#MySecondHandSelfie -Why we need to rethink our fashion choices

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It’s currently London fashion week. Clothes, design, and excessive consumerism are once again a huge talking point. I dread to think how much money I’ve spent over the last few years on clothes. Not much makes me happier than scrolling endlessly through ASOS, rummaging through the shelves of Primark or even tackling Topshop on Oxford Street in the sales. I won’t even go into the heaps of clothes that dominate my bedroom (and chaotic floordrobe…) but it’s rare that I take a moment to think about where my clothes came from, how they were made and how they reached me. Companies constantly shove it down our throats that they have a sale on but when was the last time you saw a high street chain be honest and transparent about the design and production of their garments?

‘Children work at all stages of the supply chain in the fashion industry: from the production of cotton seeds in Benin, harvesting in Uzbekistan, yarn spinning in India, right through to the different phases of putting garments together in factories across Bangladesh.’ – in many developing countries children are subjected to exhausting working hours, exposure to pesticides, dangerous working conditions, are often paid below the minimum wage and consequently don’t have the opportunity to go to school. Basically they are exploited for the sake of new clothes for the Western world. 

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credit – saybrook prodcutions

 

It got me thinking; I love to think that I live fairly sustainably, but how can I preach that to others whilst not even considering the effect of my consumerism on the world. One good part I play in this is that I have a love for second hand clothing. That doesn’t just mean the occasional charity shop find – I mean I seem to find clothes and even homeware items in a large foray of unexpected places. To me, second hand means anything thats been passed on from another owner before reaching me. I find second hand clothes at car boot sales, markets, vintage stores, ebay, depop and from friends or family members. Some of my favourite outfits are made up of second hand items.

The advantages of buying second hand are;

+ environmentally and ethically friendly

+ you can find unique pieces

+ you can find fashions from another era

+ clothes are often built to last; if they’ve made it this far they’re of decent quality

+ often cheaper – second hand clothing is on average 50% cheaper than the brand new equivalent

+ your money stays in the community

+ It’s green; cuts down on manufacturing demands and prevents clothes going to landfill

+ friendly service

+ there’s a possibility of finding designer pieces

+ constant new stock

+ you can find clothes for any season year round

+ if you buy from a charity shop you’re financially supporting that charity

If you struggle with finding second hand clothing you love, why not go the extra mile and make your own clothes? If you use unwanted or ethically sourced material you could create your own designs and ensure they’re totally one of a kind. 

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rocking all vintage

To join this fashion revolution you don’t need to be an expert or have heaps of time on your hands – you just need to think outside of the box! Here are a few ideas to help you become more stylishly sustainable;

+ hold a clothes swap party with friends

+ don’t think twice about lending your clothes to your friends

+ old t shirts can be made into scrunchies

+ old pillowcases can be transformed into shopping bags

+ revive a dull outfit with embellishment 

+ add new laces to an old pair of boots

+ tie dye t shirts

+ raid your grannies closet for cosy jumpers and cool jewellery – a clear out for her, new stuff for you! win win

+ change the purpose of an item to give it a new lease of life e.g. a bracelet as a hair accessory, wear a maxi skirt as a dress with a belt, 

+ use old socks as dusters

+ add studs to denim shorts

+ donate your old clothes to a clothes bank or charity shop instead of throwing away (or sell on ebay if you’re skint)

‘Yaaaas I love it Mary, how can I get involved?’ 

Do you know what 2016 needs? A new hashtag/selfie/challenge trend. Regardless of your thoughts on these (raising awareness or just plain vain?) it won’t cost you a thing to display your favourite second hand piece of clothing, homeware, book, whatever to inspire others. If it’s been passed on from another owner or customised or made by yourself, go ahead and show it off! I want to see a photo and short description of how it came into your possession posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (or all 3 if you’re extra keen) with the hashtag #MySecondHandSelfie and tag me, @Girl Got Lost on Facebook, @girlgotlost_ on Instagram and @mandefieldx on Twitter. Make your post public so everyone can see it and tag a few friends who you want to nominate to do the same. Great chance to nosey into the wardrobes of your mates and encourage others to shop a little more second handedly. 

