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Sustainable fashion in Lockdown: Three ways to dress sustainably whilst staying at home

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

I’ve spoken previously about trying to be more environmentally conscious when shopping for clothes, and my own journey to a more ethical wardrobe this year. That post was before the pandemic and lockdown though so I thought I’d look at what’s changed and how we can make more ethical choices when buying over lockdown as we obviously can’t leave the house at the moment.

What has changed since my last post?

As I previously said, my last sustainable fashion post was written before the pandemic and lockdown meaning that now all non-essential shops are closed. Therefore, most charity shops are out of the equation unless you go on the company’s general online site. I know from researching this post that Oxfam have an online clothing store and the British Heart foundation also have an ebay shop so it is possible to peruse some of the goods, but the prices are a little higher than average since they are the more quality pieces you’d find in higher end charity shops. Not only that, but there are some brands who have previously described themselves to be more environmentally conscious that have been exposed to not care for workers as much as they care for the environment. The creator of reformation earlier this year was accused by many employees of racism in the blacklivesmatter protests back in June, Reformation has since apologised and made a large donation to the ACLU with the founder stepping down from her role as CEO. Moreover, other brands have been shown to be careless with those who make the garments, paying only enough to not be a sweatshop and leaving the workers in appalling conditions. These practices highlight the importance of transparency from the brands themselves, and how in the modern society we need to value the lives of the workers as much as the environmental impact of the resources used to make the cloth.

Other online charity shop retailers:

Barnados - Have a fantastic yoga selection of both vegan and non-vegan products

Fashion For change - A brilliant online boutique that specialises in high end donations, including a lot of designer goods

Sense - They have an excellent ebay shop

Thrift+ - A brilliant site that works to bring the online platform of charity shops, donating money to charity with every box of clothes that's donated. So far they have raised over £400,000 for various charities

How can I buy clothes more ethically with the shops shut?


It is so easy to buy any clothing these days, nearly every shop has an online store or at least an online presence. In the last lockdown, I saw ASOS hauls on most of my feeds and as convenient as the store is, it isn’t the kindest to the environment. Instead, I would suggest researching the brand you are buying from before you buy any new pieces for your wardrobe. It is obviously a little more time consuming than buying outright, but you can see where the clothing is coming from and the actual cost of the piece in relation to human lives and the environment. Two websites that are great resources for this are (BLANK BLANK) since they are updated constantly and explain the unethical practises of each store meaning you can make a calculated decision if you are unable to buy from ethical brands and want clothing that is not pre-loved. Obviously, this can take some time thought, and I am aware of the increased cost of more ethical clothing, and that it isn’t something afforded by all.

Ebay and depop


A haven of all things, ebay and depop are great for getting specific pieces you’re after and just as fun to browse as asos in my opinion. By purchasing from the sellers, you’re either supporting small businesses or just individuals. Yes, some of the clothing may not have the best origins but by purchasing second hand you’re not actively contributing to the supply and demand of the fashion industry. Buying pieces from these sites to is an excellent way to find good quality essentials that will last for a reduced price, obviously sometimes it is hard to work out sizing, but it is a great way if you can buy from here. I would always recommend sizing up on these sites, especially with coats since it means you can still layer up and wear jumpers to keep warm!


Make do and mend


Now this is probably not what you want to hear, but the old World War Two slogan does come in handy sometimes…. This would not count as a form of retail therapy at all, but sewing is a great way to maintain your wardrobe. Mend pieces if they’re broken, or even try your hand at creativity to revive old pieces that you just don’t wear anymore. Sometimes all you need is a button change and it just transforms a coat or a shirt, I know tortoiseshell buttons have been in for the past few seasons and these are easy to pick up in online haberdasheries. Mend rips, or just flip pieces to completely Just altering clothes as well is a brilliant way to make item yours, second hand or brand new, whether the alterations are completed to completely transform the garment or just make it better fitted to yourself.

I plan to do another post on some of my creations of thrift flipped clothing and alterations made from what I already have soon. I just think this is a great way to improve your sewing skills and create a wardrobe you truly love, plus shrinking my fashion carbon footprint is always a bonus. One of my aims this year is to be better to the world in general so this suits me perfectly, after all if we all start small, we can help the bigger picture. (Ultimately, it is the big companies and oil industries that need to change the most, though our changes can help too.)

I hope you’ve liked this post starting off 2020! I look forward to hearing about your sustainable swaps this lockdown if you decide to update your wardrobe!




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