Sustainability is probably the biggest trend in fashion right now. Younger fashionistas are seeking out eco-friendly, sustainable labels and pre-loved items from leading designers. It makes sense, because it’s kinder to the environment to invest in sustainable options rather than buying unflattering fast fashion that gets binned after a few outings…
Break it down. If you can buy a dress for a fiver, then it cost around £1.50 to make. Of that, you need to allow for fabric, profits, factory overheads, shipping costs and labour. Somewhere at the bottom of that supply chain, someone isn’t having a great day. Fast fashion also means we’re buying things we don’t love that don’t suit us. No wonder we send over £140 million clothes to landfill each year in the UK.
Happily there are plenty of ways you can shop sustainably and look great.
Let’s start with occasion wear, because we’ll all be keen on a posh night out in a few weeks’ time! The sustainable option is to rent a showstopper gown, rather than buy one. Must Have Dresses on Rosemount Place stock an amazing selection of dresses for proms, balls, wedding guests and special occasions. There are long and short options and a rainbow of colours and styles to choose from in sizes 8 to 18. At £100, you can rent five times for the cost of buying once.
The Dress Agency on Holburn Street is nothing short of brilliant. Again, they stock designer and high end pieces that are, at most, a couple of years old. Much of the stock is unworn and very covetable. It’d be a great choice if you were going to a wedding or wanted a whole new look as owner Pamela has a great eye.
Somewhat surprisingly, my next choice would be TK Maxx. I know you either love it or hate it, depending on whether you enjoy the thrill of tracking down that perfect designer bargain or find the idea of searching through crammed rails soul-destroying. Either way, TK Maxx carries a lot of high end designers in their Gold Label collection, which is available online and in stores. The Gold Label collection is mainly exceptionally well made pieces from previous seasons, from everyone from Stella McCartney and Givenchy to Valentino and Marni. They’re particularly strong on handbags and shoes.
Don’t overlook charity shops. On average, we don’t wear 79% of the clothes we have, which is over 50 garments each. These tend to end up in charity shops after a year or two, so you can find some seriously upmarket pieces at seriously downmarket prices! The Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland shop in Cults is more like a boutique. Stock changes rapidly, but we found Armani, Michael Kors and some beautiful accessories when we popped in.
Online offers a number of alternatives. Vintage lovers should head for the-saleroom.com, which facilitates online bidding at auction houses all over the UK. Many auction houses now offer specialist jewellery, vintage, handbag and designer sales. Many of the larger charities keep their best designer pieces for resale on eBay. Again, many of these have never even been worn or barely used. In particular, Cancer Research and The British Heart Foundation’s eBay stores are packed with designer goods. You get to look great and your money saves lives. Searching in the shops section for Charity will bring up a list, or you can set up alerts for your favourite designers. Oxfam have their own online shop at Oxfam.org.uk.
Give sustainable style a shot. The world, your wardrobe and your wallet will all thank you for it.