswear
SUSTAINABILITY | Ethically made in India whilst partnering with nonprofit organisations. They us luxurious fabrics and eco conscious practices.
THOREAU THE LABEL | womenswear
SUSTAINABILITY | Ethically made in UK using vegan surplus and sustainable fabrics.
WYTHE BEA | womenswear
SUSTAINABILITY | Ethically made in UK using traditional British fabrics.
RAHEL PFROMMER | womenswear
JEWELLERY | Handmade in London from silver.
Look 1: Jacket: Wythe Bea/ Look 2: Jumpsuit: Thoreau The Label; Earring: Rahel Pfrommer / Look 3: Jacket: Wythe Bea; Jumpsuit: Thoreau The Label / Look 4: Shirt: Behno / Look 5: Shirt: Thoreau The Label; Bow top: Behno; Ear cuff: Rahel Pfrommer / Look 6: Shirt: Behno / Look 7: Blazer and bow top: Behno; Pants: Wythe Bea / Look 8: Shirt: Behno; Ear cuff: Rahel Pfrommer