The Rediscovery Centre has asked people to share their sustainable style with us. We launched this project during Fashion Revolution week and aim to inspire people to find the value in their clothing that they already own. The majority of clothing in peoples wardrobes is not used and Fashion Revolution estimate that 40% of clothing that we purchase is rarely or never worn.
Arran Murphy, programme manager of Rediscover Fashion, gives us an insight to her style and how she became interested in sustainable fashion.”I am passionate about sustainable fashion. I grew up following my mum around swap shops and finding treasures in bags of hand-me-downs. These days the majority of my clothes are second-hand or ethically sourced. Inspired by my new role at Rediscover Fashion I have gone one step further and decided this year to stop buying clothes entirely. My plan is to make, repair and upcycle to sustain my style requirements.I would encourage people to look at the whole life cycle of the clothes that they are buying and encourage them to buy more ethically – whether it’s from a charity shop, an ethical manufacturer or just good quality clothing that can be repaired, upcycled or passed on, every small choice counts.My sustainable outfit is:Jacket – Vintage, one of my first buys ever, it’s been with me since I was 15. If it was vintage then, it’s even more vintage now!
Blouse – Inherited from my Granny, the antithesis of Fast Fashion – made to last.
Skirt – Vintage, one of my best charity shop finds.
Belt – Handmade by me – I upcycled two mens ties to create an Obi-style belt. Tutorial linked here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBkditkK3k0
Boots – Bought new but re-soled with love.
Laura Niessen, Research and Policy Officer at the Rediscovery Centre, on how she developed her sustainable style.“I used to go shopping as a hobby with my friends most Saturdays. But when I realised the impact of our clothes, I decided to buy only second hand. Now, around 90% of my wardrobe is pre-loved and has had a life before I owned it. In January, I went a bit further, packed half my clothes in a suitcase for charity and decided to keep only what I really like, wear and feel comfortable in. This Capsule Wardrobe makes it a lot easier to get dressed in the mornings!I think the most important thing is to think about what you actually need before buying something. A few timeless pieces that you feel really comfortable and good in are so much nicer than a full closet but ‘nothing to wear’!
My sustainable outfit is:
Jacket – Second hand from a small charity shop in Sweden
Blouse – Second hand from a German peer-to-peer online shop for fashion resale
Skirt – Upcycled by Rediscover Fashion
Boots – Second hand from Adverts, I bought them off a self-declared ‘recovering shoe addict’ that had never worn them
Thank you to Caroline Corrigan, Climate Action Officer in Meath County Council, for sending us her Sustainable Style outfit. Make sure to tag us or send us your outfit to email@example.com if you have a sustainable outfit of your own. This is the story of her clothes:
“I’ve always loved fashion but in recent years I have become more conscious about the environmental impact of fast fashion and the ethics around the manufacture of clothes #whomademyclothes. I try to buy less and wear well! I make an effort to wash as per the instructions and wash at low temperatures and can take on simple repairs to clothes, so they have an extended life. I no longer buy clothes that need dry cleaning, no harsh chemicals and it’s just not worth the bother and or the cost.
One of my favorite, and easiest, ways to update a piece of clothing is to change the buttons, little or no sewing skills required! I’ve also made some of my own clothes and some for my daughter when she was younger and there’s great satisfaction when you actually get to wear it. Some might say I have hoarder tendencies when it comes to clothes but if you love a piece of clothing then there’s no point throwing it away, keep wearing it until you’ve worn it out! Also, I don’t subscribe to the ‘bang on trend’ fashion styles, so I guess I’m both in fashion and out of fashion!
Top: conscious cotton range from H&M, sustainably sourced cotton.
Skirt: I made it myself at a sewing class in the @thecraftyfox in Drogheda, where I learned sewing involved lots of ironing! It’s well worth taking a sewing class like this to learn how to sew correctly and also the craic is great.
Obi belt: 2 upcycled ties refashioned into an Obi belt, thanks to @RediscoveryCentre tutorial, and it only took 10 minutes to make.
Shoes: these are my dancing shoes from many years ago (if only they could talk!) and have been reheeled countless times. They don’t get out as often now but I’ll wear them til they fall to pieces!
Handbag: preloved and was as good as new when I bought it, it’s a regular guest at weddings.
Necklace: cheap and cheerful and I try to buy pieces that have a nature theme.
Thank you to Ciaran McDonnell, Tourism Marketing Officer of Meath County Council, for sending us her Sustainable Style outfit. Here’s what he has to say:
“As a historian I appreciate items with heritage value and this includes my Donegal tweed jacket (Photo: Barry Cronin). I reused this item from my father who purchased it from Marks and Spencer back in the early 1990s. Quality products like tweed last a very long time, reducing our need for fast fashion. It’s a tough rugged fabric, ideal for life in windswept Donegal and they have been weaving tweed there for over 100 years. A signature element of Donegal tweed is the colourful flecks woven through the fabric; these browns, greens, greys etc all remind us of the natural beauty of the Irish landscape, something we should all be doing our bit to protect!”
