As the ‘Local Fashion Stories’ movement ramps up, I would like to take time to reflect on what seems to be the most important step of any sustainable and ethical wardrobe: falling in love with our clothes again.
Over the next few weeks, I will offer you a series of really easy ways to look at your closet more creatively! It will also help you identify what clothes no longer suit you and what new clothes you need to start shopping more consciously.
To start with, there is no shame in keeping clothes that were made unethically. In fact, by keeping these items, you are keeping waste (as well as harmful dyes and other materials) out of landfills and third world countries.
Another fact is that we are so used to wearing new clothes that we can’t stand when they don’t look new anymore. That is something that can easily be changed. First, you have to trust me when I say that people don’t notice if what you wear is new or old. Secondly, we should be proud to wear clothes that carry the marks of our affection.
As I have been procrastinating my 2018 New Year’s fashion resolution, I am now committed to following each of these steps and sharing with you my experience and thoughts. During this period, I am not allowed to buy any clothes at all.
Please, like, comment, share and engage with me! You can even join me in the #ReLoveReWear pledge. In return, I can promise you that a few things will come out of this challenge: Not only will it put the spark back in your relationship with your clothes, but you will also have lots of fun trying new things and sharing your experience! Lastly, the time that we are spending now will make it easier and faster to choose your future outfits as you will be in total control of your newly revamped wardrobe.
Are you not entirely sure how to get that fresh perspective? Here is the first way to fall back in love with your wardrobe when you don’t like it much anymore.
STEP 1: REPAIR, MEND AND REWEAR
Most of us don’t know how to repair or mend clothes, which is the main reason why we don’t do it.
The good news is you don’t need to mend your clothes yourself if you don’t want to. London is full of skilled tailors and professional seamstresses. Yes, it might take a bit of time to find the right one but it is worth it, as it can be a precious asset for your clothes.
I haven’t found the perfect tailor yet (any tips please?) but I am currently trying out a few local ones in Islington. You can also check your trusted dry cleaners as many work exclusively with a few recommended tailors.
I can already share with you my favourite address to fix shoes: Classic Shoe Repairs on Brecknock Road (N7). Most of the luxury brands with flagships in New Bond Street work with them. The secret is now out!
This week, I brought two of my favourite pairs of shoes to repair there. It is true that it is not a cheap service but it is the price to pay to avoid waste, and it is still less expensive than buying a new pair of shoes.
If you want to develop your mending skills, there are many opportunities to do so on the internet and in London. Have you heard about Love Your Clothes? Launched in 2014, the campaign aims to reduce the environmental impact of clothing across the UK and influence a more circular approach to clothing globally. Under the category ‘Care & Repair’, you can find many videos to learn how to mend your clothes yourself.
In North London, Loop, the lovely knitting boutique in Camden Passage (N1), offers mending workshops under the category ‘Embroidery and Textile Classes‘. The workshop explores traditional darning and mending techniques and investigates the emotional or social value of darning and repair through conversations. Such a great idea! It is also worth to see what the emblematic shop, Ray Stitch on Essex Road (N1) offers. The place is very popular to learn how to sew and find excellent quality fabrics. A new sewing address Sew Over It opened on 319 Essex Road (N1) a few weeks ago and offers many sewing classes, including online courses.
Finally, the North London Waste Authority has created a series of events called ‘Swish and Style’ in order to swap unwanted clothes for something new-to-you, or even get help to mend or create your own unique upcycled style! At ‘Local Fashion Stories’ we, of course, love the concept and definitely recommend you give it a try.
You can also be clever and ask a friend or family member who has those sewing skills. My mum came to visit last week and kindly mended some of my clothes. You could also consider doing a skill exchange where someone mends your clothes in exchange for a service you could provide to him or her in return.
If this sounds a little tricky, just promise yourself that you will give it a try and ask the people around you. You will be surprised with all the information and ideas you will get!
Stay tuned for the step 2 of the #ReLoveReWear challenge!