Friday 3 February 2023

Clothes I Got in 2022 as a Slow Fashion Campaigner

Last year, after being inspired by fellow slow fashion blogger Farihah (@easypeasysustainability), I decided to keep a log of my clothing consumption for the entire year. It was overall a successful project and was useful to look at my clothing consumption and whether I really practice what I preach. I started off really well, making sure to write down details of each item straight after I got them, but a few items I forgot to log and only remembered at the end of the year when I was doing a review. I hope I've not forgotten anything else! But hey - nobody’s perfect. 

 

In this post I’m going to go through the garments and accessories I obtained this year. I have included any garment I received this year – they could be bought new or secondhand, given to me as a gift, for work/volunteering, or as hand-me-downs, or swapped. I’ll go through more specific stats on them at the end of the post, but generally most of the clothes I got this year were secondhand, and I also had a chunk of garment made for me by family members (big up both of my aunties for never letting me be without adequate knitwear!). 



1. Mustard Turtleneck Top

 

The first two items on this list were given to me by my flatmate. She had a few things spare that she didn’t wear anymore, so first asked our other flatmate and I to look through and see if there was anything else we wanted. I picked this out and I wear it a lot. I love a bit of yellowand bright colours, and it fits in really well with the wardrobe I already had. I wear this with jeans and skirts, and it also works really well as an extra layer underneath other tops, dresses and jumpers. 

 

Price: £0

 

2. Woolen Cardigan

 

The second garment given to me by my flatmate in 2022. This cardi fits well under shorter jackets, adds a cosy extra layer to winter outfits, and works well by itself in the spring! Its colour also means it goes with pretty much everything.

 

Price: £0

 

3.  Floral Dress

 

After I finished a few university assignments in February last year, I went on a little solo trip to Edinburgh to celebrate and relax. I had a great time visiting Edinburgh’s various vegan eateries, touring its bookshops, and walking up Arthur’s Seat. I also stumbled on an amazing place called Zero Waste Hub or SHRUB Coop. They are incredible. There is a pay as you feel cafĂ©, loads of secondhand goodies including clothes, books, and all sorts. They are fabulous and would recommend checking them out! While I was there, I picked out this dress and absolutely fell in love it. I have worn it a lot, on a mixture of occasions. It can be dressed up, or dressed down, and is easily layered (including with the mustard top I mentioned above!) to make it suitable for all weathers. 

 

Price: £5



4. Jeans

 

My old black jeans from M&S that I’d had for years finally gave out on me in 2021. The holes around the crotch had just got too big to repair and had frankly got inappropriate as well as quite cold. In March some friends came to visit for a long weekend, and we ended up in Retro, a vintage clothing shop hidden away in Newcastle city centre. A few days after they left I returned to Retro on the hunt for some new jeans. I tried on many pairs, and finally tried on these and they felt great. (They also make my bum look great if I do say so myself and it is a big win for my ego!). If you have met me in real life, you have likely seen me wearing these jeans. I have almost definitely passed the landmark 50 wears already. The people in Retro are lovely, I would highly recommend having a wander in and a chat to whoever’s on the counter. 

 

Price: £15

 

5. White Lace Top

 

In April, Newcastle University Feminist Society ran a day trip to the coast! We went to Tynemouth for a BBQ at the beach. Before we headed to the beach, we stopped off at the market in the metro station. We looked at secondhand books, ate vegan doughnuts, and this top caught my eye. I was stressing about the ethics and sustainability of top, and got chatting with the seller. She told me the clothes she was selling were deadstock from Debenhams after it had shut down a few months beforehand. I was happy that although it most likely wasn’t ethically produced, I could prevent a top I absolutely loved from going to landfill. I didn’t have much cash on me, and she didn’t take card, but she was happy for me to pay whatever I had on me. That ended up being only £2.80! 

 

Since then I’ve come to call this my ‘bisexual pirate top’ and absolutely adore it. I only wear it on days that I’m not working (pubs and long white lace sleeves would not be a good combination). I’ve worn it on more snazzy occasions but also like wearing it casually. It makes me feel fancy if I wear it casually and honestly we should be chasing that feeling more. 

 

Price: £2.80



6. GNDR Baseball Cap

 

In June I went to Green New Deal Rising’s meet-up in Coventry. It was the second mass meeting the group has run and it was great to see my climate pals from all across the country. At the meet-up were able to collect campaign materials like flyers, stickers, as well as t-shirts (if we didn’t already have them) and hats. I already have a GNDR t-shirt from my first action with them back in August 2021, but liked the idea of having a baseball hat to wear in the sun! I wore it a lot both while out campaigning and generally in the sun in summer. I don’t really have many summer hats, and this was particularly useful this year as I had my first summer on anti-depressants – us SSRI pals need to take care of ourselves particularly in sunny and hot weather. 

 

Price: £5



7. Todos Somos NEST Top

 

I attended a university awards event with North East Soldiarity and Teaching (otherwise known as N.E.S.T), a student-run solidarity and support organisation for refugees and asylum seekers in Newcastle and the North East. We all wore the same tops and kept them to wear at N.E.S.T sessions too (like English language lessons, circus club, etc.). They were given to us new, and as they were needed quickly and on a tight budget (as tends to be the case with small voluntary/third sector organisations), I’m unsure of the ethics of their production. This top is super comfy and I have also worn it as a pajama top many times since! It’s all about reuse. 

