Redefining The Meaning Of Fashion

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Buying sustainable fashion was predicted to be the trend of 2020 last December. At this time most of us had not even heard of the Coronavirus and those who had, certainly thought it was something that would not affect the whole world…writes Sujata Assomull.

The pandemic, just like any other major global crisis has redefined everything. It is no longer about shopping sustainably but wearing the clothes we have sustainably.

As we sat at home, we no longer needed to consume fashion like we once did. And when the lockdown went from weeks into months we craved the joy of dressing up. We looked at our closets in both disgust and desire. We realised how we owned too many clothes — and how the very act of dressing on a daily basis brought routine into our lives.

While you dress for an occasion, you actually dress for yourself — for the pleasure it brings you. And when you buy new clothes they come with the hope of new adventures. This pandemic drove home the point we need to buy less. In the United Kingdom alone it is estimated that 350,000 of clothes end up in a landfill. Sustainable fashion activist Livia Firth, the founder of Eco Age (a company which certifies brands for their sustainability) began the #30Wears campaign to encourage us to only buy a garment if we wear it multiple times. Afterall the most sustainable clothes are the ones we own already. Which is why the mantra for 2021 has to be re-wear and reuse. And actually you can have such fun learning how to rewear your clothes.

BE YOUR OWN UPCYCLING STYLIST

During lockdown, where we had time on our hands, I spent time really looking at my closet. Understanding the clothes I wear, the ones I do not. Some of the clothes you do not wear, simply need a bit of “do-over”. Living in India is really a boon, as there are so many good tailors who can help you spruce up pieces. Sometimes a pair of trousers simply need to be shortened or a dress just needs its shoulders corrected. Other times you can be your own designer. For instance, take old textiles like discarded dupattas or unwanted saris and turn them into resort friendly kaftans, or even jackets for a dinner party. And some pieces simply just need to pass on to a sister or a friend. Your junk might be someone else’s treasure.

VINTAGE

Shopping for Vintage is almost like fashion portfolio management- you need to know when it’s a good time to buy a vintage piece and when is the time to cash in. When it comes to accessories some fashion pieces really are object d art. Right now for instance the Bottega Veneta pouch is an “it bag” but how much cooler would its older sister that came out in the 1970s be. This pouch clutch was made popular by Lauren Hutton in the 1980 film American Gigolo and there was a reissue of a few years ago. The new 2020 version references the “Lauren 1980 Clutch”. Auction house Christie’s and Sotheby’s now regularly hold auctions of handbags, and there websites such as The RealReal and The Luxury Closet specialises in pre-loved luxury pieces, you can often find vintage gems if you have a keen eye. Buying vintage is as circular fashion friendly as it gets.

THE FASHION SWAP

It was while I was in my 20s that the “it bag” syndrome started, and of course we all had tight budgets — (And could never understand how Carrie Bradshaw could afford all those bags!) So we each bought one “it bag” every year and then did swap every month or so. And it’s a system I have restarted with friends — for instance I have had my eye on the Sabyasachi Royal Bengal Tiger Belt for a while now — my friend has it and said was bored of it. So I now have it, and in exchange she borrowed one of the statement necklaces, that I have just worn so much that I am tired of it.

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