What is circular fashion?

The aim at Stiall is as always to de-mystify sustainability in fashion. So, here’s what you need to know about circular fashion.

In short, a circular fashion economy reduces waste and restores resources. 

To begin with, a circular fashion economy means that a product is created in a lean and efficient process, while also having these components as described by Green Strategy:

 

  1. Designed so that its sub-components can be disassembled or separated to facilitate repair, remake, reuse and eventually material recycling at its end of use;

  2. Designed with high quality materials and in timeless style to maximize its durability, longevity and attractiveness to many users (if passed on to new users);

  3. Designed on demand (custom-made) in order to be more optimally designed for its specific user in terms of fabric/material, style and fit, thus increasing its perceived value and likely lifespan;

  4. Produced with non-toxic, high quality and preferably biodegradable materials, so that its material(s) may be safely biodegraded and composted at the end of use; or produced with non-toxic synthetic materials that may be effectively recycled (such as recyclable polyester);

  5. Produced in such a way that all waste generation is minimized during production, and all potential spill material and rest products can be reclaimed and reused as raw material for other processes, thus minimizing the extraction of new virgin material;

  6. Producedtransported and marketed using renewable energy, such as wind or solar power, wherever possible, and using water and other raw materials effectively and safely throughout production and distribution;

  7. Can be used by multiple users throughout its life time through swapping, borrowing, rental, redesign, or second hand services, thus extending its user life; and

  8. Can be safely and effectively reclaimed and recycled, whereby its components are utilized as raw material for manufacturing of new products, or are biodegraded and turned into biological nutrients for microorganisms in the soil “

How can we adapt to this model

It goes back to the Stiall ethos: Use what you have and when you need something, buy better so you are buying less.

 

 

The current fashion model looks like this

 

If we adapt a circular model, here’s what it will look like..

So, do you think we could reach a circular fashion economy?

The Edit – Jo Linehan

Being a sustainable consumer is no easy task. So we’ve enlisted the help of some of the Fashion Industry’s most respected Editors and stylists to tell us about their most coveted items and why they’re standing the test of time in their wardrobes.

This week, the very talented Jo Linehan gave Stiall the pleasure of asking her about what is most coveted in her wardrobe. Jo’s work can be seen in IMAGE Magazine, U Magazine and  The Independent to name a few. She’s also the co-founder of GAFF interiors, for all the home inspo you’ll ever needs. She has collaborated with the likes of Barneys New York  Umit Kutlok, Dublin Fringe Festival,  Universal and RTE. Today, Jo gives us the scoop on her style. As a pretty ruthless wardrobe declutterer, Jo says that she tries “to take stock each month of what I have and get rid of pieces I’m not enjoying or wearing (season-depending, of course). I try to be mindful when I buy pieces – do I really need it, is it going to serve me on are than one occasion – so the clothes that I do have are dear to me.” So what are the pieces that have stood the test of time.

A slip dress

Top of my beloved list is my hot-pink Topshop slip dress. I’m a 90s kid at heart, so anything that
speaks to my inner Clueless and Grunge girl tendencies i(depending on the day) is a goer in my
books. This silk piece was a steal. I spotted it in the Toyshop sale rack in Blanchardstown about six years ago for €20. I wear it every summer and it’s so versatile – throw it on over a bikini on the
each, under a leather jacket in he evenings, it’s perfect with sneakers or sandals, It’s a dream item that never fails to make me feel good, and I’ve already thought about having a replica made when it starts to disintegrate!

Slip dress, €120, Siizu

A Kenzo sweatshirt

I’m a total fashion nerd, which is why my Kenzo sweatshirt means so much to me. It was my first
big purchase as a magazine editor. I had had my eye on their statement sweatshirts for a while,
and when I was sent to London for a work assignment, I took a convenient detour to their store at
31 Bruton Street, to try one on. It’s from that collection a few years ago with those eye motifs. I’ll
never forget leaving the store with that plush KENZO carrier bag slung over my shoulder, the
jumper folded neatly inside, under layers of white tissue paper. I got on the plane back to Dublin
that evening and I felt like I had made it. Never mind it cost me my month’s rent. It’s one of those
iconic pieces that captures a moment in fashion history, and it aways makes me smile.

Sweatshirt, €235, Kenzo

A Maine University sweater 

I love my sister more than anything. I am so proud of her and everything she’s done. When she
won a scholarship to study in Maine University two years ago I thought I’d burst with excitement.
She returned after her academic stint armed with matching Maine sweatshirts for us both. It’s XXL and the cosiest thing I own. When I wear it I feel connected to her, no matter where we are.

