Shop less Spend More: An Edited, Sustainable Approach to Your Wardrobe
In a world where everyone is looking for the latest trends it can be easy to forget how our shopping habits are affecting the environment. Many of us are easily persuaded into the impulse buys of cheap trend driven fashion styles, a notion that is constantly perpetuated by the fast fashion industry. When we buy low-cost items, the chances are someone down the line is being exploited and with the allure of instant purchases this is easy to pass to the wayside when confronted with the instant gratification of a quick buy.
It is important as a consumer to take responsibility for our daily choices to help pave the path for a more sustainable future. Saving up to invest in those perfect pieces and committing to buying less is a small step but as consumers we have a lot of purchasing power.
At Sarah Badeni we firmly believe clothing should be designed to last and be treasured. Not something we just wear once, but something that can be brought out year after year and that is why all our pieces are designed to be timeless and styled in lots of different ways. A lot of time and care goes into designing both our bespoke and ready to wear collections. We are constantly considering the fabrics, prints and design features, asking will they last? Are the styles both fit for purpose and aesthetically pleasing? And How can we limit waste from production?
All our bespoke garments and some of our ready to wear is made in an atelier here in the Cotswolds with the rest being made in London. We feel it is important to support our local economy and keeping our manufacturing as close as possible and try to shop locally to support other small businesses.
We spoke to Malin from Malin Iovino Designs and Pip from Philippa London to talk about what sustainability means to them and their brand and how they are encouraging their customers to be more sustainable in their buying habits.
Malin, a Swedish designer based in London, creates bespoke clothing and weaves for bags, accessories, and interiors. All her weaves are made on a traditional Swedish loom using a technique passed down from her Grandmother. The focus of her designs is to utilize time-honour artisanal production techniques to combat the mass-production problem our climate faces and the “everything and now” attitude consumers have.
The products are made from upcycled materials which she uses thoughtfully and respectfully, and the main structures are made from a Swedish cord which is produced by one of the last traditional rope makers in Sweden. When talking about her use of upcycled materials she commented that ‘there is so much waste in our world and it feels great to be able to reuse something which otherwise would have gone to waste.” She added that “In today’s world of anonymised mass-produced products many aspire to possess objects connecting us to our traditions that are handcrafted”.
Her passion for upcycling has driven her to purchase exquisite woven fabrics from Scotland and she utilizes any leftover fabric for her designs by extracting the beautiful yarn to use in her bespoke weaves. She is obsessed with finding creative ways to use every scrap of the printed and important leather she designs and has introduced card wallets and key rings that bring colour to a traditionally aesthetically conservative category.
Each piece she creates is unique and made with meticulous attention to detail to ensure utility for years and a timeless appeal. I have one of her woven bags which I just adore! These are real investment pieces that you will struggle to find anywhere else and not only look beautiful but are keeping a traditional craft alive!
Pip Chawner is the founder of Philippa London. Established in 2015 she returns new life to vintage furs. To this day they continue to use reconditioned vintage fur, returning beautiful heirlooms into new garments and accessories. She comments that “from the outset I wanted to develop a company that used the very best of traditional British craftsmanship to turn classic style into modern individual products that my clients would cherish and hopefully pass on to future generations.”
As a child her mother used to take her and her brother to a children’s boutique which specialised in stunning French clothes. To this day she remembers a prized pair of crisp, pale-blue jumbcord dungarees with a stunning brass plaque on the front panel adding “how I loved those cords!” She is sure these childhood experiences set her up into the habit of buying 1 or 2 best quality prized pieces a year to cherish. She comments that “throughout my life this is a practice that has served me well, buying and treasuring my clothes and hopefully keeping them for life” – a practice that could benefit us all!
Pip has an edited approach to her wardrobe, seeing her clothes as friends who travel with her on her journey through life. She has a particular affinity for a 1970’s dress that was cared for and loved by her mother and passed down to her. Like us all, she states that she has been “periodically seduced by the flood of fast, cheap fashion, but I do still tend to think of this as accessorising my existing wardrobe rather than fundamentally changing it”. This idea of using fast fashion sparingly as a final touch to your wardrobe is an excellent approach and a good way to begin changing the way in which we think about retail.
Philippa also discussed statistics with us talking about the “300,000 tonnes of clothing being discarded in the UK each year, and how the fashion industry is responsible for as much as 5% of the UKs total annual carbon and water footprint”. We both agreed that is hard to hear knowing that it is an industry you are apart of and that must change. Pip ends on some excellent advice that I couldn’t agree with more, “it is absolutely imperative that we start reverting back to old ways and start investing in core pieces that will last us a lifetime rather than a one season. One thing for certain is the most beautiful and investment pieces in our wardrobe are meant to worn so as a dear friend once said don’t keep your most expensive pieces for special occasions as every day is a special day!”