 

Price: £0


 

8. Guinness Top

 

As a bartender, your place of work sometimes gets sent free things (read: merchandise/advertising) by drinks brands. We had a few t-shirts sent from Guinness and I took one. I don’t know about the origins of this top, but it is comfy and easy to move around in. I only really wear it when I’m working, but I guess that’s its purpose. It’s useful to have a top that’s designated for work, just as I have some garments that I specifically don’t wear on days I’m working. 

 

Price: £0

 

9. Red Scarf

 

In July I went to Northern Fashion Week in Manchester and took the opportunity to stay with my uncle and auntie and to spend some time with them. Not long after I arrived, my auntie handed me a gorgeous red scarf she had knitted for me. I had to wait a few months to wear it, but it has been so great to wear in the winter. It’s a lovely colour and is so cosy!

 

Price: £0 (gift)


 

10. Pink floaty top


At the end of September/beginning of October, I went into Flea Circus (a secondhand/ethical shop in Newcastle selling all sorts of goodies from plants and jewelry to books and furniture) to get a birthday present and card for my flatmate. I saw this top and fell in love with it. Stocked from a local seller, the top is vintage and had been altered slightly to be cropped. The material is also gorgeous. I did my usual method of leaving it for a little while and if I still thought about/wanted it after some time, I’d go back and buy it. I went back to Flea Circus the next day and bought. It makes me feel quite fancy and the floatiness (yes I made up that word) of the material gives me so much joy.  I got a compliment from a customer while wearing it at work almost straight away and felt very pleased with myself. 

 

Price: £13

 


11. Pink Patterned Coat

 

A few weeks later, I went back into Flea Circus looking for a birthday card for my gramps (there’s a theme here), and got totally side tracked by this gorgeous gorgeous coat. I tried it on and spent ages pondering whether or not to buy it, and eventually decided to leave it and wait at least a day (while keeping my fingers permanently crossed that no one else bought it in the meantime!). I thought about it for the rest of the day and the next, so decided to go back and buy it. This would be my clothing investment for the year. 

 

I have since worn it a lot. It goes so well over so many outfits, and it actually has decent pockets! I’d been looking for a longer coat for a little while as I want to be able to wear a coat over my long cardigan, and this one fits perfectly! 

 

Price: £60



12. White Scarf

 

In September, my uncle and auntie came to visit me for a day while they were on holiday in Northumberland. Almost as soon as I saw them I was given a new scarf. This one is somehow even bigger and softer than the other one. It’s like having a blanket on me at all times. I have been to sleep wearing it a few times I will not lie. 

 

Price: £0 (gift)


13. Recycled Sari Scrunchie

 

I either have a scrunchie forever or I lose it very quickly. I’d just lost my favourite scrunchie, and decided I needed a new one. When I was in Oxfam looking for some new socks and a bar of soap, I saw a row of scrunchies made out of gorgeous fabrics. As I was in need of a new scrunchie, I bought an orange one and have been wearing it a lot since! It is made by a company that recycles old unused saris into new garments and accessories. The fabric is so soft and comfortable in my hair. I think these are great and would also make great gifts to femme pals. 

 

Price: £2.99

 

14. Socks 

 

Many of my socks are thinning or having holes in. It happens sometimes and can’t be avoided. I need to figure out a way of reusing old socks or repairing them, but right now I don’t have that skillset, so I desperately need new socks. On the same trip to Oxfam where I got the above scrunchie, I bought a couple of packs of socks. They are very soft, quite thick, and from a brief scan, the company seemed to be ethical. I will likely needsome more at some point, so if you have any recommendations for ethical sock brands, please let me know!

 

Price: £4.99

 

15. Bag

 

For Christmas, my auntie and uncle gave me an incredible brown over-the-shoulder bag. It’s gorgeous and I spent much of Christmas Day with it around my neck. It fits my laptop and has plenty of room for books and snacks (my priorities in life). It’s so practical, sturdy, and suits my style, I love it! I’ve used it most days since receiving it! It is ethically made by Aura Que, who produce accessories and bags in collaboration with workers in Nepal. 

 

Price: £0 (gift)

 

16. Multi-coloured croqueted hat


My other auntie is great at crocheting. Last year she crocheted me a scarf and several headbands. When her, my cousin and my uncle came around on Boxing Day, they brought loads of crocheted hats for us to choose from. It chose this amazing multi-coloured bobble hat. It’s incredible and it looks pretty complicated to make (I have no idea if it actually is or not). 


Price: £0 (gift)

 

17. White croqueted hat

 

I ended up with another hat on Boxing Day. It was originally a plan hat that fit snuggly to my head. However, when I put it on we decided it needed a flower embellishment and my auntie crocheted me one then and there. It makes me feel quite like Elle Woods when I wear this one!

 

Price: £0 (gift)


-----

 

Overall, I spent £108.88 on clothes and textile accessories in 2022.

 

Out of the clothes I gained, 41.2% of these were secondhand, 23.5% were homemade (big up my aunties), and 35.3% were new. 

 

I bought 47% of them and was given 53% of them. 

 

Out of the garments I received or bought that were new, 66.67% were ethically made (I haven’t included the homemade items in this).

 

2022 was the first year I actually monitored my clothing consumption, and I think I’ll keep doing this in years to come. It’s useful for me to know exactly what clothes I’m gaining and why. It helps me to both improve my own attitudes towards clothes and reassure myself that I’m only buying what I love or getting garments from sources I trust where possible. I think it says a lot that as a fairly privileged gal (read: middle class, slim, cis woman living in a city in the Global North) I was not perfect in my consumption. Not all the items I got this year were ethically made. But you know what this means?! That we demand system change at the same time as trying to change our individual attitudes and behaviours around clothing. 




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