High Fives: 5 handy tips for moving clothing on.

High Fives: 5 handy tips for moving clothing on.

Sitting around feeling frustrated as you contemplate what to do with your unwanteds after you’ve had a seasonal clearing of your wardrobe? When seasons change that itch to sort and clear out your life to make way for a ‘new you’ style can become insatiable. Welcome to the seasonal high five.

Whether you opt for the clean out or you’ve been struck down by the KonMari bug clearing out your wardrobe is all fun and satisfaction until it’s been two weeks and that bag of unwanted clothes is still glaring at you from the corner of your bedroom, laundry or garage; or it’s rolling around in the back of your car.

Rather than leave it until you can no longer look at it and dump it blindly at your nearest collection point, here are four alternatives that’ll extend your pumped-up feeling.

Swap it. Your unwanted clothing is currency at swaps. The premise is simple – gather up your clothes and head to or organise your own swap event over a champers or G&T; browse the racks of everyone else’s contributions and swap yours for a garment that attracts you. It’s a sustainable way to update your style with pieces you may actually wear. But, if you don’t…swap again.

Organise your own swap event over a champers or G&T!

Go to market. Selling your clothes at a market is a terrific and fun way (even though I say so myself!) to get some dollars in return for your unworn but not so unloved or quite donatable pieces. Hiring a stall at your local market is easier than you’d think, although you’re likely to have to book a few weeks in advance so this isn’t your spontaneous quick-fix move! Depending on where you’re located, expect to pay anything from $40-$80 for a stall, but joining with your friends is a great way to bring costs down as well as collecting a variety of items (sizes, styles and so on) to attract your shoppers. Don’t remain too attached to your pieces and be committed to offer them up at prices to sell so you don’t go home with them.

Consign it. If you’re not into eBay (the photographing and listing efforts may put you off) consider taking your good quality items to a local consignment store. At some, you’ll get 50% of the sale price in the arrangement, but they do all the work once you’ve dropped it in. All you need is for them to accept a minimum of 5 items. Again, it’s not a quick fix and patience is needed, as it can take up to 3 weeks before you see your items on the racks and they’ll display them for up to 7 weeks so if your item doesn’t sell it can be on the shelf (pun intended) for up to 10 weeks yet still come back to you.

The less obvious…parcel it up and donate further afield. From social textile and op shop enterprise projects in outback Australia to passing on your no-longer-fitting bras to domestic violence programs and third-world countries (where the possibility of a female being raped is reduced if she’s wearing a bra as it’s a sign of wealth) your donation can have a big impact on someone else’s life.

The obvious…donate it locally. But this comes with a big BUT. Since the KonMari bug has hit, charity shops have been overwhelmed with it-no-longer-brings-me-joy stuff and are increasingly having to dispose of unusable donations. Op shops always need donations but the items should be well considered. Think to yourself, would I give this to a friend? And, it’s a great please to find new-to-you pieces too.; they’re no longer the stuffy, funny-smell places people thought they were!


Fast Fashion Facts

Fast Fashion Facts

Vivienne Westwood, punk rocker from way back, summarised the future of clothing consumption well when she said buy less, choose well and make it last. It’s not about not shopping. We all love clothes (and shoes, and accessories) and new-to-us pieces. We all crave retail therapy at different times, for different reasons. It’s just a case of being more mindful; more aware; and less fashion trend driven.


The good, bad and ugly of preloved shopping

The good, bad and ugly of preloved shopping

Sort the good from the bad and ugly when buying secondhand and preloved clothes with this handful of fast tips:

1. Pick your time. A change of season is when people usually have a clean out of their wardrobes – there are generally great bargains to be had. You’ll also find some terrific bargains at clothing markets by visiting an hour before everyone starts packing up. Stallholders don’t want to take their clothes home with them! And, on days with inclement weather, or on blistering hot summer days, stallholders don’t want to lug their collections back to their cars so are likely to be more open to negotiation and can offer (like 3 for 2… etc) great deals!

2. Pick your area. On the one hand, out-of-town community markets may have particularly good bargains, whilst at city markets near more affluent suburbs you might just find some amazing designer or ordinarily-too-expensive-to-justify labels going for a song.

3. Think outside the box. Find out what’s happening in your area. Pick up clothes from fetes, garage sales, op shops, consignment shops, car boot sales, vintage shops, clothing markets, and swaps and friends. 

