Spring is here and as well as turning to my attnetion to my garden, I'm also looking at my wardrobe wanting some fresh springy vibes. But the fashion industry has taken quite a bashing recently in relation to it’s impact, not only on the environment, but also on the people working in or living close to the industry, and rightly so.
According to this study, “Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined.” Plus it accounts for 25-30% of microfibre plastic flows into the ocean, according to McKinsey & Company. AND 93% of companies surveyed by Fashion Checker in 2020 weren’t paying workers a living wage.
These statistics are appalling and yet so easy for us to gloss over when we’re trailing through shopping malls or online shops looking for the next thing that’ll help fill the void and make us feel a bit better about ourselves, if only for a few minutes.
Because, what we wear and how we present ourselves to the world is so much wrapped up in our self-image, self worth and self esteem that it can actually impact a lot on our mental wellbeing. And that’s why, in the Shape our Future membership this month, I decided to invite Sustainable Stylist, Becky Barnes, to join us for a Q&A about how to feel good about what we wear, without having such a negative impact on the planet.
I asked Becky, what exactly it is she does. “I am a personal stylist. I work with every day mums who are very busy and just find themselves a little bit stuck with what to wear. You see, we constantly evolve but sometimes our wardrobes doesn’t catch up with the woman that we’ve become and that’s what causes the confusion where you’re staring at the clothes that you once loved, and you just can’t connect to them at this point in time. So my job is to understand who you are right now, what your lifestyle is and pull together a way forward. To teach you how to do more with what you’ve got and give you clarity on what’s going to work because sometimes it’s just so overwhelming.”
As a mum herself, Becky really understands the transition that we go through as women navigating motherhood and goes on to say, “We strip ourselves back when we have kids. We go through huge transformation and start putting everyone else first. We simplify everything, stop wearing make up, take off the jewellery, wear things that don’t matter if they get sick on or are ok for crawling through a ball pit.
But you just come to a point where you feel ready to move on and you want to discover who the new woman is. That’s really exciting.".
One of the questions we had for Becky, who, as a Sustainable Stylist, offers a wide variety of services including Charity shopping style sessions and clothes swaps, was, ‘With so many companies advertising different eco-accreditations, award logos etc, who do you trust?’ In an industry rife with Greenwashing, this is essential info for the discerning buyer.
Becky told us there are currently other eight accreditations connected with sustainability and they all tackle the issue from differenet angles. There are global recycling standards, organic accreditations, work standards etc etc.
"But you have to decide what is most important to you. What do you want to focus in on? For example, do you care about the clothes being vegan, zero waste, second hand, or from a circular economy? Once you understand that, then you can look into the accreditations linked to your particular values.”
Great answer Becky! Progress, not perfection. We can’t do it all, so you have to focus your time and energy (and budget) on what’s most important to you. For me personally, I’m all about second hand where possible and Becky got me going on the Vinted app which I just successfully made my first purchase from.
Of course minimalism is key here too. Only buy what you actually need or is going to see you through in the longer run. The number of times I've bought something out of pure passion or desperation, only to wear it a few imes before realising, it's just not for me - eeek!
So, the good news according to Becky is, “You can finally get to grips with your style, and it doesn’t have to cost the Earth” . It just takes a little thought and research, or a little help from a Sustainable Stylist like Becky.
(By the way, in case you’re wondering, I’m not receiving any kickback or freebies for this (no free fancy trainers for instance). I just love what Becky is doing for women and for the planet, and want to help spread the word).
If you want to find out more about the Shape our Future membership that combines looking after your health, as well as that of the planet, head here for all the info.
Wishing you Health & Happiness,
PS If you want to dig a little deeper and become a more clued-up clothing customer, Becky also recommends the following;
ECOlabelindex Is the largest global directory of eco-labels.
And the Good on you app to help find which companies impact least on people and planet.