But that doesn’t mean I’m not trying to improve!
Happy New Year! And woah, 2019 was a year to really stop and think about the planet wasn’t it?
I spent most of 2019 trying to improve multiple areas of my life in this regard. I cut down on my plastic use drastically, switched to a hybrid car (I realise I am in a privileged position to be able to do this at all, which I am very grateful for), and stopped buying clothes altogether. I even gave up my job writing about fashion trends completely (I now work three days a week creating content at a sustainable fashion brand and only accept fashion writing commissions that have a sustainability angle) because I couldn’t bear to be part of the machine that peddles new new new all the time anymore.
So I think I achieved a fair amount in 2019! As a result, this new year, I am simply pledging to do more of the same in greater quantities for 2020, and I thought it would be a nice opportunity to round up some of my favourite and most useful blog posts, as well as how I’m going to take those actions forward. I’d also love to hear your biggest sustainable achievements of 2019, so please do leave comments!
Jumping back on the clothes horse (sort of)
My year-long shopping ban ends in May, but that doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to rush off down to Zara for a spree. (I mean, now I’ve moved to the Isle of Wight this would involve a journey on a ferry because all we have on the high street is H&M and Topshop, but you get my gist). I am going to treat myself to a few new things in 2020, but they will be very carefully considered.
For starters, I am going to need some new underwear! I gave up wearing bras a while ago, but one of my three M&S DD+ bralets that I wear on rotation has more and far bigger holes that the lace it is made of ever intended. I have a wedding in June that I’m going to buy a jumpsuit for from one of the lovely sustainable brands I’ve discovered this year but haven’t had the chance to try out yet. And for any other bits and bobs I’m going to support the brilliant new vintage store The Velvet Pig in my hometown of Ryde.
So that’s one bralet, one jumpsuit, and perhaps some vintage. After a year of nothing, that actually seems like a lot and definitely enough to get excited about!
READ MORE: THE RESPONSIBLE FOOTWEAR GUIDE
Cutting down the laundry
This is a continuation of something I’d already started mid-way through the year, but having met the brilliant Caroline from Knickers Models Own a few months ago, I’ve been inspired to take it even further. Caroline confesses (publicly, I’m not telling her secrets!) that she never washes her clothes – underwear aside, of course! We’ve been so conditioned into thinking that we need to wash our clothes all the time that we sometimes don’t even stop to think whether or not they need it. And you know what, often they don’t!
Anyway, when we moved house we also ended up – intentionally – with no tumble drier. And when it’s a bit of a pain to dry your clothes in the winter, it makes more sense not to wash them if you can help it. You’ll find some more tips on doing less laundry here.
READ MORE: THE BEST ETHICAL SWEATERS
Curating my Instagram feed
Editing who I follow on Instagram has been one of the most enlightening things I’ve done in the past few months, so a continuation of this is a must. I’ve either unfollowed or hidden any unsustainable brands, as well as some influencers, although there are still plenty I do follow for style inspiration alone (rather than shopping inspiration). Simply taking away the temptation makes consuming less SO MUCH easier.
But I’ve also made a conscious effort to diversify my feed. I’ve learnt tonnes about white supremacy and white fragility this year – as a white woman I have realised that I have a huge responsibility to educate myself more on these subjects, especially as someone who talks about sustainability since the two are so interlinked.
I’ve updated a post I did a few months ago to include more of the fashion accounts that I have enjoyed and that have enriched my Instagram experience recently. You can read that here.
READ MORE: HOW TO LOAN YOUR WARDROBE
Still giving Boots the boot
While there is a Beauty Kitchen refill station in Boots in Covent Garden, Boots in Ryde, Isle of Wight, isn’t quite there yet, so I’m still avoiding getting my toiletries from the usual suspects and opting for more sustainable sources instead. When we lived in London I was blessed with two brilliant zero waste shops on my doorstep (if you happen to live in Lewisham, they were Mission Green in Hither Green and SWOP in Lee Green and I highly recommend both), and although there are a couple on the Island, they’re not within walking distance, so I’m going to try and get organised with my empty bottles and jars and get everything done once a month.
I now rely more heavily on the internet for my beauty products, and I’ve tried out some absolutely gorgeous stuff over the past year. So whether you’re looking for plastic-free shampoo or want to avoid palm oil, have a look at my everyday sustainable beauty guide.
READ MORE: CAN STOCKINGS BE SUSTAINABLE?
Keeping conversation alive
One of the most rewarding things about 2019 has been all the conversations I have had with you, mostly on Instagram, about the ways we can all do better to protect our planet and the people who live on it. And having interviewed a fair few sustainable fashion designers and experts this year, something they all agree on is that conversation and collaboration is the best way we can all spread the word about the consequences our actions have that we may not have previously considered, as well as the positive things we can do to improve.
So in 2020 I urge you to join me in talking to friends and family about these same issues. I’ve found it so interesting and useful to exchange ideas and recommendations, and if you feel as passionately about it as me, you’ll want to play a part in keeping up the momentum and keeping things moving in the right direction. After all, studies suggest that it takes just 3.5% of a population engaged in sustained non-violent resistance to make a difference…and perhaps we’re nearly there….