So I officially this thing started in October. But 6 months down the track what do I know? Here are some tips for making 2012 a perfect year to start to your own ethical wardrobe.
1. Evaluate your wardrobe and cull it. Then cull again. Be fearless. Never worn that dress but hold onto it for sentimental reasons? Recycle Boutique, Secondo, Ziggurat, Hunters & Collectors all take clothes to sell on your behalf in Wellington.
2. Beware of the *majority* of the high street. Yes, most of it is made and China (not that it’s always a bad thing) and no, you can’t find out the factory conditions/living wage etc because no one knows. In fact, most of the time when I ask those sorts of questions the shop keeper looks at me like I am an alien. Fair enough. There are however great deals to be had in 2nd hand/vintage/boutique shops that stock NZ made. ‘Made in Australia’ shops such as CUE are ethical and so are brands such as Icebreaker, so give them a shot too.
3. The web is your friend. The purchase of a fair trade/ethical item is a click of the button away. Google ‘fair trade’ and ‘organic clothing’ and a wide variety of options will come up. Buy 2nd hand online through Trade Me. Lots of lovely designer clothing/shoes on there for bargain prices. Etsy sells cute vintage or 2nd hand finds. Felt also sell similar hand made items.
4. Support the locals. Visit your local craft market. The Wellington markets on Saturday at Frank Kitts is fantastic and has some great jewellery/shoes/clothes.
5. I shall not buy things I don’t need. I cannot count how many times I used to make impulse buys because it was on sale/I was buying last minute for an event/I’m a girl and I like shopping. Planning your shopping sounds boring but soon it becomes second nature and you realise more and more what your style is and what you’re not likely to wear.
7. Go to a Big Shwop. You’ll be amazed at the variety of styles you can find there. I have had so many comments on the 3 items I swapped at the last Big Shwop.
8. Learn to make do. Sounds like something your granma might have said, but that cash you save could be going towards that trip overseas you dreamed about.
9. Ask questions. Enquire about where your stuff is made – don’t be shy. Even if they don’t know, you might have made them curious to find out more.
10. Make use of tailors. If you want your clothes to fit you perfectly then why not enlist in some help from a local tailor? I guarantee that the stuff that gets made to fit you perfectly will last you far longer and look even more fantastic than that Glassons dress that’s gone out of shape. I am in the process of getting a dress tailor made based on the Uniform Project’s LBD. Watch this space!
11. Accessorize. Yeah I know this is an obvious one, but the locally made necklace I bought from Craft 2.0 has had so many compliments. Having some great accessories is a great way to update your clothes instantly. Scarves, belts, jewellery and badges are easy buys that add an edge.
12. Only buy what you’re in love with. Back away from the glittery shoulder padded jersey if you’re not 110% in love with it.
13. Buy classics. When you do buy something a little bit more expensive make sure you’ll wear it with loads of different things. Tailored jackets/blazers, skirts, t shirts and good quality shoes have all been items I’ve worn over and over.
14. On May 1 go to getnzmade.net for a directory of NZ made stuff.
Some NZ made labels I have found are: Kilt, Mondegreen, Starfish, Cybele, Sistahood, Thrive clothing, Tanya Carlson, Chalky Digits, Riddle me this, Glowing Sky, Christina Perriam, McKinlays shoes, Salisbury Boutique in Dunedin stocks NZ made, Minnie Cooper makes gorgeous NZ made shoes, Out there clothing and Anna Krsinic.
15. Start small. It’s not about throwing out all unethical clothes/shoes that you already own. Maybe you’ll just buy some organic t’s and progress from there. Maybe you’ll buy less but better quality stuff. Once you get started you’ll be amazed at the money you save and the unique bargain finds.