Over the past 12 months I have purchased two items of clothing: a fabulous Whistles blazer for £ 220 and a pair of black leather boots from Massimo Dutti for £ 125 that ended my search for the holy grail boot – stylish, practical and comfortable.
The majority of my job as Style Editor of the Daily Mail is to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. Seasonal colors; skirt shapes; handbag styles; a dizzying range of headlines and photos that could all imply the same: & # 39; No matter how large and varied your wardrobe is, you probably don't have enough clothes. & # 39;
In the meantime, I buy almost nothing. It's a business joke that I wear the same clothes with fast rotation and I never go shopping. It is as if I am an authoritarian journalist without a driver's license, a political journalist who does not vote. Perhaps hypocritical is the word I am looking for?
The Style Editor of Daily Mail, Dinah Van Tulleken (photo), explained why she doesn't buy clothes she wouldn't wear 50 times
Is it possible to be an ethical fashion editor? I believe so. There is a way to write about fashion and be stylish without destroying this planet or breaking the bank.
It's not about not shopping. It's about being a smarter shopper. Consider the fashion page & # 39; s as shop windows, a way to decide what you want before going to the High Street.
It's a bit like taking a strict shopping list to the supermarket when you are on a diet – a way to ensure that you only buy what you really need or want, without accidentally getting into the cookie alley.
And do not confuse that you are trendy and fashionable by being stylish. From now on, if you read fashion advice, it is not the intention to adjust your outfit to the moment. It is to use those moments to help you in the direction of a personal style.
My switch to buying less happened quite unconsciously. It is not a protest, I did not prohibit myself from shopping and it was not a difficult time.
It is also not about saving money, although that is a great advantage. (Trying out the cost-per-wear of my wardrobe was an eye opener: my £ 99 cashmere M & S sweater, pictured right, now only costs 27p each time.)
In the past two decades of working in fashion, buying began to feel easier, especially in the past few years. Shopping when I didn't really feel embarrassed, embarrassed, an expression of unnecessary greed.
People who work in food factories usually do not eat the food they make. Not because it's toxic, but because they see the shortcuts, the lack of quality.
Dinah (photo) says that her 81-year-old mother comes from a generation of people who would wear the same item for years and wore her wedding dress for more than 20 years at parties
I work in the fashion factory. I have seen behind the curtain: there are many things of low quality that I know will not last and will just make me poor and unhappy. But more than that, I see the scale of production and have become increasingly aware of the costs for our planet.
Fashion is a beautiful industry, but an ugly undertaking. The fashion industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all international flights and sea shipping combined.
The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee believes that rapid intervention is necessary. If current consumption continues, & # 39; (clothing) will account for more than a quarter of our total impact on climate change in 2050, & # 39; says it.
But it hasn't always been that way.
My mother is 81 and her generation can wear a piece of clothing for years. Clothing was not updated – it was replaced if necessary, often after many repairs. A woman can own one or two special occasion clothing that would last for years, not decades, perhaps a lifetime.
Mama is married in a navy Biba dress and I remember she still wore it at parties more than 20 years later.
Clothing is now literally disposable. We went from replacements once every decade to annual and seasonal updates. Now there are no more seasons, but a constant turnover of micro trends. Even if you don't find yourself trendy, we all buy twice as much clothing as ten years ago.
… And I'm not the only fashion editor that does it
The waste is staggering. A western family throws out an average of 30 kg of clothing per year – the equivalent of about six large washes.
This clothing is not recycled or donated, they are simply thrown in the landfill. Since three-quarters of all clothing is made from synthetic plastic fibers such as nylon and polyester, they will take more than 200 years to fall apart. Those are a lot of cheap dresses for the archaeologists of the future to discover.
We British are particularly bad: British buyers buy much more new clothing than any other country in Europe, although we are certainly not better dressed.
So I have a rule. Unless I can carry an item at least 50 times, I will not buy it. That is once a week for a year and I usually carry my things much more than this. It immediately excludes a whole lot of shopping. I don't want to give my money to some of the richest people in the world for environmentally friendly, disposable clothes that are dated before I get them home.
This means that quality is my most important criterion for a purchase. What I wear will be washed several times. I was never someone who washed an item after every wear, but now that I have a two-year-old daughter, it has become essential. I shouldn't really get to work, covered in porridge fingerprints and glossy snores (even if I do that often).
My environmental awakening was gradual. We are all starting to give more to our planet as the effects of climate change begin to feel closer to home.
Dinah (photo) emptied her wardrobe while on maternity leave and has since composed a capsule of High Street and designer brands
I had my daughter during the record-breaking summer of 2017. While London was cooking, I started to realize the impact of a child, while being forced to think about her future.
The amount we waste was hammered out for me. Similarly, we have become accustomed to buying a tat at Christmas without thinking, so the arrival of a new baby brings a house full of things – clothes, toys, everything for the shortest time.
And when that child's birthday is even more. Clothes she will never wear. Toys with which she never plays. Parties bring as much guilt as joy with their piles of brand new plastic toys in their boxes packed with cellophane. And there I went back to work as a fashion editor, this job where much of what I do encourages people to buy more.
On maternity leave I have emptied my wardrobe of things that I should or should not wear, only the things that I really wear. The badly fitting dresses, statement skirts, colorful tops and crazy jeans went out – a car boot full went to our local hospice store. The classic pants, comfortable denim, cotton shirts and T-shirts and cashmere sweaters remained. And that was it.
This made dressing in the morning, with blue eyes with a toddler on my leg, much easier. Statistics say that on a regular basis people only wear 20 percent of their wardrobe and that certainly applies to me.
I have never been a productive shopper. It is not something that I like. But working in fashion meant that over the years, with exclusive previews, press discounts and gifts, I had bought an extensive wardrobe.
Now I have a capsule that consists of ten pairs of jeans in different styles and colors; five pairs of tailor-made trousers, straight and wide legs; a selection of classic shirts without unnecessary details; black, white and gray cotton T-shirts and a pair of dresses that can be worn on special occasions if required. It is a mix of High Street and designer.
Dinah (photo) states that large companies can be forced into practice better if consumers stop buying
If you carefully build a wardrobe, and you are lucky that you can occasionally invest in high-quality pieces, it will cost you – and the planet – much less.
Natural fibers are a good place to start. They age well, they can cope with the daily abuse that life throws at them and repeated washing, and, more importantly, they do not promote bacterial growth.
Cotton and wool never smell the same way as polyester and nylon. When I'm done with them, they can be recycled and if they are eventually thrown away, they will be biodegradable and not poison the oceans.
Everyone can find a personal style that fits their lives, using natural fibers and timeless fabrics and prints. It can be changed, it can grow, it can be recycled.
Shop smart. Watch where you shop. Major brands such as Nike, H & M, Burberry and Gap have all signed up for the Make Fashion Circular initiative, which started in 2017 and aims to improve the fashion industry's reputation for sustainability and reduce waste worldwide .
But we must all be the incentive for many of the big companies to change. Consumers can enforce better practices – if we stop buying so much, retailers will also stop producing properly.
Change can be very slow – as always when there is so much money at stake – but the choices we make have immense power.
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