Some special jewellery 

I’m a major clutz, so I’ve never invested in jewellery. I’ll either break it or lose it. However, I was
gifted two pieces from MoMuse this summer and I adore them. They’re precious to me. One is a
simple star, gifted to me by Mags who owns MoMuse, and one is a large black circular setting that my business partner Caroline gave me. I also just got a J necklace from Loulerie that I adore.

Necklace, €150, MoMuse

The Edit – Dominique McMullan


Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

Being a sustainable consumer is no easy task. So we’ve enlisted the help of some of the Fashion Industry’s most respected Editors and stylists to tell us about their most coveted items and why they’re standing the test of time in their wardrobes.

This week we meet Dominique McMullan. You may recognise Dominique for from her regular appearances on Xpose, or for her no nonsense guide to fashion, beauty and travel in The Irish Times. She took some time to tell Stiall why basics are best, why a rain jacket is essential in Ireland and how investment buys stand the test of time.

A leather jacket

“I’ve had it for so long it’s like an extension of my body. It’s from a brand I don’t even recognise as I bought it second hand in Vancouver years and years ago. It wouldn’t have been particularly expensive but it’s the perfect fit for my shape. Every autumn and spring I find myself reaching for it as it’s just right for when the temperatures drop a bit.”

Vegan leather jacket, Free People, €138

A breton stripe t-shirt

“I’m astonished to be writing this but the second piece I always find myself reaching for is a Breton style T-shirt from none other than Penneys. I must have had it at least ten years, and it is still in perfect condition despite constant wearing and washing. It goes with everything and compliments a dressed down outfit as much as a dressed up one.”

Breton stripe t-shirt, Stiall, €55 

A rain coat

“A saviour for rainy days is my proper rain coat from The Great Outdoors. It’s bright red and keeps even the heaviest of rain at bay. I try to get out for long walks and the weekend, and this always comes with me, but I’ll also wear it for my walk into work if it’s pouring. It was an investment but if we’re talking cost per wear (and dryness!) then one that was well worth it.”

Rain jacket, Patagonia, €140

Lululemon leggings

“Another investment was my Lululemon leggings. I got a fright at how expensive they were initially, but since owning them the price makes sense. I’ve had my pair about a year and they’ve probably been washed 100 times. The material is still in perfect condition, and most importantly, when in downward dog, there are zero pants visible to the world.”

Leggings, Lululemon, €108

A white shirt

“It’s another important component of my wardrobe. I’ll update this about once a
year, while still incorporating the others that I’ve collected into outfits. Last year I bought one with huge sculptural sleeves, this year I bought one with an extended collar. Matched with blue jeans and my hair in a low bun, they make the perfect go to for a regular day in the office.”

Aideen Finnegan and the #stiallchallenge

She’s a broadcast journalist who is mildly preoccupied by Jamie Oliver recipes and fully obsessed with Irish design. You’ll find her caffeinated, due to being up bright and early for 98FM’s Big Breakfast, or, trying to think of a witty Twitter bio. Meet, Aideen Finnegan and see how she went about the #stiallchallenge.

 

She’s not a regular shopper..

 

“Sadly I’m not a regular shopper anymore, because I’m in my mid thirties and there’s rent / housing crisis. But although I’d love to be able to shop more often, having to save has forced me to think about what I really want and really need. Mindfulness for clothes, if you will. Namaste!”

It’s a no to Vintage and a big Yes to Irish Design

“I don’t do vintage. I wish I could be Macklemore and rifle through racks until I find a gem. But I don’t have the patience, the right body shape or the instinct!I will shell out on Manley whenever there’s a sample sale, because I know the pieces will last for years without dating or deteriorating. I buy shoes in Zara or Topshop once or twice a year. I try to repair the shoes I do own, particularly when I land upon a pair that doesn’t hurt me. I’ll want to keep them for as long as I can. I have a pair of great slouch boots from Buffalo that I bought ten years ago. They’re still going strong.”

She experimented in different styles in her early 20’s

“I was all about H&M and Penneys. I was constantly trying to nail a ‘look’, and if you think about it… ten or twelve years ago there were no influencers, no YouTube tutorials or hauls and no real way to consume Street Style. I basically begrudged designers for having the AUDACITY to charge huge prices for a cotton t-shirt.