4. Scan. If you get overwhelmed with the quantity of collections and stalls, try scanning. Know what piece is missing from your wardrobe and look for that black fitted T or infinity scarf. Focus on finding particular colours that you know suit you or patterns and fabrics that pop. This way you’ll get to traverse a market more quickly and effectively.

5. Buy it right, buy it once. Having an eye for quality is key to scoring great unique pieces. A classic designer trench, tweed jacket or handbag may be something you can’t afford new, but it will always be in style. Apply the thought… ‘I’m too poor to buy cheap’.

6. Take style risks. If there is a new trend you’ve been eyeing but not sure if it’s you, buying it secondhand is the perfect way to give it a go.

7. Don’t be afraid to haggle. Most stallholders at markets just want to see a little money back from their initial investment; this puts you in the perfect place to have some convivial fun haggling. This form of haggling is usually reserved for markets. Bargain with a smile yields the most successful results, but don’t start too low.

8. Go with an open mind. If you don’t mind the slow wander and the market’s open for a few hours (and you’ve nowhere to be in a hurry) keep your options open and don’t be specific about what you’re hunting for – you’ll likely find gems.

9. Prepare to rummage. If you have the time, have patience. There’s so much fun in rummaging through over-stuffed racks and bargain baskets. Look for fabrics that catch your eye.

10. One in, one out. When you buy something new, pass on a no-longer-loved piece – simple as that.

11. Always try it on. Sizes vary widely between brands and eras, and the label won’t always tell you what you want to know. If it looks like it fits, give it a try.

12. Inspect it. Missing buttons or a small tear can be tidied up. If that’s not for you, though don’t be tempted unless it a must-have piece. There are local seamstresses that will do their magic even if it adds a few dollars to the bargain. It’s likely to be well worth it in the long run.

13. Upcycle it. Seen something amazing that you can’t live without, take it to a local seamstress and they’ll revitalise it to create your unique piece. It’ll most probably still be much cheaper than buying the piece new.

14. Look for vintage. Clothing from the 60s and 70s hold their value and were often well made. You can release your inner wild hippy or stick to classics. They’re great for onselling too once you’ve had your fun!

15. Go online. Facebook buy/sell groups, eBay and Gumtree are fertile ground for secondhand clothing.

16. Get clothes swapping. A group of friends, a bottle of bubbles or two and a bit of a laugh…perfect for a clothes swap. Bring all the clothes you haven’t worn in a while and use this as your currency or collateral to swap for someone else’s unwanteds. Anything left can be donated or sold at a market stall.

Adapted from an article by Penelope Quinn, Lifestyle.


What is Slow Fashion?

What is Slow Fashion?

Slow Fashion isn’t the opposite of fast – it’s a different approach.

Fast fashion is defined as cheap, trendy, disposable clothing influenced by the catwalk and celebrity culture and churned through high street stores at breakneck speed. Fast Fashion feeds a shopper’s obsession with ’I’ve got to have it now’ mentality. It is trend driven and plays on our insecurities of wanting to look good and keep up with our peers.

Once we know and are aware, we are responsible for our action and our inaction. We can do something about it or ignore it. Either way, we remain responsible.
Jean-Paul Sartre

Slow Fashion is the movement of designing, creating and buying clothing for quality and longevity. Slow Fashion encourages slower production, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and zero waste. Slow Fashion isn’t about buying nothing (although running around naked is the most sustainable clothing option!). It’s not anti-consumerism, it’s alternative consumption. It’s about your choice, information, balance and engagement. Buy less each time you shop. Shop less frequently. When you do shop, think green, preloved and vintage. Choosing preloved is a super sustainable option as the clothing already exists so you’re saving the entire negative impact of production.

Every time you shop, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.
Anna Lappe

Ethical fashion is about human and animal rights – working conditions, fair wages, treatment, and no child labour.  Sustainable Fashion (or Eco Fashion) is about environmental impact. Choosing organic, recycled, or repurposed, limiting harmful chemicals/dyes, reducing energy/water usage and waste, and overall choosing low-impact options. It’s your awareness of the impact of clothing on workers, communities and ecosystems.

6 ways to avoid fast-fashion hype and start building your healthier wardrobe:
Set your priorities
Know your brands
Rock your unique style
Have a wardrobe reset plan
Recycle, reuse, rent and swap
Take it easy on the clothes you have


Fast Fashion Facts. Did you know…

Planned obsolescence. Fast fashion companies design clothes to become unfashionable, wear out, lose shape or fall to pieces easily to force shoppers to keep buying new clothes. The fashion industry is designed to make you feel ‘out of trend’ after one week.

