Is Fashion Blogging Wearing Out the World? - A take on Lucy Siegle's book

18 February 2018

One of my New Years resolutions is to read more. And not read in the sense of reading Instagram captions or Twitter feeds, picking up an actual paper book and reading. In January, I got through 2 books - one of which was 'To Die for: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?' by Lucy Siegle.

This book delves deep into unsustainable fashion, exposing our economic and moral accountability as humans to other humans and our planet. If you've ever wondered how high street shops fill their shelves with weekly arrivals, then this is the book for you - it's a page turner and at no point does Lucy Siegle write this in a preachy tone. So massive credit to her for writing an amazing book. Siegle reveals the truth behind bulk fashion, the importance of purchasing decisions and pushes the case for a new sustainable design era. This book not only opened my eyes to a whole side of fashion I knew little about but also inspired me to change how I consume fashion and how mainstream blogging contributes to this cycle.

The bloggers take.
It's 2018 and it would be naive to not recognise the impact of influencer marketing and the eagerness of brands to work with bloggers for creative input. From my own experience as a blogger, its easy to be seduced by fast fashion to create relevant content to keep up with fashion cycles. 

I look at so many Youtubers and bloggers do tours of their wardrobes and hauls of what they've bought every week - and the amount of clothes some people have actually shocks me(which is hard to do). 

In my humble opinion, I don't believe enough mainstream bloggers with influence are pushing this agenda. Again, this is not intended to be preachy or tell people what to do, but if you have millions of followers on Instagram who want to see what you're purchasing and in most cases, will often purchase the same - why not encourage them to think about what they're wearing and the effects of that.

Even for those who aren't bloggers, money is tight and so fast fashion is convenient for most of us. But then some of the questions I asked myself were ..1) the question of whether I have to embrace cheap fast fashion or as my dad has been saying for the last 21 years of my life - 'isn't my wardrobe already large enough?' Should I completely reject fast fashion? 

Lets face it - society has an obsession with both big-name labels and cheap fashion. Reading this book allowed me to make the decision that I don't want to actively contribute to the already damming problem we've created.  I hold my hands up, I used to love fast fashion - the burgundy coat in this post is even a product of fast fashion. Whilst I take partial responsibility for the effect the West's obsession with fast fashion has had on the children and women of developing countries forced to produce whatever the trend of the moment is, working 12 hours shifts to make clothes that will barely last 2 months. I feel very inspired to do something about it.

Lucy Siegle believes that it is possible to be an 'ethical fashionista', simply by being aware of how, who and where we buy our clothing.

My big (not so secretive) plan:
  1.  Only buy what I need - at the start of each month I've began to ask myself what new items of clothing I already need, if they're already in my wardrobe and if I actually need them or just want them because I've seen them on Instagram or Youtube. Benefits of this; you're making your mark on the fight against ethical fashion and also by buying only the things you need, you'll save yourself a lot of 'dolla'. 
  2. And with that said, I'm only allowed to buy two to three new items per month. From now on all my outfit posts will showcase items I already have and items that are bought ethically. 
  3. Go secondhand or Go home - Depop, Charity Shops, ASOS Marketplace, eBay, Wardrobe Swapping (or borrowing and forgetting to give back) - you name it, preloved buying is a great way to be ethical and by returning to the days before fast fashion, this also bolsters individualism and enhances our own unique style. So win win for all. 
  4. Donate any items of unworn clothing to charity. Also, by donating those items that are 'rags' i.e. clothes that you have worn to death and are no longer fit for the human body, charity shops get money for it from the rag trade, these get recycled and you're also helping the planet by reducing landfill!

But I like high street - Where on the high street can I shop
Head to Good Shopping Guide to know everything about the retailers that are paving the way for sustainable shopping and doing their bit for ethical fashion. 

Want to shop ethical now, without all the reading then I have your back...

  1. H&M has been praised for being the first to sign the legally binding Bangladesh Safety Accord, they also have started to declare stakeholders in their supply chain and has a pretty good H&M Conscious range which continues to show proof of how sustainable fashion can be innovative and on trend. 
  2. From my research, New Look ranks relatively well too.
  3. M&S Plan A is a proactive strategy combatting the issue and they are the only major retailer to have committed to ensuring its suppliers are able to pay workers a living wage in the less economically developed countries.
  4. Trainer fanatics - no need to panic as New Balance have been recognised for their high standards around the globe for working conditions in their factories.
  5. Grazia Daily did a article on how easy it was to shop ethically on the high street and some of the companies on their list making a effort to improve their ethical stance include; H&M, Cos, Gap, Zara, M&S - read the article here.

I've also noticed a lot of instagram pages are popping up full of brands producing ethical &; sustainable clothing that look great. 

I completely understand that it'll be a slow process and certainly a hard one for me - I will probably fail a few times but I want to acknowledge the issue and attempt to make a change.

Going Green could really be the new black.

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