I lived in Barcelona for a while and it was all very informal. Wearing heels on a night out was mad. I still wore them of course, because you can take the girl out of Ireland etc…! Don’t mistake me for a hobbler though. I never struggle to wear a pair of shoes just because they look good. There’s nothing sadder than seeing someone limping in heels or looking visibly uncomfortable in what they’re wearing.”

She’s more conscious about quality now

“It’s not just because I want things to last, but also because I’m a cold creature who’s constantly hugging the radiator. I prefer wool and natural fabrics, and I have terrible feet so I try to buy leather shoes which will mould and soften. I suppose as you get older you become more aware of where your clothes come from and the ethics and sustainability associated with its production.

She’s a self confessed marketers dream

“When it comes to browsing and window shopping… I’m kind of a marketing person’s dream. I might not look twice at an item of clothing, but when I see it worn a certain way by someone I admire, I’ll pounce on it.”

We asked Aideen to come along to the photoshoot in her favourite pieces that she’s been using for the #stiallchallenge

“I don’t often get the legs out, but I’m obsessed with this Manley dress. The cut is universally flattering, and the shade of red is the most perfect tone of cranberry. It makes me feel like I don’t need to slap on any fake tan. I love everything about it, the fabric, the turned-up sleeves, the gold buttons and the neckline. The wool and leather coat is also by Manley. It’s so soft, I could sleep in it. I’m a real magpie too so the metallic leather hooked me in. The Nixon watch was from Raglan, a gorgeous boutique and coffee shop hybrid on Drury Street which is a Starbucks now. I’ve always loved rose gold because of my grandmother’s wedding ring. She died when I was young, and now it’s my wedding ring too. My necklace and silver rooftop ring is by Edge Only. They’re distinctly feminine, but tough! The shoes are a nude leather with a small from Topshop. They go with everything.”

So 30 days and 30 items for the #stiallchallenge, how was it for Aideen

“Pretty good. I tend to wear the same trousers, shoes and coat which frees me up to rotate my favourite tops and jackets. I know it’s not very imaginative. In my defense, I get up at 4.15am every morning for work. It’s not conducive to creativity! I didn’t include gym gear underwear in the challenge. That’s a bridge too far. Does it mean I cheated?”

The challenge has taken her out of her comfort zone

“I would generally consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to clothes. I don’t really get caught up in the hype of sales or designer x high street collaborations. But the challenge has forced me to confront the fact that although there are clothes in my wardrobe that I love, I’m realistically not going to wear them again. I love that Christopher Kane for Topshop dress with the mirrors. But when did I last wear it? It’s time to Andrea Bocelli and Time To Say Goodbye!”

The final say 

“I think I’m going to think more about what I do with clothes when I’m finished with them. I had no idea the recycled clothes industry was such a behemoth. I might try and re-purpose them somehow. I don’t know yet! But I see tailors and seamstresses in my future!”

 

Photography: David Gannon

With special thanks to The Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin

Alex Calder and the #stiallchallenge

You’re most likely to find 33 year old Alex Instagramming from the back of a horse, but this powerhouse is also the  Director of Content and Communications at a strategic design consultancy! So we challenged an already busy woman to take the #stiallchallenge to see if sustainability can be accessible to every lifestyle.


Alex is a seasonal wardrobe updater

 

“I love sale time for finding lovely things that would otherwise be unreasonably expensive at full price. There’s something very satisfying about finding a new favourite piece at 60% off. Periodically throughout the year I’ll complement things I already have with new things from COS, & Other Stories, Everlane, and (although less so now) Zara. If I’m in another city, I like to try to find something locally made to buy. I have also acquired some wonderful vintage pieces from my grandmother, my mother, and one particularly fruitful trip to a Parisian vintage store.”


In her 20’s, she envied the style of women in their 30’s


“They always seemed to have their style nailed, and could afford nicer clothes. I found that as I reached 29/30, my style became more consolidated, and felt more mine than feeling trend led. In the past two years, I’ve cut down my buys from the high street significantly. My mother has always influenced my sister and I in choosing good quality and stylish pieces, and they ultimately always have more longevity than fast fashion high street pieces. It bothers me that you can go into Zara one week, see something you like, and come back with the intention of buying it two weeks later, and it’s gone. It’s almost stressing you into buying on a constant basis. So I just tend to avoid it now.”

