A few weeks ago, I had a breakfast date with a friend. We agreed to meet in Brooklyn, at a place I haven’t been in about 3 years, before she went off to work. I escorted her to the beautiful store she works at and decided, myself, to explore the store scene in Brooklyn. I walked around 12km (around 7.5 miles) in Williamsburg and Greenpoint that day. And ended up going to, mainly, vintage and second hand stores.
It was such a great morning and, all of a sudden, 4 hours had passed since I dropped my friend. I had a few items under my eye but needed to get some cash first. I took the subway back home, grabbed some money, Poppy and a bag to carry everything. Off I went, back to the same places I’d earlier perused. Back to Urban Outfitters for a pair of Guess vintage pants (which I’m still unsure I’ll keep). To The Break for a vintage Calvin Klein black blazer. And Dobbin Street Vintage Co-Op for some second hand mirrors and tea cups.
A few days after, I had a conversation with a girl I follow on Instagram about the vintage and fast fashion industries. At this point, it feels like a very complex discussion to have because there are so many valid points. On one side, I’ve always been a fast fashion girl myself. Up until a couple of years ago maybe. It was in 2016, when I attended a Create and Cultivate conference and saw Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies, talk on a panel. I remember only three of the panelists: Aurora, Zanita and Arielle. Aurora was telling the story of how she founded Brother Vellies and what it stands for, which is exactly this sustainability issue.
When I talk sustainable, I’m not only referring to one particular problem but several. A business can be sustainable on many levels; sourcing, manufacturing, environmental, ideological. And I’ve seen this topic come up in many of my fashion business classes. It’s particularly poignant when you actually start reading about it and gaining conscious that the problem is at a worldly scale.
Fast fashion is the second or third most harming and polluting industry in the world. You can read several articles about it, watch documentaries like the True Cost, and talk to people within the industry that are aware of it. Aurora is definitely one of those people. And, even though at first, I thought her approach was rather aggressive, I later came to understand why. She gets sincerely pissed at people for dismissing the fact that this is a highly harmful situation at several levels. Especially people that work in the industry — like fellow fashion bloggers, or insiders.
I think that it all comes down to acknowledging there’s a problem and learning as much as possible about it. Not only to be able to start the conversation but keep informed and actually do something about it. I know that, slowly, I’m coming around to being able to talk and do something about it. If not at a larger scale, at least in my own life, behavior and mentality.
Buying second hand. Supporting brands that are transparent about the way they do things — and are actually engaging in the conversation. Decreasing the products bought in fast fashion (or eliminating it all together). Being aware of the tags, and where the product is made. Maybe selling or donating clothes you don’t find more use in.
These are just a few of the things I’ve started doing in the past year. I’d love to know if you’ve been taking any steps towards becoming a more conscious shopper or if it’s the first time you’re giving it a serious thought.
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