A big part of having a more conscious wardrobe is loving the clothes you already have. With so many garments in the world (more than 80 billion new items of clothing bought each year) it’s incredibly wasteful and damaging to always be buying new clothes. The glamourization of shopping hauls and new purchases is everywhere but our favourite pieces are often so much more special than anything new. Loving and appreciating our clothes not only makes us happier with our wardrobes but it means we shop more mindfully and buy less things we don’t need.
Last month I was in Amsterdam and visited the Lena Fashion Library where you can borrow clothing with your monthly membership. I was able to interview co-founder Suzanne about the library and also try out borrowing some clothes!
I love the idea of borrowing instead of buying clothing, especially for special event items, trying out new styles, and clothes that typically don’t get a lot of wear.
What do you think of the idea of a fashion library? Would you use one?
The sun is bright and the flowers are blooming- I’m so excited it’s spring! Last year we had a pretty cold and rainy spring but this year looks like it’s going to be beautiful. I planned this capsule optimistic about good weather but also have options for the cooler days which will likely happen.
In total there are 31 pieces, plus I will be adding the skirt when it arrives. I also might add my second pair of jeans if the weather happens to cool down, but trying to be optimistic! The transitional seasons (fall & spring) I find can be tricky because in Cologne it’s difficult to predict what the weather will be like so I aim to have lots of layering options.
If you don’t know I generally follow Project 333 guidelines, but I don’t include jewellery or belts. Also as per the guidelines underwear, sleep and lounge clothes, and athletic clothing are not counted.
Hope you have a lovely spring! xx
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The weather finally feels like spring! I’m still using my winter capsule wardrobe and I’ve been repeating this outfit so much. It’s not only super comfortable but still looks put together and is perfect for the current weather.
This Kowtow tee dress is my current favourite piece, I wear it as often as possible. Made from fair trade organic cotton, it’s so soft and comfortable – like wearing pajamas 🙂
In January I traveled to Berlin to attend the Ethical Fashion Show and GreenShowroom and while I was there had some time to also check out some eco fashion stores and vegan restaurants in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg area.
We stayed at a “biohotel” called the Almodóvar which incorporates sustainability in so much of what they do. For example they have organic foods and textiles, use sustainable and reclaimed materials, and are conscious of their energy use and try to reduce it where possible- something I didn’t even think about before staying there was the energy it takes to have mini-fridges in hotel rooms. It’s a lovely hotel and I particularly liked all the wooden furniture- from sustainable forests!
Berlin is amazing for vegan restaurants, we really enjoyed The Bowl, 1990 Vegan Living and brunch at Lück’s, and had some amazing donuts from Brammibal’s. The hotel also has an organic vegan/vegetarian restaurant with a nice breakfast buffet.
There also are a lot of sustainable fashion stores in Berlin too, on this trip I visited Möon, Loveco, and Homage which are all beautiful shops carrying amazing eco brands and local designers!
Also not included in the video I went to the huge Humana thrift store in Friedrichshain and Made In Berlin which has a great selection of vintage clothes.
These are only a few of the stores and restaurants in Berlin though, you can always find wonderful places exploring the city. It’s also a really sustainably conscious city and a great place to eat out as a vegan or shop consciously.
In January I took a trip to Berlin to attend the Ethical Fashion Show and GreenShowroom– a joint trade fair where conscious brands sell their new collections (in this case F/W 17) to retailers. It was wonderful to see and chat with so many sustainable and ethically-minded brands! These are some interviews I did with a small % of the brands (I think there were around 180 total exhibitors!).
I loved hearing everyone’s stories and seeing all the different approaches to responsible fashion- from brand new, innovative ideas to using techniques that are thousands of years old!
What really stood out to me was how passionate everyone is about what they’re doing, it’s incredibly inspiring to see so many people who are working towards a better industry even though they face a lot of challenges. I wanted to focus on more positive stories with these videos but I also chatted about how difficult things can be. In particular people talked about how there’s pressure to lower their prices and also a lot of stigmas around sustainable/ethical fashion- some buyers avoid the event entirely and apparently stores are sometimes wary of being labeled an “eco fashion store” because of consumer perceptions. Conscious fashion has come a long way and is definitely growing but it also reinforced that there’s still a long way to go.
To go along with my video about 5 things I no longer buy, these are some questions I’ve found helpful and are good to ask yourself before buying a new garment:
When/where will I wear this?
Clothes should fit your lifestyle, only buy pieces you know you’ll actually wear.
What will I wear it with?
Make sure the garment works with what you already have and doesn’t require you to buy other things to wear it. I try to think of at least 3-5 different outfits including the item, if I can’t easily think of them I know it’s going to be difficult to make that piece work in my wardrobe.
Does it fit and is it comfortable?
If it doesn’t fit right, can it be altered? Your clothes should fit the way you want and if it’s not comfortable when you try it on, you likely won’t enjoy wearing it.
What is it made from and how do I care for it?
Make sure the material has the properties you want (eg. soft, breathable, water-resistant, etc.) and is a fabric you like wearing.
Check the care instructions and only buy things you are prepared and able to care for properly.
1 year? 5 years? 10? …20? This helps avoid fleeting trends and the longer you can see yourself wearing something the better the investment it is.
Does it fit with my budget?
Make sure you can afford it and that your money isn’t better spent on a different piece(s).
Are there any sustainability aspects? Is the company trying to reduce their environmental impact?
Look for sustainable materials, eco-friendly production, or any other areas where the brand is conscious of the sustainability of their products.
Were the people who made this paid fairly for their work?
Support companies who manufacture in an ethical way – pay their workers a living wage and treat them with respect. Check out brand’s social responsibility policies and look for fair trade brands.
Do I love it, or am I trying to convince myself I need it? Is the price/sale factoring into my decision?
It’s easy to get excited about something new so make sure it’s an item you actually want and will use (giving yourself some time to think about it often helps). It’s also incredibly easy to be tempted by sales, ask yourself if you would feel the same way if the product was regular price.
Winter is my largest capsule as I wear the most layers. This capsule includes 33 pieces but I did not include my winter coat, I also realized I did not count the belt shown in the video- so with those the capsule would be 35 items. I don’t include jewellery, loungewear, athletic clothes, or undergarments in my capsule wardrobes.
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This year I created a series where each month I share 5 things including an eco product, slow fashion brand, book or documentary, something I learned, and a blogger or youtuber I follow. This is a summary of all my favourites from the year!