She’s keen on shopping in store

“There’s something much more enjoyable about trying something on and walking out with it, rather than just wildly clicking. Although, I do love Everlane which is online only – I wish they shipped to Ireland more regularly. I’m a big fan of Joseph and Victoria Beckham for work clothes, and Everlane, COS and & Other Stories for work and for everyday, and The Kooples for the odd interesting thing. In Irish designers I love Helen Steele and Helen Cody (who made my wedding dress!).”

We asked Alex to come along to the photoshoot in her favourite pieces that she’s been using for the #stiallchallenge

“I called this outfit a ‘bargain outfit’ on my Insta-story, so I guess it’s a good example of my bargain hunting ways !

The trousers are one of my favourite clothes. They always get remarked on when I wear them, the material is just so unusual. I got them in 2010 or so, in the closing down sale of a great little boutique in the Powerscourt Townhouse called Circus. I think they were €10 or €50. They’re from a German designer called Reality Studio. They’re in great condition despite a lot of wear, with only a couple of little holes developing over time, which I’ve mended.

They form the basis of a lot of my outfits, and at the moment, mixing them with this washed black silk shirt and leather jacket  is a favourite for these cool summer days. The silk shirt is Hartford, and I got it at a random pop-up sale in Martha’s Vineyard earlier in the summer. It was $20, and had been reduced from $280. It’s beautiful heavy, cool, soft silk.

The leather jacket is from The Kooples. I searched for a long time for the right leather jacket. I love it. The leather is so soft, yet it feels substantial. And of course, it was half price. The shoes are Nike Juvenates. They really are the most comfortable things. This whole outfit is about comfort, really. Everything is soft, silky, drapey, but with the silk and leather it’s warm/cool enough for these changeable days, and for me it’s a perfect work to going out look.”

 

So 30 days and 30 items for the #stiallchallenge, how was it for Alex

“Having a photographic chronicle of everything I’ve worn has been really helpful. It’s been easier to get dressed in the morning because I’ve had these references to look back at (I have a weird inability to remember what I wore the previous day sometimes), and, through the restricted number of things I could wear, I’ve created some new combinations that I wouldn’t otherwise have thought of.”

 

Her new attitude to shopping has been reaffirmed

 


“I do have a lot of clothes. However, I’ve had a lot of them for a long time, and I do still wear them. I had already been gradually cutting down how much clothing I buy, and this has helped reaffirm my reasons to do this. 
I want to make an effort to buy more sustainable brands. I’m going to keep chronicling what I’m wearing, to use all of my clothes better.”

 

Check out Alex on Instagram Here

Photography: David Gannon

With special thanks to The Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin

Aisling Bynre and the #stiallchallenge


Aislign is a 24 year old Entrepreneur and the co-founder of Nu Wardrobe. She’s studied music, has worked in media but gives all her time to her start up, which aims to change our version of what wearing something new means. While she enjoys musicals, a good cocktail and a chat about sustainable fashion she’s tired of the “awful feeling you get when you watch an interesting documentary about climate change and realise just how bad things have got.”

 

Aisling believes in swapping clothes over constantly buying new ones

“I love fashion, but I barely ever shop for brand new pieces. Most of the clothes I have come from swap shops or are borrowed from friends. I’ll go vintage or charity shopping if I need something specific. I’ve slowly started to collect sustainable or ethical pieces and it’s a case of saving up and really investing in those.”

 

She used to be a fast fashion fan

” I used to shop in a lot of fast-fashion outlets and really did not think about what I was doing. I would just run in and pick something up on the way home if I was heading somewhere that night. I’d never considered how many times I’d wear the piece or where it came from. When I started to learn more about the fast-fashion industry my view of garments totally changed.”

Becoming a conscious consumer was a journey

“At first, I felt guilty for buying cheap clothes, but I still did it on occasion, because I needed them or liked how they looked. Over time I became so interested in sustainable fashion that I would walk into a fast-fashion store and not even want anything in there. I began to see the cheap quality, how unlikely it was to last more than a few washes, and just how everything looked the same from shop to shop. Trends change so fast now that I don’t feel the high street helps people to show off their personal style anymore.”

So why did her habits change once and for all?

“It was a mix of not wanting to buy all these new clothes because of ethical reasons, realising that I simply didn’t need unnecessary pieces, and gaining a new sense of personal style for which I wanted to invest in pieces that I really loved and would last a long time. I think that I respect and love clothes a lot more now. I no longer choose or buy them for quick gratification, I buy or borrow them because of their beauty, their story, and what they represent.” 

