By Tamara Rampley
Secondhand clothes are wardrobe essentials, passed on from one person to the next and each unique item tells a story, yet they seem to get a mixed review amongst shoppers. Does using the term Vintage free you from the stigma or does buying second hand clothes make you feel like a second class citizen?
As you have alighted on this page, the chances are, you are – at least a bit – sympathetic to conscious fashion!
But treading lightly upon this earth, is a complicated business, with few simple right and wrongs.
You don’t have to unpick many threads – literal or metaphorical – to see the many directions from whence they come! So why don’t you linger a few minutes; chat, think and smile with us?
The question for all of us fashionistas, is how to make the most impactful style statement…
I have bought the majority of my wardrobe second hand all my life. It was both adventure and necessity in my student days. The challenge and joy of finding something just perfect in a charity shop soon bites deep, a habit to nurture, especially when the compliments flow.
That others ‘love your look’ soon matters more than the money. And the glow of pride at your minimal impact, adds another dimension to your beauty.
But temptation lurks around every High Street corner…
“One week he is in polka dot,
the next week, he is in stripes…
He flits from shop to shop just like a butterfly
In matters of the cloth, he is as fickle as can be
For he is a Dedicated Follower of Fashion”
So sang Ray Davies in 1966.
And the pull of fast fashion is even greater in today’s competitive, global market.
“But it will make or break him, so he’s got to buy the best
For he is a Dedicated Follower of Fashion”
And for me the Best is “Vintage” – it may be marketing jargon, but nothing compares to a garment that sings history, mystery and exoticism from every thread.
Pairing a glorious vintage party dress, with contemporary casual – my favourite is still my 1920s flapper dress with my leather biker jacket – causes a stir, without the worry of being overdressed if you are not quite sure of the tone of an event!
My style is clearly not for everyone, but that’s the joy and enduring appeal of secondhand – you can comb the treasure chests of history to create a style never seen before in Royal Courts or on street corners. What could be more fun? Or more appropriate to our individualistic society?
Coming back to our initial theme, of the many and diverse ’Threads’ in our garments …
The Climate debate has raised awareness of the cost of fast fashion to our earth – incineration, land fill, pollution, finite resources – the list of hidden costs grows, with our understanding….
So we are all trying to “do our bit” to minimise it, without clear political leadership ….
And rejuvenating a pre-loved item – is now as important to the Earth – as it is to us, for the fashion statement it enables us to make, in our style crazy, “Notice Me Now” world.
Our global garment industry is like a spider’s web, weaving it’s way across the world; complex, clever, interconnected & interdependent – but far from healthy – capturing it’s workers in a myriad of ways. Exorbitant recruitment fees for migrant workers, sweat shop conditions and meagre wages.
But it is a fragile web. Considered action from conscious consumers – like us – can shake and weaken it – facilitating legislation and reform. Reducing our dependence on Fast Fashion, reduces the demand for sweatshops. If we our kind to our people, paying them fairly, they in turn, can afford not to degrade their environment. And Global biodiversity is essential to us all.
There is an Economic thread at play here too…So please make a conscious choice where your money goes! Choose Vintage from local businesses, rather than fast fashion from the multi nationals, to keep money and jobs in your local area.
Buy from charity shops and support good causes.
When you need new wardrobe staples, choose an ethical brand, where you can trust the supply chain. Caring does not make you a worthy bore. It makes you beautiful, in style & heart.
Small steps by each of us to tread lightly on the earth…
See how easily the threads of dignity & environmental protection can be woven into our clothes! The Question is it is not about how I FEEL when I buy second hand…It is about how I LIVE. Who I am!
The choices are woven deep into my life(style). Part of my DNA. They make me a better version of myself. Important in equal measure for capturing my ‘look’, helping me stand shoulder to shoulder with the marginalised people of the garment industry.
And protecting my home, the Earth. A virtuous circle. So back to where we began chatting; our theme of THREADS…Please make this discussion thread, a defining theme in your life; at work, at home, at the party… in fact anywhere you wear clothes… Please REPOST everywhere…..Let’s go viral with this thread; Our people and our earth deserve it.