How To Fall Back In Love With Your Clothes: It Will Save Money And, Ultimately, The Planet

Orsola de Castro on the helpful habits that will not just extend your wardrobe, but benefit your wallet and the future of our world.

Loved Clothes Last

by Natalie Hammond |

We cut out meat, plant kitchen gardens and avoid single-use plastic. But when it comes to our clothes, old habits die hard. How is it that we can go vegan for January, but we dump instead of mend, buy instead of borrow? One woman who has always cherished her clothes is Orsola de Castro, co-founder of Fashion Revolution and author of Loved Clothes Last, a book which came out last year exploring why we need to become emotionally reattached to our clothes, thinking of each garment as a long-term commitment as opposed to a short-term fling.

Loved Clothes Last isn’t a 200-page guilt-trip. Instead, it advocates for a shift in mindset. Reading it, you can’t help but reach that penny-drop moment, realising that buying and chucking can only cause more harm to the environment and the exploitation of garment workers. ‘This is the opposite of going on a diet,’ de Castro told Grazia. ‘This is about adopting a habit that is really joyous so that other people will want to do the same as you.’

Don't Confuse Expensive With Long-Lasting

It’s easy to assume that a higher price tag means better quality and therefore longevity, but both luxury and high-street brands, to varying degrees, are a long way from being 100% transparent. ‘It is your own morals and relationship with a piece of clothing that ultimately dictates what is of value,’ says de Castro.

Do Customise Your Clothes

De Castro calls customising ‘an antidote to wearing the same clothes as everyone else’. As the book says: ‘Almost everything we buy right now is made in a hegemony of sameness, so customising and personalising things to be different is a small but powerful act of sabotage.’

Don't Throw Away Things Mindlessly

A polyester dress will take a minimum of 200 years to biodegrade in landfill; a pair of nylon tights, 40 years. ‘When you become aware that there is no “away”, you will start to analyse the actual journey of these clothes when they’re no longer in your wardrobe. And that journey is long and has a massive social and environmental impact.’ We also shouldn’t be outsourcing the problem to charity shops who, inundated with second- hand clothes, end up exporting them abroad, where they often end up in landfill after wreaking havoc on local textile industries. ‘Donating means giving a gift, it doesn’t mean dumping something you hate.’

Don't Overwash

The more we wash our clothes, the more chemicals and microfibres we’re putting into the water system. ‘When we think of our polluted waterways, we assume that the culprits are factories or agriculture, but it is also us, every single day, with every single wash, consistently, relentlessly releasing toxicants into the system.’ Instead, steam, spot-clean, brush and even freeze (denim) to refresh your clothes between wears.

Do Understand The Difference Between Circularity And Longevity

Both are essential to living more sustainably, but it’s also important to appreciate how they differ. As de Castro writes: ‘Circular means full-circle, from fibre back to fibre, and the capability of repeating this process ad infinitum. Wearing vintage, buying second-hand, swapping, renting, upcycling – none of that is circular. That’s longevity, efficiency and care, which is equally important (if not more so) because, as consumers, that’s where we can have a sizeable impact.’

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SHOP: The Best Vintage Sellers And Shops Online

Nina Gabbana Vintage
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The source of Rihanna's blue Dior by John Galliano beaded choker, Nina Gabbana Vintage is run by Marie Laboucarié from her apartment in Paris. She mainly sells '90s and '00s pieces from designers including Dolce and Gabbana, Dior, Gucci, Fendi and more. Well, if it's good enough for Rihanna...

May de Vere Vintage
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If you're looking for a showstopper of an outfit that nobody else will have even seen, May de Vere is your answer. There are glittering sequined pieces, puff sleeve party frocks and wonderfully over-the-top, frothy concoctions with oversized bow details. There are more understated options, too, but it's almost impossible to resist the frills and flourishes on offer. Every piece is a one-off and can be purchased via Instagram.

ASOS Marketplace
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While you might not think of ASOS as the most obvious choice when it comes to buying vintage, there are actually a number of brilliant sellers on the brand's Marketplace. It's one of the best places to look for pre-loved designer pieces, some of which are very affordable. While many of the boutiques are worth checking frequently, look out also for The Rare Edit, a a limited curated collection of rare designer vintage pieces. Follow @asosmarketplace on Instagram to keep tabs on when the next drop will happen.

Darling & Vintage
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Cassie set up Darling & Vintage as a store on Etsy, where she still sells everything from embroidered 1950s jackets to sun dresses and '70s maxis. It's certainly worth following her on Instagram, however, where she announces new items for sale. Given the speed at which most of them tend to sell, it's best to keep a close eye on her posts!

Bonjour Vintage
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A relatively new venture from influencer Rachael Clifton, this is a great Instagram account to follow if you're in the market for stand-out pieces you could wear every day. Think excellent accessories and statement jackets, all of which can be bought via DM.

A Virtual Vintage Market
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Not only will you find live markets that you can follow via Instagram (a very welcome way to spend yet another day in lockdown), you'll also find information on independent sellers around the world, giving you plenty of options. One of the founders has also established Peony Vintage, which allows you to shop pieces directly from the website.

Retold Vintage
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Every piece is handpicked by owner Clare Lewis, who favours modern, directional pieces that are built to last. As well as clothes that work for every day, Retold also offers a personal shopping service for prospective brides.

Rokit Vintage
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A vintage stalwart in London, Rokit is a treasure trove packed with everything from perfect party dresses to knitwear, shoes, belts and bags. If you can't find something you love here, then you're possibly just not looking hard enough. Best of all, there's something for every budget.

Imparfaite Paris
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Imparfaite offers a curated selection of pre-loved clothes and accessories from France's most beloved vintage shops. From Gucci bags to Levi's shorts, this is certainly the place to find pieces that will collect compliments and become some of your favourite clothes in your wardrobe.

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