This week we have shared with you two video interviews featuring Melbourne based designers Theo the Label and Lois Hazel. In these video's we asked the designers five questions; What does fashion mean to you, How would you define sustainable fashion, How often do you shop and why, Do you know who made your clothes, and finally, Can you break down the cost of a piece from your current collection. Both designers; although produce different styles of clothing, had very similar answers and values.
So, then we took the time to ask the same questions to six very talented and well respected sustainable fashion bloggers. We did this to better understand the similarities and gaps in their answers.
Hannah Klose from Never Ever Pay Retail and Alex Van Os of Opshop To Runway, have a keen eye for a bargain as professional op shoppers. Each of them showcase their own unique style that proves secondhand does not mean second best. Explaining what fashion means to them Hannah said “Fashion gives you the ability to be creative and express yourself, I love putting pieces together that you wouldn’t expect and challenging myself to experiment with style. People will always judge a book by its cover, so you might as well give them something good to look at.” This is not dissimilar to Alex 's thoughts on fashion, saying “Fashion for me is an empowering outlet for direct self expression. Depending on the occasion, it allows me to reflect and exhibit ideology, creativity, emotion and even political statements.” It is apparent that both our designers and bloggers believe that fashion is a form of expression, allowing you to be whomever you want to be and showcase your personality through your personal style. But what about sustainable fashion?
The smart and stylish Katie Roberts from Sustainability In Style defined sustainable fashion as “fashion that pays the full cost of production incorporating the externalities and spillovers of manufacturing. Sustainable, ethical, and eco can be confusing marketing terms, especially when you look at animal ethics, many items labelled as 'vegan' aren't very eco-friendly as they can be made from non-biodegradable petrochemical materials”. This is an interesting point to raise, each of us have different values and sustainable agendas and sometimes cruelty free and environmentally friendly do not go and in hand. An item of clothing that is animal cruelty free such as a vegan leather jacket from H&M, may have been made in a sweatshop with minimal human rights. It's important as individuals to do our own research. Alex Van Os supports this explaining “sustainable fashion is about ethical shopping with an environmental and social conscious; it seeks transparency and favours products that do not negatively impact or have detrimental affects on earth or its beautiful inhabitants”.
But, we couldn't help but think, it must be hard to be a sustainable fashion advocate, run a fashion blog but promote buying less? We asked Eco Stylist Faye De Lanty, Salvos Stores Ambassador and the brains behind The Fashion Hound how often she shops and why? “In a sense my job is to shop, so realistically I am in an op shop every week. I also go into the high street stores each week to observe and take inspiration for my ethical DIY's and recreations. How often do I buy? Probably every few weeks from a thrift store, but when I purchase something, another item has to be donated back. In terms of investment pieces, probably 2-4 times a year. I always try to stop before I buy and ask myself some questions like, do I really need it, how much will I wear it, does it have the planet in mind?”. Similarly, Leah Musch from the Un-Material Girl relates explaining “I am a passionate shopper, and find even just the act of browsing really inspiring despite the fact that I pretty much never buy clothing new anymore. I visit markets and op shops weekly, however these days I only buy something that I can imagine sticking with me for a long time”. You may have heard the famous Vivienne Westwood quote “Buy less, choose well, make it last” never truer words spoken and it is apparent that Faye and Leah are a believers of this philosophy.
We also spoke with Kate Gumbrell, someone we have followed and been inspired by for a while now, she promotes sustainable living and is advocating for sustainable fashion via her lovely Instagram page. As someone who doesn't need to shop for a living but is passionate about sustainable living we asked her the same question as Faye and Leah, how often do you shop and why? “I tend to keep an internal list of things that I ‘need’ or want to add to my wardrobe. I often browse online shops for inspiration, but will only buy something maybe once a month on average. Minimalism is key, although can be difficult when you want to support so many great ethical companies, and try out their products. Buying things I need or have cautiously thought about and considered means my wardrobe is always full of strong pieces that I can wear often. I never have the problem of ‘ahh I have nothing to wear’ because I carefully curate my wardrobe and am picky about what goes into it.”
So far we have learnt, these ladies like to op shop, they take inspiration from for browsing, they're passionate about sustainable fashion and believe fashion is a form of self expression. Now, as it's Fashion Revolution Week, we asked them do you know #whomadeyourclothes?”.
Hannah Klose says “I actually don’t…I’m wearing a thrifted Cotton On singlet and a vintage pleated skirt with no tags”, It is definitely tough for someone who shops secondhand to know the origins of their clothing, it's not like buying from an online store or local brand. Kate Gumbrell adds “People tree made my skirt, KowTow made my top, and Azura Bay my underwear- all fair trade and ethical companies! Go me! I'm slowly getting to the point of 100% second hand or ethical”.
This week People Tree, Kowtow and Azura Bay have each taken part in Fashion Revolution Week, telling us who made our clothes, as well as where and how they are made.
Finally, we asked our bloggers to estimate the RRP of a garment, we provided a brief description of the garment based on what break down one of our designers gave us.