Are we costing the earth with our love of clothes? Because 235 million items of unwanted items of clothing will, apparently, end up in a UK landfill this Spring (says a study commissioned by Sainsbury’s).
Wow! That seems an awful lot. Ever the researcher I wonder how they extrapolated those figures? But even so, if this is true, this is shocking!
I mean, I’ve got rid of a humungeous amount of clothing – all to charity shops. And I did think of it as a bit of a spring clean, but then again, for me it’s also the need to have fewer things in the smaller space that I’ll be living in. But, supposedly, consumers will get rid of 680 million pieces of clothing as they spring-clean their closets and wardrobes and the majority, astonishingly, don’t recycle, as ¾ of consumers admit to just binning their clothes rather than recycling them or giving them to charity.
Oh please, people, I hope that’s not true. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to simply pop your unwanted clothes into a bag and take them to the local charity shop. Because, personally, I see charity shop shopping as an ethical endeavour – and although they’re there to raise money, you, the shopper, are giving and then re-using clothes that would have gone to landfill, so why wouldn’t you do this?
Actually, I still meet or hear of people who say that charity shop shopping isn’t for them. ‘I can never find anything’, they say. But do they look? Or, ‘I can’t find anything my size.’ Meaning a larger size. But, increasingly, these shops do have large sizes. And then, I think, there’s still some reservation, some diffidence about charity shops, that they are still seen as rather unpleasant places, that only have grubby, scruffy, out-of-date and very worn clothes. On the contrary, in the UK, that is so not the case. Charity shops here are mostly delightful, boutique-like shops with plenty of stylish (and often unworn) clothes.
I’ve just started posting photographs on Instagram. Do you? If you do, do go have a look at my account (the Instagram icon and link is on the side-bar). In my profile I say that I love fashion but intend to do more street photography, which if you’re a fashion blogger means taking pics of people wearing great clothes. But so far (only been on Instagram a couple of weeks) I appear to have taken this literally as there are lots of photos of streets!! Including these, where I show you a typical walk I take, in a typical English country town, with a typical English High Street, with a typical English charity shop.
And then this.
And here’s the High Street – note the bikes.
And this, below, is a typical English charity shop.
Who wouldn’t want to go into that shop? What’s not to like!
Did you know it’s Fashion Revolution Week? Alyson Walsh writes more about this here. It’s all about, whenever you buy an item of clothing asking yourself the question, ‘who made my clothes?’ And the answer to that will always be a factory worker in, probably, not a particularly brilliant situation. If you watch the DVD, The True Cost, you see factory owners (who want their workers to work in good conditions) so pressurised by the High Street labels to produce the goods faster and faster for less and less, that they cannot be anything other than slave drivers. I’m not excusing these factory owners but, be aware that nearly all labels make demands that impact negatively on the conditions of garment workers. There is, of course, a movement to produce sustainable clothing by garment workers working in better conditions, and I totally endorse that. Do, for instance, have a look at the People Tree website. But, the prices. I cannot afford these. So, for me, we’re back to charity shops.
But wherever we buy our clothes we should be more discerning. Because, really, perhaps we could buy fewer clothes? We could also think how often we are likely to wear these clothes. Once, twice, three times? Or 30? And, if at all possible, we ought to remember the worker who made these clothes.
It is important, I think, to be aware, and be considerate, conscientious fashion shoppers.
Penny, the frugalfashionshopper
P.S. And sharing with Catherine of Not Dressed as Lamb and her #SaturdayShareLinkup when it goes live 🙂