We have enough clothes, despite society trying to convince you otherwise. Stop saying you have ‘nothing to wear’ when you’re standing in front of a wardrobe fit to burst. Stop stressing about the latest trends and focus on finding things that make you feel great. Fashion doesn’t need to be so damaging and disposable. Let’s challenge ourselves to think creatively when it comes to clothing. 

Woah, I’ve thrown a lot of facts and ideas your way. sorry about that! I don’t mean that everyone has to become a braless hippie, I’m merely wishing to plant a seed of thought of how you shop and dress. Let’s celebrate second hand and hand made clothes and give a little less support to large corporations who exploit child labour and wreck the environment by importing materials from half way around the world. Let’s continue rocking vintage looks and living just a tiny bit more sustainably.

peace out.

Mary

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all of us working our preloved and borrowed clothes.

p.s. have a read if you want to find out more

https://labs.theguardian.com/unicef-child-labour/

https://www3.nd.edu/~jsherry/pdf/2012/FastFashionSustainability.pdf

and click here to see my first of many #MySecondHandSelfie 

Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen – 20th September 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

Lounging around in my bed feeling hungover and a bit sorry for myself I decided retail therapy was in order to cheer myself up so I dragged myself to Marche aux Puces; a huge flea market in North Paris, just outside the 18th Arrondissement. I took the metro to Porte de Clignancourt (end of line 4) and followed the signs to ‘Le Puces’. Soon I was deep in streets of stalls selling clothes, antiques, furniture, dodgy fake Nike trainers, African artefacts, phone cases, flags, food, books and everything in between. It’s not just your typical french market, it has every type of stall you can imagine and it’s so so so big.

Porte de Clignancourt is where the red marker is, the purple line is the metro line 4

Porte de Clignancourt is where the red marker is, the purple line is the metro line 4

After a few minutes of nothing really catching my eye I got heckled by a guy behind a stall with crazy dreads piled on his head and surrounded by Jamaican flags. ‘Hey baby, why you na stop at mih stall? Ya nah wanna talk to ya bruder?!’ – obviously I had to go and chat to this crazy Rasta. He was clearly mad but we chatted for almost half an hour; he was raised in Jamaica, had lived in Birmingham, London, a few African countries and now Paris so we actually had a lot in common. He tried to set me up with a few of his sons (he has more than 11 kids apparently. I don’t think he knows the exact number) and told me about his 3 wives. I carried on through the market, spoke to a few other stallholders and heard some amazing stories; it was as if all the interesting people in Paris had gathered to the market. Happy days.

I picked up a few bits, you can totally barter and negotiate prices so I managed to get some bargains (by Parisian terms..)

– Jamaican flag for my wall, €4

– Sunglasses, €4

– Knife pendant choker/necklace, €3 for 2 mini knives and a little elephant charm

– 4 scrunchies, €2
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I’m pretty happy with what I got, I could’ve bought way more if I had the money to spare. There were a few great vintage clothes stalls but I’ve recently been buying more clothes than I need (maybe fashion week this week will change my mind though!).

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You have to be street smart at all times in Paris but especially at this market. You can see pickpockets walking around eyeing up your bag and there are loads of men by the exit trying to flog you mobile phones and dodgy gadgets. I chose to take a clutch as there’s may less risk of someone taking stuff if it’s tucked under my arm. I also didn’t take either of my cameras which I’m gutted about as I saw so many great photo opportunities. I think now that I know my way around a little I’ll be confident enough to take some photos next time without worrying about pickpockets.

IMG_3659Here’s a little idea of what I took with me; my Navigo pass to get around the metro, a small mirror from Primark, headphones, my tablet for music and maps, a tiny purse (I purposely didn’t bring my usual purse with cards in in case I got mugged, lol), keys and my new (old) phone. Cheers Lucinda! I also got given a leaflet about exercise classes in Asnieres Sur Seine (my town) and I’m quite interested. I’m deciding between either Pilates or Zumba; any thoughts anyone??

IMG_3618So yeah that was my morning at the market. It runs every Saturday, Sunday and Monday and I totally recommend it to anyone I know living in Paris at the moment or if you’re just on holiday.

I wore my new Primark dress, €6, baaaargain, Doc Martens in Ivory (fave thing shoes atm) and Primark clutch.

(I’ll include photos from the actual market next time yayay)

Mary x