As we start 2012, to help you make your wardrobe sustainable, we launch the 12 Rules To Dress By Poster and Wardrobe Shopping Checklist!
I have been following these Rules To Dress By since 2008 when I started working in the Ethical Fashion industry as part of the team on the RE:Fashion Awards, and then later for the Ethical Fashion Forum as a project manager and then associate director. I wanted to live out my values everyday, I couldn't spend my life talking about ethical fashion and not be an example of it. Before 2008, I had thought about what I wore, I didn't want to look like everyone else, so was a big supporter of independent designers and chose to match up these pieces with simple things from the high street. I didn't think I bought that much, but that was a lie. I loved shopping, and would not have liked to count how much I bought. I wouldn't be surprised if it was over 20 things a month. When I made the decision to take a really sustainable approach to my wardrobe, I basically slowed the whole thing down, spending more time thinking about what I wanted or needed in my wardrobe, spending more time discovering the incredible stories behind the clothes and this whole process made them human and special again.
Even though our awareness is rising about the issues in the global fashion industry most of us don’t have a clue how to think about making our wardrobes sustainable. When I speak to friends and colleagues there doesn’t seem to be a great feeling of responsibility about how we shop and how we dress. Many feel that it’s a girl’s fashion issue, yet we all wear clothes no matter our sex, age, or how stylish we consider ourselves.
The responsibility to change fashion is shared between the fashion industry, governments and us. What we buy or demand makes an enormous difference to what is made. There is a whole vocabulary building up around ethical fashion, with phrases such as Pre-Loved, Up-Cycled, Organic and Fair-trade. It’s important that we all start to understand what these mean and this is the future of fashion.
I wanted to help to share these ideas, and so collaborated with Visual Communication Designer Joana Casaca Lemos to develop a poster and checklist that would make it impossible for you not to think about what you buy and what you wear. As the fashion industry is now so global, we thought it was important to develop this project into as many languages as we could, so that the message could be spread far and wide. This has not been without challenge, especially with the new vocabulary on this topic, but we hope that you share and enjoy our work. We are making it freely available so that nobody is prevented from joining in. The rules and checklist are designed to be realistic to the way that we shop, and to give us some motivation to change our ways. Our aim is to make 2012 the Year of The Sustainable Wardrobe, with each of us becoming conscious consumers and demanding that the fashion industry is changed.
Clothes are an important part of our daily life. We have the opportunity to affect millions of people’s lives and to protect our environment by how we shop and what we wear. Rules are made to be broken, but by following these you can make a difference.
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