Fashion Consumption. 25% of Australian millennials (16-34) keep clothes less than 2 years then discard because they’re ‘bored’ with them or they’re no longer ‘in fashion’.

Shopping Habits. 30% of clothing in a wardrobe hasn’t been worn in the past year.

Resource Usage. One cotton shirt = @3,000 litres of water = what an average person drinks over 3 years. One pair of jeans = 10,000 litres of water.

Pollution. 63% of textile fibres come from petrochemicals.


Should you buy preloved or ethically made?

Should you buy preloved or ethically made?

When you shop secondhand, you’re doing a great thing because you’re diverting clothing from landfill, using up resources that are already available, giving a garment another life and decreasing the demand for fast-fashion. But the thing is, says Kate Hall, of EthicallyKate, secondhand shopping relies on other people to buy fast fashion. She suggests that if you ask yourself when op-shopping ‘what if everyone was living life like this, would it be sustainable?’, the answer is likely to be no.

There’s no doubting the many positives of buying and selling preloved clothes and this is often more practical than buying 100% ethically made clothing (although it may depend on where you live). Apps like Good On You can help you find what you’re looking for in Australia. If you’re struggling with your conscience though, Kate Hall uses the analogy of traffic lights when shopping. Op-shopping is orange fashion, or fashion neutral.Then there’s green fashion which is buying ethical clothing. This is clothing designed and made mindfully with minimal negative impact on people and the planet. If you go this way, you have the power through your buying choices to encourage a greater demand for ethically made garments. Ethical fashion companies also often tend to trade differently to those in fast fashion, meaning the ‘ethicalness’ is not just about the clothes; they may release only one collection per year, instead of one per week; and they might donate a certain percent of profits to charity.

What is red fashion in this analogy? Well, naturally, it’s fast fashion.

So when it comes to keeping your conscience in tact when going for a shop, what do you do? Easy, you get your preloved-shopping fix by shopping orange fashion. Then, add-in whenever you can, and the prices aren’t prohibitive, your ethical green fashion to supplement your basics wardrobe.

Staying in the orange light of fashion is a happy place to be and not unreasonable, and if you choose to do this 100% of the time, it’s great because you’re avoiding the red fashion zone! No matter where your ethics lie, Kate suggests that the next time you want to buy a garment, ask yourself a few things to keep in the slow lane.

  1. Do I need it?
  2. Will I wear it 30 times or more?
  3. Can I buy this at an op-shop or preloved clothing market?
  4. Does my budget allow me to invest in green fashion right now?
  5. What is my traffic light balance, and am I happy with where it is?


Detox Catwalk

Detox Catwalk

What is the Detox Catwalk? It’s a campaign to find out whether clothing brands are doing the right thing. Greenpeace launched the Detox My Fashion campaign in 2011 to ask textile industries to urgently take responsibility for, and make a change-commitment to, their contribution to toxic pollution of water ways and the environment, generally.

Basically, the campaign was aimed at addressing the widespread use of toxic chemicals in the manufacturing of clothing and textile sector. It urged clothing brands and retailers to phase out hazardous materials to achieve zero discharge of toxic chemicals by 2020 aka the Detox 2020 plan.

Many well-known brands use hazardous chemicals in the manufacture of their clothing. This campaign secured global detox commitments from 76 international brands, retailers and suppliers. We can assist by reigning in our addiction to fast fashion and the rate at which we buy it, use it and throw it away and, each in our small way, can lessen our environmental and human impact of fashion.

Take a look at the brands that are Avant Garde i.e. ahead of the curve on detox initiatives and ready to meet the Detox Catwalk 2020 deadline; those brands that are in Evolution Mode – needing to improve their performances but on the path, or not walking the talk or doing more greenwashing than being green and clean; and which brands are Faux Pas Toxic Addicts – not yet accepting responsibility for what they are doing. Back in 2016 when the third and most recent report came out, Nike, Esprit and Victoria’s Secrets failed the toxic-free fashion ranking, whilst adidas, Burberry, Levi’s, Primark, Puma, G-Star and Mango had a way to go. H&M, Benetton and Zara were on track to make a difference by 2020 – let’s see how they fair by next year.

You might be surprised!