Saturday, 14 August 2010

Fashion Bloggers and Consumerism

sustainable clothing clothes swap party
A little while ago, I had a bit of a dilemma with my blog. I love fashion, I love clothes and I love blogging bit when I combined all three, it almost started to sound like a list of things that I had bought or ideas for what other people could buy. I am a strong believer that we should all try and minimise our impact on the environment but struggled to see how a fashion blog could fit in with this.

I am guessing there are plenty of others who have though that fashion bloggers are shallow, encourage consumerism and only interested in buying clothes. This is, I am glad, for the most part wrong and it has suddenly become very clear to me how much fashion bloggers are doing to help promote green fashion and how I can do more myself.

It has for a while been my opinion that whilst organic cotton, sustainable fabrics etc are great, the real key to sustainable clothing is a change in peoples attitude from buying cheap fast fashion that they wear only a few times to clothes that they wear loads and then recycle when they have finished with them. What has really struck me lately is that yes most fashion bloggers do have lots of clothes but they also value these clothes immensely recycling them when they have finished and often buying second hand and vintage. Fashion bloggers are immensely resourceful when it comes to creating outfits as so many create a constant stream of new outfits without a huge budget but don't really resort to poor quality fast fashion.

As influence to varying different degrees, fashion bloggers are in a position to help (even if only in a small way) to change peoples and the industries attitude to clothing and consumption. Here are some of the great things that my fellow fashion bloggers are doing to encourage sustainable clothing, I realise that not all of these things are a conscious attempt to be green but sometimes just a result of the huge value that they place on clothes.

Here are some of the recent things I have notice fashion bloggers doing to discourage consumerism and encourage more sustainable shopping.

  • Secondhand and vintage clothing - so many bloggers now feature second hand and vintage clothing in the outfit posts some even feature outfits that are completely thrifted/ secondhand and there are even quite a few blogs almost entirely dedicated to vintage or recycled clothes.
  • Shopping bans - I have noticed lots of fashion bloggers slowing down their consumerism with shopping bans. These are a great way of inspiring others and showing them how they can make their current wardrobe work without buying new clothes.
  • DIY - adapting clothes to suit the current trends is also a great way of extending a piece of clothings lifespan. I love the DIY projects published by fashion bloggers.
  • Recycling - I also am loving all the recycling that is going on in the blogosphere at the moment, from Pearl at Fashion Pearls of Wisdoms recent Bloggers sale day, to the upcoming blogger yard sale organised by Susie of Style Bubble. So many blogs also now have their own shops selling their own clothes, check out Gem Fatale, London Rose and Trying to Look Fab in your Forties. I have also arranged a few clothes swapping parties through my clothes swapping website.
  • Promoting ethical fashion brands - I believe that bloggers are starting to think more carefully about which brands they promote on their blog. I love Selina of Flying Saucers recent blog post where she commented "If you're a blogger, please remember that if you're accepting freebies, consider all the environmental impact that has gone into the manufacture of the item, from crop growing, manufacturing, chemical treatments, labour, and transport, for something that you wouldn't have purchased in the first place. Consider making it a policy to see if the brand is aware of their responsibility to the environment! If you wouldn't have spent your own cash on it in the first place, will you get the use out of the item to justify its creation? Just some food for thought! "
The great thing about fashion bloggers promoting affordable ethical fashion brands and clothing is that looking good and creating great outfits is usually the primary concern and this is something that most people can relate to much more than lengthy eco/ ethical policies.
At Style Eyes I have much more planned on the subject of consumerism and sustainable fashion including a directory of sustainable clothing, interviews on the subject with other fashion bloggers and a review of the high streets progress towards sustainable fashion.
If you are a fashion blogger, are you doing anything to discourage excessive consumerism and promote sustainable fashion? if so I would love to hear about it.
Image - The Posh Swaps clothes swap party at the Guildhall Bath.


Elle said...

This post was brilliant! Really opened my eyes. I totally agree that we really need to work on building our own 'sustainable wardrobe'. Thanks&all the best! X

Franca said...

This is something I worry about a lot, because secondhand shopping, while obviouly better than buying ne, still perpetuates this constant need for new things. I think shopping bans are the best, but are so hard to stick to! I wasn't meant to be buying anything for a few months, and I've just got three dresses in the last week!

Sherin said...

I definitely want to help more and be green. I do already buy from second hand stores and DIY what I have. I still feel that I buy far too much though and I know I should really stop.

* Reena Rai * said...

Great post. I think it is a common misconception that fashion bloggers are shopping obsessed shallow fashion freaks. My favourite blogs are vintage fashion blogs and I have seen a lot of DIY and customisation. But like anything, there is still a long way to go

Diana said...

I love this post! I really try to focus on sustainable style with my blog. I mainly shop second-hand, vintage, hand-made and local. I still buy new items too, but when I do, I make sure that they are quality.

I recycle a lot of my clothes by taking them to an exchange store where I get store credit. It's like trading my old clothes for new ones.

As much budget gets a little less tight, I'm also looking at organic fabrics more.

I also found that less restrictive shopping bans work better for me. I set a budget and stick to it, but I don't eliminate shopping completely. If I did, I would just rebel and end up spending too much money.

jamie-lee said...

I think this is a really interesting point that you bring up, and I guess I am the worst kind of shopper - I tend to buy a lot, although not cheap throwaway pieces.. Lately I have been trying to cut down, and have been making choices based on the classic cuts and fabrics, and the durability from season to season. So hopefully reducing my impact!!

lisa said...

One of the other sides to shopping bans is that they let fashion bloggers save up for goals that aren't fashion-related, like a vacation, a new car, or a down payment on a home. Life is about more than just fashion!

Tori Mistick said...

Thank you for pointing this out. I think fashion bloggers do often get a lot of bad attitudes from outsiders because we encourage a love of fashion - but you point out that doesn't have to mean a love of shopping all the time! What we buy and don't buy has a big impact on the planet. Please try to recycle by buying secondhand as much as possible.

I feature re-fabbing of pieces on my blog, Eco-Fashionista.

Check it out!

Anonymous said...

Everything was well-said! I love second hand shopping. This opened my eyes! Well said well said.


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