 

Aisling is now a sustainable brand enthusiast 

“I love Veja, Patagonia, Stella McCartney, and Needle and Thread. I like to look at pieces online as it helps me to focus on what it is that I want and actually need to buy, but I also love the experience of trying on pieces in the store. More and more I will go online simply because some of my favourite brands are not available in Ireland or are only online.”

We asked Aisling to come along to the photoshoot in her favourite pieces that she’s been using for the #stiallchallenge

“I’m wearing a feather body con dress but using it as a top! Funny story with this one..I met a woman in the village with a bag with a feather hat sticking out and I just had to ask where she got it! She was on the way to the charity shop and said there were plenty more feathered items in there. Long story short she gave me the bag and the pieces were beautiful, including the dress/top I’m wearing today. The pieces that didn’t fit me went into the Nu swap shop and found lovely new homes. My skirt is from Topshop and my heels are from Schuh. I bought these before I totally turned my back on fast-fashion and have made sure to wear them far more than just 30 times, Which isn’t hard, because I love them. These fab socks I bought in a vintage store in Galway.”

So 30 days and 30 items for the #stiallchallenge, how was it for Aisling?

“I found it surprisingly easy, and also quite eye opening. When going through my wardrobe I could very easily pick out the 30 items I like the most and quickly realised how much of my wardrobe doesn’t get much wear. It was fun mixing and matching outfits and it forces you to be creative with what you have. It’s a really good lesson for future buying, being able to ask your self ‘will this match my current wardrobe?’. After this, I’d definitely consider building a capsule wardrobe of 30 items and borrow the rest rather than keep buying things that don’t get much wear.”

 

Aisling’s lesson learned from the #stiallchallenge

“Doing this challenge I found how easy it was to live for a month without wearing some of the pieces in my wardrobe. It was a bit sad… items I’ve kept for ages didn’t make it into the challenge, and I just had to think ‘when will I realistically wear that again?’ and  ‘Can I give it to someone else?’.

I look back at how unsustainable my old shopping habits were that I feel quite motivated to keep 30 items 30 days as mentality when the challenge is over rather than it being a once off thing.

As a society, our consumption habits are just crazy and I think it is really important for everyone to think more about the clothes they buy, where they are from, and how many times they will be worn. 30 items give you a wonderful variety of pieces that can be carefully chosen, cared for and worn allowing you to be creative with your wardrobe without getting bored.” 

 

The final say

“I think the Stiall challenge is a creative and engaging way to become more sustainable in your fashion choices. Often times we can feel so helpless when learning about the social and environmental impacts of the fast-fashion industry and it is hard to know where to start or what to do. Taking this simple challenge for just one month can make such a difference. Think about it, this way you won’t even buy anything new for one month which means you’re already saving approximately 7,100 litres of water and 15lbs of c02 that would have bee used in the production of just one new garment.”

Photography: David Gannon

With special thanks to The Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin

The Edit – Jennifer Stevens, Editor of Irish Country Magazine

Being a sustainable consumer is no easy task. So we’ve enlisted the help of some of the Fashion Industry’s most respected Editors and stylists to tell us about their most coveted items and why they’re standing the test of time in their wardrobes.
We’re thrilled to have the Editor of Irish Country Magazine Jen Stevens join us to tell us what one of Ireland’s most well regarded editor’s has in her coveted wardrobe. Jen tells us about her Texas love affair and why kids should be taught how to sew a button.

1)A Louis Vuitton Neverfull

“I got a Louis Vuitton Neverfull for a Christmas/Anniversary/Birthday present in December 2015. I had been thinking about buying one for ages and had been into the boutique in Brown Thomas to visit them way too many times. I was very close to making the purchase but decided to wait for my usual Christmas Brown Thomas voucher from my parents to put towards it. My husband knows how long it takes me to make the decision to buy myself something expensive (funny I would by a new fridge/freezer in a heartbeat but would him and haw over a bag for a year) so he was safe in the knowledge that he’d be able to get it for me before I bought one. It was €975 which is a lot for a bag but I have it 21 months now and have used it almost every day. It’s my go to work bag and even if I only used it two thirds of the time that still brings it down to a cost per wear of €2 which is really good.
I have a couple of more expensive handbag which go on rotation. I love them all, they all have a story and it means that I am never tempted to buy cheaper more throwaway ones.”

