Trying to live a sustainable life and making your ecological footprint as small as possible, what can you do to make that happen? It means making choices in every part of your life: how you life, how often you travel, what you eat and of course also your fashion choices. So let’s talk about fashion. Janet had read a column on a German blog called Fairknallt: “Wie nachhaltig ist second hand?” -> How sustainable is secondhand? We would love for you to join us in this conversation. We can always use someone else’s opinion.
Janet: Secondhand clothes for me are the perfect affordable alternative to fair and organic fashion. Right now I do not have the budget to buy all the clothes that need replacement new at a store that sells “good” fashion. When I read this column that said that secondhand is not always a sustainable alternative, I was in a bit of despair. It seems there’s always someone out there saying the things you do aren’t good enough. It can be quite demotivating!
“It seems there’s always someone out there that says the things you do aren’t good enough.”
Anneloes: For me secondhand clothes are also a good and cheaper alternative to sustainable fashion. I am always surprised at the clothes I find at secondhand stores: often they are still really beautiful and not worn much. It’s such a shame those clothes would otherwise wind up at a dump. The Fairknallt article states that a secondhand piece of designer clothing that was not fair or organic in the first place is just as bad as buying that same piece new because you are still showing of the label and give away the wrong free advertisement. I did not really think about wearing clothes that way: that it’s a form of advertising. Did you?
Janet: I do get that they say that. When I was a teenager, you were really cool if you where wearing a Nike or Adidas logo on your sweater or sneakers. At that time, that’s what I wanted to wear as well. But as I got older, I started to care less and less about labels unless they stood for amazing quality. But I would never choose something that has a brand name on it clearly visible for all to read. That is indeed free advertising. And… I must say we are a;lso guilty of free advertising as we shoot and post Outfit of the Day shoots here and we tell you what kind of fair and organic brands we are wearing. So there are two sides, of course.
Anneloes: That was different for me. My mother used to buy my clothes for me at Bentex. And she bought me Tripper jeans, an actual brand. These days I choose fair and sustainable fashion, new and second-hand. I prefer clothes that feel comfortable, look good and clothes that I expect to wear quite often and for a long time: a real addition to my wardrobe. Janet does have a point of course: you can see our OOTD’s as a form of advertisement. I am not really a fan of advertising, but I do care for the fair fashion brands that have been popping up over the last few years, because they produce garments that harm the environment as less as possible and they do not overproduce and make new collections every week. Wearing (and buying) second-hand is also about reusing and about making our ecological footprint smaller. I don’t think the effect is gone if you do not choose a fair fashion brand in this.
“Do our current choices have enough long term effect?”
Janet: I really don’t care what brand it is when I buy second-hand. It would be really cool if it is fair fashion, but fair fashion is so new and usually of better quality so I do not expect to find it a lot in the next few years at charity shops. Eventually every item of clothing ends up either in the garbage bin or recycled/reused. I also have some not so fair items by Gap and Zara that I have been enjoying for many many years now and nobody would have called them sustainable in the first place. I hope to enjoy them for quite some time. So you never really know.
Consideration behind your choices
Anneloes: I hope the same from my wardrobe: fair fashion or not. I do think the statement in Fairknallt’s column is interesting though. It does make me think about my choices. It’s difficult sometimes because I want to do good. Good for my health (maybe a bit of egoism here?), good for the environment, good for local and sustainable producers, good for the factory workers … And if our choice in second-hand isn’t good enough because it might be an ‘unfair’ and ‘unsustainable’ brand, when is it good enough? Janet is a bit desperate by now and I am mostly puzzled. Does it help what we do now or is it all for nothing in the end? Does it have any long term effect or do we need to make a lot more changes?
When is it good enough? Do you have an answer for this question? We recently chose ‘We are no saints’ as our new social media name. We are wander(ing) women, we are in search of what is right and the best we can do. To us good enough is what we think is good enough for us. You can strive for perfectionism but there will always be a ‘more perfect’ and there will always be new insights that shed a new light on things you thought were right. The choices we make right now make us feel we are doing our best. We are not perfect, we are @wearenosaints 😉