As the #30Wears campaign continues to grow, Mikaela Loach shares her #30Wears wardrobe with us for a week.
What we wear is literally our chosen skin. It’s a form of self-expression. I love fashion in so many ways: it’s empowering to wear a great outfit and feel good wearing it. But, after watching the True Cost documentary five years ago I realised that this empowerment had only been one way: oppression of the people who made my clothes was the cost of my empowerment. There was no way I wanted to continue with that. So, I quit fast fashion. I now buy a whole heap less than I did five years ago. Most of what I decide to add to my wardrobe has to fit a few of these criteria: 1. It has to be sustainable and ethical. That means it’s from an ethical, transparent eco-friendly brand or it’s second hand. Most of my clothes are second hand. 2. I have to be completely sure I will wear it 30 times at the very least. This is a great and important tip – the #30Wears principle is what I stand by for pretty much any piece of clothing. When it comes to shoes, that goes up to ~100 wears. This principle means that I’m choosing clothes that are a) great quality and will last and b) are wearable with many of my existing items of clothing. Don’t buy something that doesn’t already go with at least a few things you already have. 3. I have to absolutely love it. Any piece of clothing I buy I should love enough that I want to wear it again and again and again. That’s sustainable. Sustainability is rewearing; it’s loving your clothes SO much that you will rewear that same outfit over and over and over as the years go on. These criteria mean that any piece of clothing coming into my life is an investment. If I’m even a but unsure if an item fits this criteria, I leave it. So far, it’s worked! The clothes I own are ones I love. Most of my clothes I have worn many many more times that only #30Wears and they’re still going strong. Good quality clothes (get vintage if you can, especially for jeans!) will last the test of time and will save a lot of money in the long run. So, without further ado, here’s what a week of outfits looks like for me. I’m a student so comfort is key (especially for a day in the library!). Monday
This outfit is a mix of second hand finds and some ethically made Lucy & Yak dungarees I’ve had for over a year (and have already got almost 100 wear out of already I’m sure). The jumper is an old one from my fast fashion days that I’ve had for about eight years – don’t throw out your old fast fashion pieces! Wearing what you already have is the most sustainable way to shop.
The coat and shoes were bought on Ebay second hand. Both are high quality items which I knew I needed to get a lot of wear out of but wanted to avoid buying new. It was very easy to find both in nearly new condition and I wear both of them almost every day! This coat – again is definitely over 100 wears. I’m hoping I’ll still be wearing these boots in 10 years (with some resoling eventually).
Fully second hand! Well, apart from the shoes… These jeans are vintage, bought from a flea market. They both look great and are also far better quality than most jeans being worn today. These have definitely already surpassed #30wears. The top is one of my boyfriend’s old t-shirts and the headscarf was from a second hand store in Camden.
An all pink day! Coat is a recycled plastic one from Lucy & Yak which I’ve had for a while and has had lots of wear. The dungarees are also from Lucy & Yak (a couple of years old). Headband is a piece of vintage velvet ribbon. Earrings are from the wonderful Chunky Resin.
Here I wanted to show a “smart” or work-friendly outfit to throw in the mix of my student dungaree life. Jeans are – again – Lucy & Yak. I love these because they can be dressed down and up, are comfy and versatile so I can get a lot of wear out of them. The turtleneck is a recent second hand find from depop. I’d had one from my fast fashion days that had completely warn out after eight years of wear. I had definitely worn that top almost 300 times. For me, a black turtleneck is a necessity. It’s the kind of basic item that you can wear in so many different ways.
Shoes are Vegetarian Shoes which I love. Stethoscope just because I’m a medical student. It’s pink though, so that counts as an accessory right?
The black turtleneck is back, but with a different pair of dungarees. As you can probably tell, I know what I like to wear. Dungarees, a turtleneck and some fun earrings is pretty much my uniform.
I spent the weekend second hand shopping around some of Edinburgh’s best spots (Stockbridge, Nicholson St., Grassmarket). I wore a second hand turtleneck I got on a trip to Amsterdam, my fave vintage jeans and my Doc Marten Leonie boots (not laces wooo!). When you go second hand shopping you want to be wearing items that are a) staples in your wardrobe that you’ll want to pair new items with and b) are easy to change in and out of quite a few times as you try things on.
So, that’s a week in clothes for me. It’s not the most realistic to my everyday life. Most of the time I just rewear the same outfit a couple times in the week. We all definitely need to get more comfortable with rewearing our clothes as it’s the most eco-friendly way to dress. Consumer culture is suffocating our already dying planet. Cutting down our consumption of clothing dramatically, shopping second hand to give clothes a new life and rewearing those clothes until they fully wear out are small and simple things you can do to reduce your climate footprint and to move towards a more sustainable world. You don’t even need anything new to start this, just wear what you already have.
Gemma Cairney shares a week of her #30Wears looks.
Jil Carrara shares her tips for talking to your friends about quitting fast fashion.
Aja Barber shares her tips for buying for longevity.