27 September - 3 October, 2021
Autumn has definitely arrived here in Munich. The temperature has started to drop, the trees are beginning to lose their leaves, and the city is changing colour.
As shop windows are refreshed, and our inbox's are inundated with new arrivals, it is important to keep in mind that a change in season shouldn't mean a new wardrobe.
Sure, there are definitely items I need as head into winter this year. But there are a few things I always ask, and do, before adding anything new to my wardrobe. This helps to ensure that I only buy (or make) what I need, avoiding any mindless (over)consumption.
I make notes as I go. This helps guide my research, and ensure I buy exactly what I need. Last winter was my first in Munich and I was certainly under-prepared coming from the milder tempratures of London. Therefore, I wrote a list of the things I felt I was missing, and why, as I came across them.
I always start with what is already hanging in my wardrobe!
I will often do a stocktake of what I already own, pulling out any pieces I don't seem to be wearing, and identifying why. It could be as simple as not liking the length or shape of an item, which is usually an easy fix.
I often revert back to those pieces that I find myself wearing the most and identifying why. Is it the colour, shape or fabric? Maybe all three. I then allow these preferences to guide my decisions going forward.
I always outfit before I buy. I may come across a great top, or fabric even, but if I can't think of at least 3 or 4 pieces hanging in my wardrobe (not forgetting shoes) that would work with it, then I won't buy it.
I use Pinterest. This is a great site for collating my research, complete with links and images, and visually seeing how things will work together.
I have learnt the value of trans-seasonality. Therefore, the ability to wear pieces all year round becomes a key factor in guiding my purchasing decisions. I am still perfecting the art of layering here in Munich, but I have learnt that I can wear my comfy linen trousers in (early) winter with simply a pair of thermals underneath, or a summer pinafore dress with a jumper underneath. Just asking myself simple questions around trans-seasonality makes for a much bigger, and versatile wardrobe.
What do you ask, or remind yourself of before adding to your existing wardrobe?
Take a read
As I mention in my article Sew good for you, I am a firm believer that gaining a better understanding of how our clothing is made will go a long way in enabling us to develop a greater love and respect for what is hanging in our wardrobes. Giving sewing your own wardrobe a go is not only a great way to do this, but fosters creativity, curbs (over)consumption, and is a great mindful activity.
One business making home sewing more accessible, while simultaneously helping to resolve the problem of overstock is Pattern Project. The Guardian article Sew it yourself! Inside the zero-waste, zero-sweatshop fashion revolution tells the story of this start-up from London that is offering DIY sewing kits. Their patterns and clothing are created on demand, utilising their laser cutting machine (generating minimal waste), and their ethical and sustainable fabrics are locally sourced. The article also highlights some of the many benefits of taking up sewing.
I am a huge fan of Lauren Bravo. I love the way she writes. Like her book ('How To Break Up With Fast Fashion: A guilt-free guide to changing the way you shop - for good'), her articles are always intelligent, inspiring, digestible, personable, and funny. She has a way of providing really honest and achievable tips for breaking those fast fashion habits, without leaving you feeling bad or guilty.
Her recent article This Second Hand September, let's embrace the clothes that aren't good as new featured in The Telegraph does not disappoint. Not only does it reference Friends, Clueless, and Atomic Kitten, but it is is a nice end to Second Hand September, with many tips and words of encouragement to keep us all going!
In the article Lauren tells the story of her modified to suit, second hand poppy and daisy print mini dress, while also encouraging us to;
embrace signs of wear and tear as they are part of the clothing's story,
view flaws as opportunities (e.g. visible mending),
normalise the idea of maintaining our clothes, learning to mend and repair, and
push back against the relentless pursuit of perfectionism.
If you haven’t read her book, or don’t follow her on the socials, I strongly recommend you do!
Sure, we have seen fashion magazines dedicate issues to the topic of sustainability, but magazines like More or Less, Atmos, and most recently Calendar, are prioritising sustainability. Sustainable is the new black: top editors launch new-wave fashion titles featured in The Guardian looks at this new wave of fashion magazines, and the shift away from encouraging us to buy new clothes every month, instead celebrating all things vintage, DIY, creativity, recycling, and sustainability.
The Vogues Business article Brutal honesty: the new look sustainable marketing was a really interesting read, exploring the shift towards more honest communication from brands.
Transparency is key, but brands are pushing the envelope as they admit their mistakes on the path to sustainability. As the article identifies, these efforts encourage the humanisation of brands. Brands are not perfect, and the transition to more ethical and sustainable practices isn't always easy and doesn't happen overnight. Therefore, by being open and honest about the mistakes, and lessons learnt will go a long way in helping build consumer trust.
"A recent international analysis of websites found that 40% of green claims made online could be misleading."
From next year brands will no longer be able to hide behind vague, and misleading statements, or the mere presence of recycled materials.
As detailed in What the new greenwashing guidelines could mean for fashion brands, from The Independent, the new Green Claims Code developed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), will involve 6 principles that will help businesses and customers identify whether claims are genuinely green or misleading.
The six priciples include:
Claims must be clear and unambiguous.
Claims must not omit or hide important relevant information.
Comparisons must be fair and meaningful.
Claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service.
Claims must be substantiated.
Please GET IN TOUCH or leave me a comment. I would love to know what you have been reading, listening or watching this week.