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Environmentally Conscious Style on a Budget- part two

Contributor Sisi King talks us through the rising trend for ethical fashion.

Written by Sisi King

This morning Sisi King commented about what a great year 2009 was for ethical fashion. This afternoon she discusses how we can be eco-conscious in our fashion choices for 2010…

The environmental impact of clothing
According to DEFRA an estimated 8000 chemicals are used in turning a raw material into the finished product. There’s the bleaching and dying, the use of petrochemicals and heavy metals, not to mention the demand on water. The manufacture of synthetic fabrics such as polyester has no less of an impact being hugely energy intensive and dependent on large amounts of crude oil. Keeping clothing in circulation and out of the landfill bypasses this process, saving energy and resources while reducing the pressures of finding the space to dump all our discarded garments.

Oxfam_clothing_and_shoe_bankImage courtesy of Oxfam- who accept clothing donations both in store and at clothes banks (above) nationwide.

Greening your style on a budget
Consumerism has become an integral part of our economy, but the recent crisis has forced many to reassess this status quo. Now is the time for those concerned about the ramifications of intensive fashion to demonstrate that a sustainable version is every bit as stylish and need not break the bank. So for those of us who are hard up and concerned about the impact of our shopping practices, I’d recommend beefing out your no doubt sparse but worthy wardrobes by making a beeline for an Oxfam Boutique near you. Not in the metropolis? Here’s some handy tips to get your average charity shop clobber looking bang on trend.

P1142266Image courtesy of Rachael Oku. Clothing can also be donated in designated bins (above) in TRAID stores nationwide.

Transforming that charity dress:
Charity shop dresses. I know. Odd sizes, odd shapes, dubious sleeves. Solution? Belt high, chop short, detach offending sleeves. Voila. On trend.

Men’s as Women’s:
Androgyny is never far out of the fashion eye and charity shops can certainly deliver on this one. Oversized men’s shirts and jumpers will look great belted over skinny jeans or leggings. Grab a tweed jacket for the much loved boyfriend blazer and scrunch up the sleeves, or turn up the bottoms on a pair of man trousers and wear with brogues or statement heals.

Mix it up:
Charity shops are a source extraordinaire for vintage finds which look great when styled with something modern.

Eveningwear as Daywear:
Sequined dresses circa 1989? Floor length velvet? Who says it’s not to be seen in the daytime. Cut short and team with a wooly jumper/blazer and converse or Victorian style booties.

Quirky jewelry, brilliant bags, scarves, belts, ties worn as belts. Head to a charity shop in a well-to-do area for some real finds.

Jackets, coats and cardies can all be transformed with a new set of buttons. Simple yet effective. Get yours and head down the nearest haberdashery for instant garment rejuvenation.

Grandma Skirts:
Wear as a dress and belt at the waist.

Grandpa Knitwear:
Huge heavy cardigans and sweaters featuring the likes of sheep and autumn leaves can be amazing worn over your mini dress/shorts, legging, jeggings, skinnies, whatever. This is charity shop gold. And as they usually outnumber most other garments 10:1 you can be sure to get your hands one.

Happy Hunting!!


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