2) A Joanne Hynes sweatshirt

Immediately after Joanne Hynes show in the foodhall of Dunnes Stores St Stephen’s Green last year I ran up the escalator to buy everything! I loved it all but I settled on a black sweatshirt with perspex embellishment and a blue trumpet sleeved dress. I wore the sweatshirt all winter and it got complimented almost every time. I love Irish design and I think it’s really important to support the industry here. I really appreciate everything Dunnes is doing by supporting indigenous talent and I make it a first port of call when I’m buying gifts. As well as Joanne there’s LennonCourtney, Carolyn Donnelly, Paul Costelloe, Helen James, Francis Brennan and Paul Galvin which is an amazing spread of Irish talent. I’ll be wearing my Joanne Hynes sweatshirt this winter along with whatever other purchase I buy from her next collection!

3) Allen’s Boots

“I have a love affair with Texas, it’s an amazing state. I’ve been there twice now and each time I’ve gone to Allen’s Boots in Austin and bought myself a pair of ankle high cowboy boots. They’re about $300 a pair but I had my first ones for three years and only replaced them on my second visit this year. They are amazing leather, handcrafted, absolutely beautiful and a real cowboy helps you pick them out – what more could you want!”

4) Sonia Rykiel sunglasses

“I like to buy a really good pair of shades and stick to them. I got this year’s beautiful Sonia Rykiel pair in TK Maxx back in March and was delighted with myself for my forward planning. They’re a classic pair and I’ll wear them for the next few summers. I don’t believe in getting new ones each and every year and the thoughts of multiple pairs just seems like a waste of time – once a pair is in my bag, I’d never remember to swap them each day! I’m more of a buy one really good thing and hang on to it til you break it person!”

5) Theory jumpsuit

“I got a beautiful black Theory jumpsuit in an outlet mall in Washington DC in 2011. I’ve worn it to weddings, to work events, on nights out – anywhere that I’ve wanted to look put together and sort of classy. It’s beautifully made, usually always fits and is very classic. I’ve hemmed it and restitched belt loops – it’s six years old and while the quality is great, things are going to come undone from time to time. My mum was a seamstress and while I’m not talented enough to make my own clothes, I happily mend things, darn things and sew buttons onto things I love. It’s so important to be able to do that, it really upsets me when people through things out because of a missing button. Every boy and girl should be taught how to replace a button in primary school!”
Design by Katie Gilligan

6 ethical fashion myths busted

It’s time sustainable and ethical fashion was demystified. The aim of Stiall is bring sustainability and ethical fashion to the forefront of fashion discussions, so it’s time we got some things clear.

Ethical fashion is all hemp trousers and linen smocks

That’s an initial reaction for those unfamiliar with the slow fashion movement. There are tonnes of brands to choose from that don’t compromise on aesthetics for ethics. Aside from some of favourites that we’ve written about here, The Chalk Board Magazine have compiled a great list including Brands like Reformation, Zady, People Tree, Everlane, Patagonia, GAIA for women, Krochet Kids, Fair Trade Winds, Mata Traders, MadeFAIR, PACT Apparel, Nisolo, Shift To Nature, milo+nicki, Mayamiko, Alternative Apparel, Apolis, Vetta Capsule, Naja, Industry of All Nations, Slumlove Sweater Company, Elegantees, Noctu, Symbology, Brain Tree Clothing, Fibre Athletics, My Sister, Sseko Designs, Sotela, prAna, Wallis Evera, Purple Impression, The Root Collective, Thread Harvest, Raven + Lily, Eileen Fisher, Gather & See, Oliberete, Good Cloth. See, lot’s of great options!

 

You can’t afford to be a sustainable fashion consumer

Sustainability is all about buying less and buying better. Think cost per wear, think product quality and think about it’s longevity. Soon, you’ll see it’s a lot easier than it seems.

If you become a sustainable fashion consumer, you can’t enjoy fashion in the same way

 

Yes, you can! Even more so in my experience. Becoming more sustainable in your fashion choices gives you a certain confidence in your style. Quality trumps quantity and your look becomes more personal, allowing you to experiment with mixing and matching more! It’s also allowed me to discover brands that I may have never come across before.

 

I do my bit, I give all my fast fashion to charity shops. 

 

This is sticky one. Many items going to charity shops are very poor quality and end up never being recycled or reused, just dumped. My motto is if it’s not in good enough nick for someone else, why dump it in a charity shop where they are inundated? Take care and be cautious of what will actually makes it’s way to a second home. Charity shops are in place to help others, don’t make their job even more difficult.

 

If we buy everything locally, we can change the fashion industry

Remember time honoured crafts and people of expertise in certain parts of the world. Making everything domestic won’t necessarily mean better quality, it just means garment factories can be monitored closely. Furthermore the garment industry is the the biggest employer in many regions. It’s not about taking away their jobs to fix the problems, it’s about asking for better conditions for garment workers everywhere. 

