I'm a big fan of Vivienne Westwood, the non-conformist punk fashion designer. In my next life I will adopt her fabulous flamboyant, individualistic style. In this life however, my budget means I am destined to admire her clothes through my computer screen and follow her environmental passions through the media.
It was great reading in the Observer this morning that Viv wants to scale down her growing business and focus more on ethical fashion. Her philosophy is that she would rather people bought one expensive item that lasts forever, than many cheap outfits that contaminate the earth with toxic chemicals, uses child labour for its manufacture and eventually will end up in landfill.
I agree - except that I don't have the kind of cash lying around to be able to buy her fab couture, even if it is once a year.
The way I am able to support my love of fashion and conscience is to buy pre-loved, vintage or second-hand clothes (choose the term that suits you best). Not only are they inexpensive, but they also open up your channels of creativity in order to be able to put outfits together.
And, in case you haven't noticed, much of the catwalk styles and big fashion trends are recycled through the years. I'm not talking about the absurd yet divine artworks that some designers use to show off their talent (stupendous but not practical for wearing) but the normal styles that well-heeled and well-off women buy. So, most bang-on-trend items will be presented in your local Oxfam shop, just waiting for you to discover it.
eBay is another fabulous online boutique, full of unique, one-off pieces, just waiting to breathe new life into your wardrobe.
The biggest benefit of course is that you are not supporting an industry with an insatiable need to create more of the same. By all means, buy the odd new item that you really like, but we all need to cut back on the unsustainable practice of shopping for shopping's sake, even though our economy is dependent on it. Our earth is full and we need to change the way we live.
What's the Buzz, man?
This is the rather unconventional blog for Buzzcloth, the fabulous biodegradable and reusable alternative to foil and plastic in your kitchen and lunchbox.