When it comes to dressing ourselves, style is often times more important than substance. We exist in a culture of convenience, one which sees fast fashion brands churning out thousands of pieces each season.
Such brands keep the pieces cheap to placate the consumer, and most shoppers never consider where their clothing has come from or what the life cycle of the clothing is going to be.
Like any element on our planet, our t-shirt has a life cycle. It begins in the churning hub of an international garment factory, stagnates at a mass stock warehouse, peaks when worn by you – maybe even just once - and ends prematurely in a landfill.
We are accustomed to disposing of our clothes after just a few uses, but with environmental issues now top of the agenda, it's time to ditch that attitude and join the growing community of conscious fashion lovers who want to look stylish while keeping their wardrobes sustainable.
Sustainability is a key factor in making positive choices for the environment, as the earth cannot indefinitely continue to offer the resources required to mass produce clothing.
Online, where social media users are used to seeing influencers flogging polyester-heavy fashion hauls, they are now seeing sustainable bloggers rising to prominence, who are educational rather than commercially driven and promote sustainable shopping methods.
It can be as simple as researching a brand’s manufacturing tactics before purchasing, to as complex as commissioning a piece from an independent designer.
How to do it
The easiest way is to simply shop second hand, which can be done online, through apps like Depop, or in any of Ireland’s well established vintage retailers. Vintage brand Nine Crows have even opened a Nine Crows Thrift Shop, offering vintage clothing for discounted rates to meet the demand for sustainable style on a budget.
It's a model that charity shops have been using since time immemorial, and with Pride Festival kicking off this month, it’s the perfect excuse to raid the racks of your local thrift shop.
I love shopping in Phibsborough because you have a lot of charity shops in a relatively small area. You can hop around to all of them without too much hassle. You've got, the Irish Cancer Society shop, the Debra charity chop, the Enable Ireland shop, and Oxfam.
Pride Festival is much like a music festival - anything goes when it comes to fashion. Whether you don your favourite jeans with a bedazzled 70's jacket, or opt for a statement skirt and ruffled blouse, these are all things that can be picked up after a peruse in any Enable Ireland, St Vincent de Paul or Irish Cancer Society charity shop.
Charity shopping doubles the life cycle length of clothing, and can continue to multiply it indefinitely.
While it may seem intimidating to approach a rail of the unknown, the rummage is half the fun, and when you emerge triumphantly with a beaded top or designer skirt for just a few euro clutched in your hand, the sense of personal pride is immense.
Before you settle on your ensemble for this month’s Pride festival, take the charity shop into consideration, and prepare to be surprised by what you can source – sartorially and sustainably.
- Written by Sarah Magliocco
Watch the video above to see the charity shop gem that Sarah chose to wear for Pride 2019.