 

You can change the fashion industry all by yourself

Sadly, no you can’t. Not alone and not just with your purchases. Yes, on a small level by buying less and buying better, it’s one less consumer making a change. But the fashion industry is gigantic and if we want to see real change it comes down to Governments and the policies they have for garment workers and the environment. Nag your local politician today! 

 

 

What other myths do you find with ethical and sustainable fashion? 

 

 

Ali Sheridan and the #stiallchallenge

At 31, Ali Sheridan has studied and worked in different areas of sustainability across a range of industries over the last 10 years both in Ireland and abroad. She’s currently on maternity leave from her role as Sustainability Development Manager and has been focusing on her sustainability focused blog, PurposeHub. “I’ve seen how awareness and interest in conscious consumption and sustainability has rapidly increased so I created PurposeHub to showcase all the great things that are happening in sustainability in Ireland and beyond – and there are A LOT!

She’s a self confessed,recovering fast fashion addict

“During my college years I worked in retail and became a little bit obsessed with clothes and fashion. I gave very little attention to the stories behind my clothes, I was much more focused on value and trends. Through my work I became more aware of the negative impacts of fast fashion and gradually began to move away from buying all my clothes on the high street. A big nudge for me was watching The True Cost – it’s not an easy film to watch but one I think everyone should see”.

 

“I have started to shift my focus from quantity to quality and nowadays I try to shop with more purpose. I do a lot more research of brands before I buy from them and try to buy pieces I can wear over and over and that I can layer through the seasons. I also buy preloved from eBay and charity shops”.

 

She’s a lover of sustainable brands 

“Luckily there is so much more choice these days when it comes to sustainable brands. Some of my favourites are People Tree, Everlane, Thought and Reformation. There are also some brilliant Irish sustainable brands that I love including Mamukko, Grown and We Are Islanders. I still buy some clothes from the high street but try to get items that I will wear over and over. A few brands have also launched sustainable collections, like the H&M Conscious Collection or Zara Life collection. While these don’t fully address the issue of fast fashion, I think it’s positive to see brands move in the right direction”.

We asked Ali to come along to the photoshoot in her favourite pieces that she’s been using for the #stiallchallenge

 

“This outfit pretty much sums up my approach to style at the moment. It’s a mix of sustainable labels and high street, colours and patterns, and structure and comfort. The top is from Topshop and is one of the few maternity bits I bought. In my experience, stylish,
sustainable maternity clothes are not easy to find but I really liked the cut and pattern of this top and have got lots of wear out of it. The jacket is from Thought and made from hemp. I think everyone thinks hemp is really bland and boring (and sometimes it can be!) but I love this jacket. It’s a beautiful colour, light and a great way to add a bit of structure to an outfit. The trousers are from YAS and have been a wardrobe staple for me for about 2 years now. Because they’re high waisted, they are great for work and going out and can be paired really easily with lots of different clothes”

Ali’s shoes are made from Pineapples!

The shoes are a little bit quirky. They are from PoZu, a company creating beautiful shoes from sustainable materials. These ones are made from a material called Pinatex, which is a leather- substitute material made from pineapple leaf fibres. I love the gold tip and they are so comfortable and well able to survive the Irish weather!

 

30 days and 30 items for the #stiallchallenge, how was it for Ali..

“The challenge has been a little bit of a rollercoaster. In the beginning, it was easy enough as 30 items seemed like a lot of choice. However, as the days went on, the challenge got harder as I tried to decide what to wear while taking into account the Irish weather, what I was doing that day and making sure clothes were out of the wash on time! As the end of the challenge nears, it has become refreshingly simple to pull together outfits from a limited selection of clothes – perfect when you have a new-born at home! However, some days I do struggle with the limited choice.”

 

 

“For someone who has been trying to move towards a more sustainable wardrobe I still have way too much stuff – and a lot of patterned tops! However, the challenge has pushed me to be more creative with my outfits and made me realise the different ways I can wear and pair up the clothes I already own. I’ve also recognised that not all my favourite pieces work together as well as they could and that I could work better at trying to create versatile outfits rather than buying one off pieces that I can rarely wear.

