Over the last two years my passion for sustainable style has lead me to host a number of ‘Sustainable Style Swap’ events in York and to date this has enabled over a thousand items of clothing to be saved from potential landfill and given a fresh lease of life in a new home.

The aim of the events is to create a friendly and positive opportunity for guests to bring along their unwanted pre loved quality clothing. While enjoying fizz & nibbles they are able shop the rails to take home ‘new” items to add to their wardrobes without spending any money or trailing round the shops – whats not to love?!

During the events we like to take the opportunity to highlight the detrimental impact that the fashion industry (in particular fast fashion) is having on the environment. We encourage guests to try to become more mindful of where their clothes are coming from and who is behind manufacturing them in order to make better thought out purchases going forward.

As my job as a personal stylist involves shopping for new, I do take the responsibility to encourage my clients to understand what suits them in order to make them to look and feel like their best selves while also buying only what they actually need very seriously, it really is an in depth process. There is so much more to it than shopping aimlessly and spending money for the sake of it which can lead to wasteful purchasing. The aim is to create a wardrobe of clothing that is multifunctional and works together, therefore over time my services will be required less and less. Hopefully this will result in the desire to continuously buy new being reduced as the clothes purchased are better quality and create the back bone of their unique signature style. My aim is to always avoid clothing sitting at the back of wardrobes never being worn or thrown away after only a few wears.

Socially Distant Style Swapping

I often keep hold of odd items taken away from wardrobe declutters that I think will go down well at events. Due to lockdown the latest event was postponed and with the charity shops unfortunately closed I was left with a pile of clothing not going anywhere, which gave me the idea to start a “Socially Distant Style Swap’ from my doorstep .

I wanted to do something fun, spread some stylish joy and find a way to support my local community to help to raise money for the phenomenal work that The Supper Collective were doing. The charity are a group of amazing local independent cafes & restaurants cooking and delivering meals to the venerable – such as elderly and homeless, those self isolating at home and NHS staff working tirelessly to keep us safe and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

The concept was simple, I posted images of the clothes that I had available on my Instagram stories, the first person to claim an item and make a donation to the Supper Collective could then arrange to collect their new piece from a safe space outside of my house to ensure a no contact exchange. They would then leave their “swap” in the safe place for me to repost for the next person to claim.

Not only was this something fun to keep me busy during lockdown it also felt positive to be able to support my local community and keep the conversations around sustainable style going.

I’m so looking forward to being able to resume the face to face Sustainable Style Swap events but who knows when this will be safe to do, so in the meantime socially distant swapping is the way to go! Stay tuned for my next drop where I will be supporting a new charity doing great work.

Slow Fashion Season 2020

As someone who has always enjoyed incorporating a combination of second hand and high street clothing into my wardrobe as I feel that this creates a more eclectic style, I always ensure that I consider every purchase (even charity shop finds!) in order to make sure I am not going to waste my money. After having Laina my wardrobe needed reassessing and re building to suit my new lifestyle & body shape, I know now that I really do not need any more clothes for quite some time. Therefore I am taking part in Slow Fashion Season again this year as I would like to offer my support in reducing unnecessary fast paced fashion consumerism, raising awareness of fashion waste & how most of the work in the fashion industry is done by women of colour and children, under harsh and unsafe conditions. Workers receive only 0.5% – 4% of the final retail cost of a garment as salary. We should end unfair and forced labour and the structural racism embedded in these practices and encourage high street brands to rethink their processes to ensure their workers are treated with more compassion.

I also fancy the challenge but this is not to say that I won’t buy from the high street again, I believe it’s all about having a healthy balance but for the next three months I’m going to give it a good go!

Slow Fashion Season is a campaign from the world’s first official crowdacting platform who announced the launch of Slow Fashion Season – Edition 2020. For the second consecutive year, CollAction urges people around the world to commit themselves to making conscious fashion choices between 21st of June until 21st of September. The aim is to encourage participants to avoid buying fast fashion but instead swap, buy second hand & vintage and support small and sustainable independent businesses who may be suffering financially due to the impact from Covid-19. I think this years addition to supporting small businesses selling new but conscious clothing adds a more realistic & achievable approach to the concept and as my work revolves around recommending brands and helping clients to shop, this is a positive move from my perspective as I feel more people will be interested in getting involved and discovering new ways of shopping rather than relying purely on fast fashion brands.

Over the next three months I will be discovering & sharing as many small businesses and more conscious brands with you to help raise their profiles.

Ron van den Akker, co-founder and CEO of CollAction says: 

‘’We want to make people aware that there are other solutions – that another lifestyle, or way of consuming is possible. And that doing the right thing doesn’t have to be boring or painful – it can be fun and creative, especially when supported by our growing community of CollActivists. We can wait for governments, the industry, or other people to act. Or we can set an example with our actions, together.” 

Last year 14,487 people across the globe joined. This year we want to grow our community to 25.000  Are you able to take the pledge? Sign up here: www.slowfashionseason.org.

Stay safe, keep swapping and shop mindfully and sustainably where you can.

Love Laura xx