Happy Tuesday Shoesday everyone! How’s your week going so far? Got though Monday okay? Did you head back to college yesterday? Are you making the big move to uni this week? Let me know what you’ve been up to – I’d love to hear from you while I’m sat here blogging away at my computer. Anyway, enough chat from me for the moment, I’m here to write something important; why buying vintage is the environmentally friendly option, I’m sure you all have something to say on the matter to please do get in touch in the comments section at the end of my blog post, it would be very interesting to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Off the top of my head, I can think of a handful of reasons why it’s a great idea to buy vintage clothing, shoes and accessories – not least because vintage items are often totally unique, super-cool pieces from the era and will make your autumn/winter 2015 look even more individual and on-trend – but that’s not the only reason to start browsing the vintage shops. Oh no. There are lots of ecological issues to consider when you head out to the shops (the excessive use of water in denim production, the polluting nature of modern fabric processes, and the carbon footprint of importing goods to name but a few) and many of these can be minimised by simply choosing vintage over new.
For a start, many items of vintage clothing will have been made in the UK. Back in the day, Britain was covered in factories; weaving cotton and silk, cutting patterns and constructing perfectly-stitched clothing. The fashion industry in this country has gradually died out with more and more factories closing their doors in favour of cheaper production costs abroad. Vintage shopping can often turn up a whole host of ‘Made in England’ labels and help to target that dreaded carbon-footprint of air-and-road-miles to bring imports into high street stores.
Secondly, by buying vintage, you are saving something from the rubbish. Without a whole legion on vintage fans, retro treasures would be consigned to the bin and could clog up over-stuffed landfill sites all over the country. Okay, a fair amount of rag-recycling is done but it relies on people taking old clothing to a local waste recycling centre so, unfortunately, a lot of old clothing does end up getting dumped just to save time and effort. Now that vintage clothing is in such demand, more and more ‘closet clear-outs’ are being passed on, donated to charity or sold in kilo-sales. These items will live to see another day and will be kept out of landfill for good – now there’s a reason to buy vintage, if ever I heard one.
Thirdly, you’re saving the plant. We’ve probably all heard about the massive water consumption used in the process of dyeing fabric, but you may not know that many manmade fibres, such as nylon and polyester are full of non-biodegradable petrochemicals and the process emits the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (GreenChioces.org). Even natural fabrics like cotton and wool use pesticides while producing the fibres. So, even though your vintage 70s kaftan may be made of polyester, it is far more eco-friendly to reuse and recycle the fabric that has already been made than to buy a new item, causing the environmentally-damaging process to continue happening. Fair enough, everyone in the world would have to give up buying new items for these fabric processes to stop, but every little helps and cuts down on the production by one item at a time.
Finally, it’s the thrifty option. If you want to buy something that will last but don’t want to spend a fortune on high-end fashion, vintage is the way to invest. Think about it: if that leather handbag has already lasted 50 years and still looks great, it’ll probably serve you well too – and even survive to be passed down to your children in the future. Since the dawn of ‘fast fashion’, factories are churning out lower-quality pieces of clothing as they don’t expect you to be wearing the same item next year – or even next month – so producers pay less attention to strong-enough stitching, how many times that zip can be zipped before it breaks or when that elastic waistband will go saggy. In past decades, being built-to-last was an important part of the construction process, as women invested in less items but of higher quality, so anything that has survived and is hanging in your local vintage store is obviously one of these key pieces. Buy it, treasure it and pass it on!
Let me know what you think, and the reasons why you buy vintage by leaving me a comment below or chat with me on twitter @Cassiefairy, I can’t wait to hear your opinions.