Thank you to Claire Downey from CRNI for sending in her sustianable outfit as part of our #SustainableStyle series. Here is what Claire has to say about her clothes:
“I’m not a big clothes shopper so I keep my wardrobe small and source what I need second hand. There are so many ways to do this now – from charity shops and clothes swaps (which is where I get most of my clothes), to vintage stores and the many online second hand platforms for more specific items.
My sustainable outfit is:
Blouse – floral Zara blouse, one of my favourite work tops, sourced for free from a Sustainable Fashion Dublin swapshop
Skirt – part of a Mango two piece skirt suit bought second hand online
Earrings & necklace – made by an Irish designer using pieces of old and broken records
Black Tights – Made from 100% recycled materials by Swedish stockings
Shoes – Hush Puppies green kitten heels from a charity shop, worn a lot & recently re-soled.”
Next up in our #SustainableStyle series is Joanne Rourke, Waste Prevention Officer of Dublin City Council. Here’s what Joanne says about her sustainable outfit:
“I love clothes and shoes to the point of obsession! However, I also have lots of guilt going on about fast fashion and over the past few years, I’ve been trying to buy in a more conscientious way and also to just buy what I need. In my defence, I tend to keep clothes for ages – years and sometimes decades. I also love upcycled things of all descriptions and I am very drawn to the history and backstory of an item.
My sustainable outfit shown here consists of:
– A denim dress from the Rediscovery Centre Eco-Fashion label. It’s a fab dress that can be worn anywhere and I’ve worn it loads – to work, on nights out, parent-teacher meetings – everywhere! Here I’m wearing it with a cardigan passed on to me by my friend LeAnn, so it’s secondhand (and yes, I should have ironed it a bit better for this picJ).
– My bag is from Mamukko, a small company in Cork that fashions beautiful bags from reused materials such as the sails of yachts – it’s really unusual and always gets commented on.
– My boots are not sustainable, as such, but they are my very favourite boots and go with literally everything – dresses, jeans, everything! I wear them constantly and have had them reheeled a number of times.”
Thanks to Eimear Greaney from www.upsew.ie for sending on her wonderful #SustainableStyle outfit. If you have one of your own, send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is what she has to say about her clothes and her sustainable style choices:
“In the past number of years I have just bought second hand, made my own, or tried to either make my own using charity shop buys – there can be a lot of un-saleable and reusable garments on the reduced rail in the charity shops!
I have a blog www.upsew.ie which I started to see if I could remake charity shop buys after I saw wool coats reduced to 2 euro in a charity shop some years ago – I was shocked that good quality fabric could potentially be shredded for rags.
My sustainable outfit is:
White blouse – bought at a second hand market – the label is missing – I was very happy to find a blouse with pin tuck detail, as although I sew, I dont like doing pintucks!
Wool Skirt – a plain wool skirt bought in Oxfam, judging by the cut and fabric I figured it was made in the 80s, I took it apart, machine embroidered, and re-sewed. The longest part of the embroidery was deciding on the colours, the quality of the wool is amazing and it still surprises me how many of these types of wool skirts end up in charity shops.
Clogs/Shoes – second hand cogs from ebay – I had been thinking of getting a pair of clogs, so checked ebay to see if any for auction, I was very pleased to get these as they are ugg clogs with sheepskin on the inside so super cosy.”
“It was a blazer that I picked up in an SVP charity shop in Wexford with the intention of redesigning it and I turned it into a cute pinafore. I used the collar to add detail and shape to the waist and I kept the pockets. The straps are lengths from the arms. The white top underneath was bought second hand from NCBI in Gorey and the jeans are from SVP. The top still had it’s original tags on it and it had never been worn.
I shop second hand or seek out sustainable brands if I need something in particular. I love nothing more than finding a gem in a charity shop and I love to play around and restyle finds too. I’ve worked with charity shops to redesign and save clothes that they would other be sent for rag. They can make such wonderful material for projects and it’s a such a shame to think that so many are going to waste.
Shopping second hand is win win all round. For the charity, the planet and for your pocket. I love that it also allows you to get your hands on something different and unique and find your own style.”
Next up is Allyson Lambert. Here’s what she has to say about her outfit and the progression of her sustainable style: “I’ve always had an interest in fashion and I love finding unique pieces to wear. Over the past five years I have become more interested in sustainable fashion and vintage finds. When you realise how much waste and pollution goes into making just one t-shirt it really makes you think twice before buying anything new.
Fashion is a great way to express yourself but it shouldn’t be at the cost of the environment. If you look at a piece of clothing and if you can’t reuse it, recycle it or donate it when you are finished with it, then don’t buy it. It will only end up in landfill.
Being more sustainable in your fashion choices can also be cheaper in the long run. You invest in pieces that last and that wash well. Swap clothing with your friends. Set up a WhatsApp group and you can all post clothing that you want to swap. You get to clear your wardrobe of pieces that you no longer wear and in return you get clothes that are new to you.
In this photo I’m wearing:
Jacket – Rediscover Fashion
Skirt – Rediscover Fashion
Top – Rediscover Fashion
Shoes – A swap shop with friends.”