There was a time when the conversation around sustainable fashion was relegated to the sidelines. For what seems like forever, it was simply easier to turn a blind eye to the ethics of fashion in favour of style. Let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of going on a panic shopping spree — in search for that perfect holiday selfie.
On March 12, millennial travel company Contiki held London’s First ever Holiday Wardrobe Clothes Swap, bringing together some of the leading voices in sustainable fashion in a wonderfully insightful panel discussion — and also saving 1700 garments from landfill. #LoveNotLandfill brought together 150 Londoners and invited them to forego the high street and rediscover our love for conscious consumerism, swapping clothes with each other and igniting the fire on the conversation around sustainability.
The Contiki Clothes Swap panel is composed of Carry Somers from Fashion Revolution, Agatha Lintott of Antibad, sustainability activist Venetia Falconer, and fashion journalist, Anna Hart. The discourse began with some shocking statistics from Contiki’s own sustainability survey, which revealed that 132 million holiday clothes go unworn every year; with 27% or survey participants saying that they purchase cheaper clothing to suit fleeting seasonal trends ahead of their holiday. Through genuine conversation and discourse, this panel of inspiring women talked about how we can consume fashion more consciously. According to Carry Somers, “What we buy really has an impact, it’s not just about the plastics we see, but als the plastics we don’t. Microfibres from synthetic fabrics contribute to 35% of all the ocean micro plastics” When asked about the perception that sustainable fashion comes at a higher price point, Agatha Lintott urges us to rediscover our emotional investment to our clothes. “Yes – sustainable brands are more expensive, but they also last longer. Dressing consciously isn’t just about buying better — it’s about looking after what you’ve got,” while Venetia Falconer invites us to celebrate our old clothes through her #oootd campaign, which invites people to share old ootds on Instagram. She says, “Look after what you’ve already got, and don’t get caught up in the hysteria of the high street.” Getting on board with sustainability isn’t actually as hard as it seems. Rather than making hard ultimatums, the secret to conscious consumerism is exactly that — making mindful connections of what we consume.
With fashion being the second largest pollutant in the world — it’s clear that our fast fashion consumption has to change, and hopefully with campaigns like #LoveNotLandfill and companies like Contiki leading the charge — we can still turn things around. Because let’s face it — is that #ootd really worth our planet’s future?
Words by Hannah Tan-Gillies