Before Christmas I was sent a copy of How To Break Up With Fast Fashion by Lauren Bravo. I haven’t been paid for writing this blog post, but I did receive my copy for free. Ok, disclosure over, let’s see what I thought of it…
How To Break Up With Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is the ultimate toxic relationship. It’s bad news for the planet, our brains and our bank balances. We can’t go on like this; our shopping habits need an overhaul. Journalist Lauren Bravo loves clothes more than anything, but she’s called time on her affair with fast fashion in search of a slower, saner way of dressing. In this book, she’ll help you do the same.
You’ll probably already know that I absolutely loved Overdressed; it was a real catalyst for change in my life (and for the blog). When the publisher contacted me about How To Break Up With Fast Fashion, I was pretty excited to read it because it sounded like it could be a similar book. Although Overdressed is a really good book, it’s US-centric, whereas How To Break Up With Fast Fashion is written by a UK journalist.
What I immediately liked about this book is the way that it’s written. Bravo is not preachy or setting herself up as a perfect role model. She’s honest about her love for fast fashion and her journey into creating a more sustainable wardrobe. She acknowledges the areas she could do better in and offers plenty of suggestions throughout the book that anyone could follow.
It’s also made clear why we should be changing the way that we shop. The book has plenty of interesting (and scary) statistics on what fast fashion is doing to out planet.
Creating a sustainable wardrobe isn’t as simple as chucking out all of your High Street clothing, vowing to never set foot in Primark or New Look or wherever again and choosing to wear shapeless organic cotton tunics. Thank goodness really, because who wants to wear clothes that don’t make them feel good?!
The Problems with Sustainable Fashion
Something that I really liked about this book is that Lauren Bravo acknowledges the issues with sustainable fashion. Privilege plays a huge part. Sustainable fashion is, let’s face it, mostly catering for thin white women who can afford it. It’s rare to find brands that champion women of different shapes and sizes, different races, or anything else. I really liked that Bravo makes a point of this in the book, as well as talking to those who generally don’t fall into sustainable fashion’s current target audience.
Of course, there’s also the issue that sustainable fashion is often more expensive. You can’t really preach to people that they should be buying something that might cost more than half of their current wardrobe combined. Cost can be prohibitive; it certainly is for me at times.
Real Sustainable Fashion
Having a sustainable wardrobe is far more than just buying specific brands. Bravo has plenty of actionable suggestions for achieving a more sustainable wardrobe without buying a thing. So many books like this can run the risk of being preachy or suggesting things that normal people are never going to do. I did wonder whether I’d learn anything from this book. After all, I’ve been interested in creating a sustainable and ethical wardrobe for a while now.
It’s Not Rocket Science
Surprisingly, at least to me, I took a lot away from this book. Yes I can sew, but something I never do is alter my own clothes. It’s totally laziness on my part, but I felt inspired after reading this. Why has it never occurred to me to change my clothes to make them fit the way I want them to?!
First on my list are a really comfy pair of pyjama bottoms. I love them but they ride up when I sleep and drive me mad. I’m going to add elastic around the hems and boom, problem solved! I’m kicking myself that I’d literally never thought about doing that before.
I’ve got other alterations in mind too. There’s a blouse I bought from Primark three years ago with bees all over it. I love it but the hem is frayed and the collar is too floppy. After reading this book, I realised that I can alter this (and any of my clothes) any way that I want to. They’re my clothes! So this blouse is going to be shortened and I’ll add some interfacing to the collar to stiffen it up. It might have “only” been from Primark, but I want this blouse to last!
Ok, so these suggestions aren’t ground-breaking, but that’s what I love about How To Break Up With Fast Fashion. The suggestions are all things that anyone can do.
As you might know, I’m on a weight loss journey at the moment. I’ll admit that prior to reading this book I probably would have been tempted to sew a lot of new clothes once I hit my target weight. Not any more! The things I have that I really love, I’m going to alter. That’s at least half, if not more, of my wardrobe.
Can’t Sew? No Problem!
I realise that not everyone who reads this book can sew, or even wants to, so if that applies to you there are still other suggestions that might work for you. Easy things such as buying vintage or pre-loved clothing (I love an eBay bargain!); accessorising; wearing things in unexpected ways; there’s something for everyone.