According to research, we have approximately 12 years left to save our planet from irreversible damage, fast fashion and inexpensively made clothing are producing 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions. This is more than all international flights and maritime shipping!
Rebecca Hughes, otherwise known as @TheNiftyThrifter_ has taken on the challenge of purchasing no new clothes in 2019 and has been rebelling against fast fashion and opting for charity shop purchases and thrifting.
I had a chat with her about her #FastFashionRebellion journey and change in lifestyle.
Q: What inspired you to make this choice?
A: I think our generation is very climate-conscious so for me, worrying about the environment over the last couple of years or so definitely was the biggest inspiration for me essentially boycotting fast-fashion. We can no longer ignore how detrimental fast-fashion is to the world and I really needed some way of making a stand. I also realised that I much preferred shopping from charity shops and vintage outlets and was something I had already been doing for years.
Fast-fashion stores and consumerism-culture always made me feel empty and lost. I always felt as if I couldn’t keep up with any fashion trend as the cycles moved so fast. It stirred up a passion in me to want to show young people and young girls in particular, that you can still create cute and fashionable outfits from second-hand clothes rather than buying harmful disposable fashion that you get for your Instagram pic for and then never wear again!
Q: I believe you coined the hashtag #FastFashionRebellion which has over 100 posts on Instagram! Do you think the movement is growing?
A: I came up with #FastFashionRebellion as I was inspired by the collective Extinction Rebellion, who campaign about climate change and the action needed to be taken to save our planet. I remember creating the #FastFashionRebellion hashtag thinking I would be happy if it even reached 20 posts so the fact it now has over 100 makes me so happy. The hashtag was created for people to be able to share outfits that are second-hand and anti-fast fashion. I wanted the hashtag to be a place people could go to be inspired by the outfits that can be created by simply not buying new.
Through the hashtag, I also wanted to show the importance of cherishing the clothes we already have and show how to style a favourite piece of clothing in multiple ways to get the most use out of it. As well as this, the fast-fashion industry often fails to pay its workers a living wage. Therefore, I wanted to use this hashtag as a way of expressing contempt for fast-fashion companies who fail to empower those who work hard to make our clothes.
Q: What are the benefits of purchasing second hand?
A: The benefits of not purchasing new clothes are endless. Not only are you lessening the demand for fast-fashion, but you are also able to find and create original outfits that no one has worn before. Not only this, every time you purchase something in a charity shop, you are donating money towards a worthwhile cause.
In addition, the items of clothing are often extremely cheap and a fraction of the price of what a similar item of clothing would look like from a fast-fashion retailer. I also like it from a sentimental stand point. Often when I buy something second-hand, I like to look into what exists behind the vintage item of clothing I bought. I find comfort in wondering who wore it before? What’s their story? Did they wear it to a rave? Or a 70s disco?
Q: Any negatives?
A: The only negatives of charity shops and vintage shopping is that you kind of need to be in the ‘mood’ to shop. Often, I can’t just go into one shop and have the luxury of finding the item of clothing that I need straight-away. It takes time – and a good deal of rummaging – to find the item of clothing you seek! However, this often leads me to find gems of clothing hidden away behind a rail that ends up being my favourite thing ever.
However, another negative would be that I have spoken to a lot of my plus-size friends and there is a consensus that larger-sized clothes are harder to find in charity shops and vintage shops which can be frustrating. Another is the fact underwear is not sold in second-hand shops and even when it is I don’t think I’d buy it. I luckily haven’t needed to buy any new underwear as I already had enough from previous years but when I do need to – I’ll need to think consciously of where I could buy these ethically.
Q: What would you say to someone considering making the change?
A: I would say whole-heartedly go for it!!! It has honestly been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am constantly inspired by different ways I can style my clothes – particularly items I have thrown to the back of my wardrobe, which I am now able to give new life to! As well as this the thrifting Instagram community is the sweetest, most-encouraging bubble! What I would say is that no-one should ever feel pressured to not buying a single item of new clothing again.
Instead, look into being more conscious with the decision you make surrounding clothes. Ask yourself, do I need that? Don’t I already own something similar to that? Could I borrow from a friend, auntie or cousin? Asking these sorts of questions and lowering the speed of your fashion consumption are all ways we can help toward creating a more ethically-aware fashion culture.
Would you join the #FastFashionRebellion? Comment below!
Hope you enjoyed this post! Don’t forget to follow @TheNiftyThrifter_ on Instagram.