Looking Good V Doing Good…Can we shift the female fashion paradigm!?
Let’s get one thing straight, I’m a girl and I LOVE fashion. Apart from my handsome husband its actually my one true love. Sounds counterproductive for this article I know, but bear with me…
From a very young age I was surrounded by fashion, British Vogues were my unintentional fairytale books. I naturally and instinctively chose them over Cinderella and co, preferring to get lost in the color, texture and wonderful style tales the fashion mags bestowed upon me. Fashion became my second language and to this day it’s my religion of sorts too.
What I grew to not like about the genre however was that it could be segregating – if you didn’t have the money to wear what was in Vogue, were you relevant?
Digital media has played a disturbing part too. Sure it’s a great portal for global communication but it can also be a slippery slope to self loathing and comparison? Australian series The ‘War On Waste’ introduced us to 3 young girls who were fast fashion junkies because they wouldn’t dare be seen twice in the same outfit on Instagram.
I definitely went through a time where I thought I had to keep up and so spent all my savings on the latest and greatest, in a effort to be the cool girl, but for whom? All I ended up achieving was a small bank account, a big headache and an aching back.
When I moved overseas I was forced to cut the BS and be real, boy was it the ultimate blessing! Thrift Shopping was genuinely all I could afford so I began the challenge of travelling light and reinventing Vogue inspired looks I’d spent years studying while I was ‘wasting time’
The more I dived into conscious shopping the more I discovered I could really be of service and so began my serendipitous journey into the world of eco styling – one that didn’t even really exist at the time! I began to see that looking good and doing good didn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
The concept is certainly one I consider on a daily basis, why can’t pre-loved be re-loved and the wearer maintain her chic? I’ve dedicated my working life to doing all I can to break that style stigma. After years of slightly condescending looks and Oh that’s ‘cute’, now finally it seems slow fashion is sexy or #grexy. One thing I have observed though is that it hasn’t stopped the second hand hoarding and over zealous thrift hauls, just because its eco doesn’t mean it always supports our personal well being, especially if we are still feeling the pressure to have all the pretty stuff. Even with what I know now, I can still be guilty of that at times too.
A recent post by @redcarpetgreendress has definitely blown all my fashion chakras and seen me dwell upon it all on a deeper level.
3 ways to stick it to the style system and be the sartorial change…
- THE GIFT OF THRIFT – vote with your fashion dollar and do something that’s not only great for the planet but people too. OP SHOP! Whilst you will absolutely find great fashion you’ll also become part of the slow fashion movement. This means diverting textile waste from landfill, decluttering and donating what you no longer wear, supporting the mission of a charity like Salvos Stores and empowering your local community. While you’re at it, try reducing your conscious closet to a capsule wardrobe – a small and simple collection of chic pieces you can mix and match and wear time and time again. A capsule wardrobe will reduce the overwhelm and the dreaded ‘I have nothing to wears’. On top of that when people ask you where you get your great looks from you have a wonderful style story to tell. Your wardrobe has the power to be a walking talking change maker!
- SHOP YOUR STASH – Instead of falling prey to the fast fashion herd why not explore new ways to wear what you already have? It’s a scary fact that most of us have things in our wardrobe we’ve never worn, some of which still have the tags on. Australia is also just behind the US in terms of how much we discard of – would you believe a whopping 6000kg’s every ten minutes. So park the perfectionism and immerse yourself in your wardrobe, consider how you could reinvent what you see. Jump online, look at fashion websites – my favourite is VOGUE RUNWAY, it’s filled with past and current catwalk shows, street style and designer reviews. Also spend some time on Instagram searching relevant hashtags like #sustainablefashion #opshop #thrifted and more mainstream fashion driven tags like #stylist #ootd or #currenttrends. Another approach that never fails to inspire me is googling a particular item to see how others style it, for example ‘Beige jacket street style’, without a doubt I always find a new take that fires me up. I love these words from @elleuk’Don’t buy something unless you can commit to wearing it at least 30 times. We’re all guilty of an impulse buy, often knowing full well we probably won’t wear it that many times. So next time you feel the urge, ask yourself these 4 questions.
Do I really need this?
How often will I wear it?
Do I already own something similar?
Does it go with things I already own?
- CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO – There are some incredible change makers out there really disrupting fashion materialism. Julia Mooney from @oneoutfit100days has made my head explode recently and it was Julia who inspired me to draft this article. A teacher in the US, Julia is making a stand by wearing one dress for 100 days! A self imposed challenge to be mindful of what, why and how we consume. She says ‘let’s use our energy to do good instead of looking good’. Don’t worry she will wash it (She has 3 of them and takes a break on the weekends) nonetheless that’s a huge test for anyone, especially us chicks. I instantly went into my head with thoughts like, wow how would I cope!? I mean I’m proud to say I’m a conscious shopper but I’m also an eco stylist, so could I really do that? Would others judge me, think I was doing it tough or horror of all horror’s think I’m crap at my job!? How would I make it look different (Why am I trying to do that though!? Again – worrying what others think!) It didn’t take long to see first hand how much we base our beauty and self worth on image.
What if we took the wardrobe away and just wore one thing, like a uniform, giving us the opportunity to be more than a color, a cut or this seasons current look. We would have so much more time to be of service, speak up for something important and teach others to see us for our hearts and not our haute couture. Could we shift the fashion paradigm and programming? I predict that it would have a pretty profound effect on our own paradigms too. Imagine what might manifest if we spent more time filling up our souls with the slow and meaningful instead of our wardrobes with the fast and meaningless.
Kids have uniforms so they can focus on learning, Karl Lagerfeld wears a uniform of sorts too, sure its Chanel and cost more than a car – however wearing the same thing over and over has made him iconic and instantly identifiable no!?
Cast your eye also towards a world famous editor who hasn’t changed her signature bob and black sunglasses combo for decades. Whether the goal is to make sure they don’t distract from the message of the clothes or to cut out decision fatigue, one things for certain; in a business built on looks, having one that rarely changes is perhaps the ultimate power play.
Is outfit repeating the new black!?
We don’t consider Karl and Anna daggy and outdated, or judge them for being boring, they’ve become global style icons.
So it begs the question, who could you become if you chose doing over looking good!?