 

Ali plans on a wardrobe re-assessment 

“Yes definitely. Firstly, I need to do a deep dive on my wardrobe to discover what I already own and different ways to wear them. I’m also going to look at having some existing clothes altered to make them fit better or change them into new pieces and have signed up to do a course in Grafton Academy to learn some alteration skills which is something I never learnt in school. For more formal events like weddings I’m going to explore renting clothes. Luckily there are a lot more rent options coming to the Irish market like Sustainsister and Nu. Overall, I’m going to try focus on building up a wardrobe of key pieces and shop for quality, not
quantity, and support sustainable brands as much as possible”.

 

 

Photography: David Gannon

With special thanks to The Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin

 

Sarina Bellissimo and the #stiallchallenge

She’s the Australian broadcaster for Spin 1038’s “Plan B on Saturday’s who now calls Ireland home. When she’s not reviewing movies for Ireland AM or chatting all things topical on TV3’s Elaine Show, she’s writing for her blog “The Bellissimo Files”. On top of all that she’s a mum to two and a ‘try hard runner’. So how does Sarina Bellissimo find the time juggle all this and the #stiallchallenge..

Sarina likes to shop with purpose

“Most of my work is based in town so I am constantly walking by the high street shops. If something in the window grabs my attention, or I have some time to spare, I will go in and have a look around. I also like to buy clothes when I am travelling. I go into stores that we don’t have in Dublin. It’s great to have something in your wardrobe that you know isn’t in everyone else’s too!
The only times I go out with the specific intention to shop is if I have a special occasion coming up or I realize that my wardrobe is missing an essential item”.

She loves a bargain 

“I have to learn, though, that just because there’s a massive saving, it doesn’t mean that it’s a great investment. I am getting better at this but sometimes still make the mistake of being persuaded by the saving rather than the love for the item!”.

 

She used to shop every week 

“I used to think that more was more and used to be out shopping every week to add to my wardrobe. The thing is, because a lot of the items I bought were on trend, it would constantly feel like there was nothing in my wardrobe – even though it was heaving! I now buy what I like (with a couple of on trend pieces) and can wear for many years to come”.

Shopping locally and supporting small businesses is important to Sarina 

 

“My favourite local store in Dublin is Bow and Pearl in the Swan Centre (Rathmines). I have bought many pieces from there that I’ve worn over many seasons. The bonus is that not every second person will have the items. If I can’t find what I need there, I usually find items on the high street – mainly Zara. I would love to buy from other small business but after 11 years here, I still don’t know
where to find these stores (I admit it’s laziness on my part – I need to get out of my comfort zone)”.

 

Online shopping isn’t for her 

“I wish I could shop online but my body shape means that I have to try everything on before I buy, so unless it’s presents for someone else, it’s not for me”.

We asked Sarina to come along to the photoshoot in her favourite pieces that she’s been using for the #stiallchallenge

“My look is all from the high street and I wear this often because it feels comfortable but I also feel good in it. My cardigan is from Penneys 2 years ago. I’m not really into wearing black. I know they say it’s a colour that suits everyone but I don’t feel it suits me – it washes me out. I love to be in colour.  The top I bought from a high street store Cotton On in Singapore, 3 months ago. I don’t usually buy baggy tops because they make me look bigger, but this makes me feel comfortable and I love the splash of red. The jeans are New Look and the sandals are from Mel in TJ Maxx, Las Vegas, 2 years ago. Remember how I said that I love a bargain? Well when I saw these I fell in love straight away, $15! many of the film stars I’ve interviewed, including Zac Efron, have complimented them!”.

30 days and 30 items for the #stiallchallenge, how was it for Sarina

 

“This challenge came at the right time. When I got back from my trip home to Australia in April, I was going through a bit of a cleanse and had cleaned out a lot of my wardrobe with most of it being donated to charity shops. What this challenge has taught me is that I have both more than I think and also less than I think I have. I am good for bottoms (plenty of skirts and trousers) but need a few more tops and a couple of good flat shoes to get me through the winter. Also, my wallet is fuller than usual. This has been a great way to save some cash and have a positive impact on the environment”.

 

‘It has cemented my view of we don’t need as many clothes as we think we do and it really is all about the investment buying. I would rather spend a bit more on something, knowing that I will have it in my wardrobe and get lots of use for years to come, than spend less and be buying more – and having a negative impact on the environment.”

 

The final say 

“I will be more mindful of what I buy. Asking myself, do I really need this and how much do I really love it? This has been a great challenge and everyone should give it a go. It’s much easier than you think it is and you will never look at your wardrobe in the same way again.”

 

 

Photography: David Gannon

With special thanks to The Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin