Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Haulternative (or why I wear vintage)

This week has been Fashion Revolution week.  What's that, you say? Fashion Revolution is a movement aimed at educating people to become more mindful consumers and to demand ethical and sustainable practice in the fashion industry. It asks us all, who made your clothes?

Following the building collapse at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh three years ago, which exposed dangerous working conditions for underpaid workers and resulted in a tragic loss of human life, the Fashion Revolution was born. This organization believes that fashion does not have to come with such a high cost - to our environment or to the people who work in the industry.

Vintage seersucker dress

Did you know, for example, that it takes 2720 liters of water to make a t-shirt? That's how much water a person drinks over the span of three years. Mind boggling. Or how about this -- 95% of clothes discarded can easily be recycled or upcycled? And the average person wears only 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. When we consider that, why on earth are people buying more now than ever before?

So, this week people have again worn their clothes inside out to show their labels (I did this three years ago) and Fashion Revolution has been encouraging people to take part in other campaigns, too. This year, I've discovered the #haulternative. You can read up about it here, but basically Fashion Revolution (and our locally based Redress HK) are encouraging people to take a different approach to refreshing their wardrobes which doesn't mean buying a bazillion new clothes.

Moheda shoot

So, here is my fashion #haulternative.  It involves wearing secondhand, going to clothing swaps (or organizing them), and buying vintage.  I thought it would be a good time to reaffirm how much I love vintage clothing.

So, here goes...

Oh vintage, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...

One of the main reasons I love vintage is knowing that the garment I wear is likely one of a kind.  I never have to worry about running into someone on the street and having that awkward moment when we realize we're wearing the exact same blouse (or something like that).  The novelty prints of vintage skirts, blouses and dresses are unlike any I've seen. I mean, blue bunnies? Carousel horses? Hot air balloons? You name it, I've seen it...and bought it.

Another reason is the quality of vintage garments is unlike much of what we see in fashion these days.  The whole concept of fast fashion is named for the speed at which clothes are produced and how quickly these fashion brands are spinning off new collections. Aside from the human cost of fast fashion, there is also a loss of quality.  Garments these days cannot be worn as long before they break down. Vintage garments are made well otherwise, how have they lasted all these decades? 

Finally, I have to say one of the best reasons I love vintage is because I know I'm not impacting the already burdened environment we live in.  Wearing vintage breathes new life into garments that are still fashionable and stylish.  And there's a story about each and every vintage garment.  Who owned it previously, where they wore it, why they decided to pass it along, and so on. I love those stories.  

You know, if you look at many of today's trends, you're bound to have the same sentiment I often have: Oh, those such and such (insert item of clothing here) are coming back into fashion again.  So, rather than buy said item of clothing new, why not look at buying the original?  Maxi and midi skirts? Mine are vintage.  Crop tops?  Yep. Vintage. Color blocked prints?  You get the idea.

Alright, alright, you got me. This #haulternative hasn't really pushed me to change my ways, but I have good habits. Or at least I try. My real goal this year is to pare down my children's wardrobes and buy them less. I lived in hand-me-downs as a child, so I'm trying to do the same with them.

Which one of these #haulternatives would you try?


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