Updated: Mar 2, 2020
The term "conscious clothing" sometimes (sadly) seems to be seen as a fad, similar to how veganism / vegetarianism can be portrayed as a fashionable trend. Don't worry, we're not going to dip our foot into the whole vegan and healthy eating chat - I'll leave that one for Papa Panda to talk about but what I will explore in this blog is the misconception that to take part in the slow fashion movement you need to ONLY buy "conscious clothing" i.e. Ethically made garments, organic clothing. Ethically made and organic items have huge benefits in themselves: mindfully made by people who are treated fairly with fair wages as well as working conditions, and natural products made without harmful chemicals is always a win but that's not to say you can't be a conscious shopper, make a positive move against the worrying trend that has been for many years "fast fashion". Growing up, my family often depended on hand me downs and since having my own children I've found that hand me downs are simply one way of not only saving money (because any parent can tell you how expensive having kids can be) but making use of items that many of us in this day in age would otherwise dispose of or give away when we've got bored or lost our two Ps for it. Two Ps? I hear you question?... yes! Purpose and Passion. Often when we lack purpose or a passion for something it's natural to want to cleanse of that item. I genuinely think you could possibly apply that method of thinking to any scenario or subject, but before I stray of topic completely here are my 5 tips to being a cool conscious shopper:
Yes to ethically made - it's nice to be nice to humans
Yes to organic - it's nice to be nice to ourselves and animals #noanimalswereharmedinmakingsuchandsuchitems
Hand me downs! Take care of your clothes and pass onto the next in line (sadly I never grew into my older brother's size 8UK kicks, but now as adults my younger sister passes me up her unwanted clothing #winning)
Charity shops - not for everyone but you'd be surprised what hidden gems you could find in a charity shop, plus you're helping a charity and who doesn't like to feel good about themselves for making a difference in someone else's life?
Upcycle! - always a fun one. If you're feeling crafty or know someone who is, change that old dress into a top (or like what I did with my boys when they had "holey knees" either patch them up or cut the legs off and make into shorts!)
Here are a few photos I managed to dig up of our #ThreeLittlePandas rocking hand me downs!
First pic Shayne (who is now 12years) vs Benji at 4years - Grey raincoat
Second pic Benji at 5years vs Sienna at 4years - Race car driver costume
Third pic Sienna at 6years vs Benji at 4years - Denim Jacket - which I bought second hand.
(Credits to our Shayne boy for creating these side by side imagery - slowly getting more involved in the family business!)
There's also a pattern I've seen in some stores where if you bring in a bag of old clothes to recycle you get rewarded with a money-off voucher for the next time you spend in store. I think that's pretty nice too and is always a good incentive to have.
But in all honesty, I think the best way you can make a positive impact is by questioning yourself, do I NEED that? Can I reuse it? Or rather, will I use it more than just a few times?
People often ask how Papa and I manage financially with 5 kids between us (3 who live at home with us) and the truth is asking ourselves those questions whenever we WANT something plays a big role!
We have our challenging moments living in Central/the west end of London but outside of the usual bills we could quite easily say that it's not often we buy something new.
The minimalist lifestyle is very appealing yet I've found it very difficult to put into practice with finding attachment and use for so many items we've accumulated over the years. Sharing is caring as they say and you'd probably laugh to think that I’ve stolen half of Papa's Tees over the years and been guilty of wearing his jackets on regular occasions - funny only because I'm 5'6 and hes a 6‘4 giant. And although you'll never see him wearing my clothes (haha imagine!) you would most definitely catch him using my organic skincare and bath salts which have all been ethically made.
So to end this nice little entry:
Remember, sharing is caring..
Question yourself the next time you decide to checkout somewhere :)
Oh and also - supporting independent businesses (that offer ethically made/organic items - bonus) is also cool #justsaying
Until next time...