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From the blog

An alternative to Fast Fashion

by April Sotomayor

In 2018, PECT’s CEO and Fundraising Manager decided to join forces and take the challenge to not buy any new clothes for a whole year. Carly, our CEO, spoke about this amazing challenge at length in her inspiring TEDx talk earlier in 2019.

Inspired by these achievements, other members of the PECT team decided to take on a similar challenge and headed to Ely recently for second-hand shopping for their Christmas wardrobes. Read on to hear about how our team fared on their ethical shopping expedition and why they feel second-hand is a great choice.

April Sotomayor –

For me personally, I do really enjoy a bit of variety in my wardrobe. But the ‘novelty seeking’ drive of buying new clothes, that temporarily boosts our mood, has some serious consequences up the supply chain. We’re now starting to more broadly understand the impact of our buying choices.

With the UK population buying more clothing items more often than ever before, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, this is causing shocking and unconscionable damage to our environment. Most of this damage directly impacts people and communities living in manufacturing countries without good environmental regulations that protect air, soil, and water from pollution. So, for millions and millions of us supporting fast fashion or fashion that’s produced using unsustainable materials… we are complicit in the damage.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Taking inspiration from Carly and Kari-ann, a couple of us started pledges of our own – from full on personal bans for fast fashion to dramatically reduced new purchases (even for our children who seem to cycle through clothes at break-neck pace).

This ambition gave us license to hit the charity shops with more purpose than ever before. A group of us from PECT got organised for a fun day out and took the train to nearby Ely, where there is masses of charity shops – many of which are highly curated and diverse. This was one of the most successful, low-cost, guilt-free shopping trips you can get.

I found half a dozen like-new clothes, and even some riskier fashion choices that I never would have paid full price for normally. I bought my kids some fun items, and even found some lovely Christmas presents too! It really felt guilt-free – keeping clothes in circulation for longer and supporting the important work of charities like Air Ambulance, Oxfam, Mind, and many others.

Laura Fanthorpe –

In an attempt to make my life a little less busy and to save time, I’d recently turned to online fashion: buying last-minute outfits for parties and events. However, I quickly became disillusioned with the quality of the products and even the feeling of how it made me lose some of my identity, wearing pretty much the same clothes as anyone else.

When I needed to return some of the items, my wait in the Post Office queue once lunchtime soon revealed that not only were half of the people in the queue there to return online shopping buys, it was even the exact same brand as mine that they were returning!

After Carly’s talk on Fast Fashion, it really made me question the impact my shopping habits had on the environment. I had never thought about the impact clothes production had on the environment before. I am now six months into my pledge to buy no new clothes, and I can say quite honestly it has revolutionised how I do my shopping. I can’t imagine going back now.

I love the excitement of looking for bargains in second-hand shops, I love the tactile nature of touching fabrics and trying on outfits. Not only that but I love the circularity of giving old clothes new life and keeping them in existence.

At the Ely shopping trip I managed to buy an amazing eight dresses (and more!) – all designer brands and for a bargain prize. I’m not saying that I will never buy new clothes again, there are plenty of retailers out there who are looking at more ethical options, but I believe it’s worth buying with consideration – and just when it’s needed, rather than just on a whim!