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How ToMonday, 26 October 2020

How to Shop the Sales More Sustainably

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WORDS BY KATIE HILL

Whether you’re looking to ease yourself into the slow fashion movement or head down the route of ethical fashion brands, creating a sustainable wardrobe no longer has to be a tricky task.

 

While buying secondhand clothing and vintage accessories may seem like the only choice when it comes to opting into environmentally friendly fashion, there are plenty of other options. Vegan bags, brands that embrace upcycling and, of course, classic pieces that are built to last — these are all simple ways to embrace sustainable style.
 
 

As we approach the renowned Black Friday sales, we spoke to seven eco-savvy influencers about how they are preparing to take on the sales with conscious shopping in mind. Our progressive experts cover everything from tips and tricks to their favourite sustainable clothing brands. Get inspiration for building a capsule wardrobe and learn how to be sustainable when it comes to your fashion choices without missing out on the Black Friday sale.

Images by Benoit Essiambre

Joëlle Paquette @veryjoelle
Based in Montreal
STAND STUDIO faux shearling-trimmed coat

 

‘Buy less, but better.’
 

What made you choose STAND STUDIO faux shearling coat as your conscious item? 
 

‘Here in Canada, we get five months of winter per year. When there's two feet of snow outside and it’s -4ºF, I usually go for a simple and super comfy outfit, like a jumper and some jeans. With a coat like that, I can just throw it on and look put together and keep warm with minimal effort.’


What are your top tips for shopping the sale more sustainably?


‘First, you have to define what conscious means to you. Generally speaking, a conscious brand is one that follows a clear social and environmental code of conduct. And on your end, that means buying less, but better—making sure that whatever’s in your cart, you’ll want to wear for a long time.  I keep a running list of items I need and brands I love that hold similar values to mine. 
 

It’s always smart to buy staples, but there’s no reason to ignore bold, signature pieces, like my coat for example. The pre-owned section also has a lot of Yves Saint Laurent from the ‘80s. I’m eyeing up a skirt suit and a beautiful, almost ‘Le Smoking-esque’ chocolate jumpsuit.’


Do you have any go-to conscious brands?
 

Agolde jeans have great sustainable practices, the denim is thick and non-stretchy (the way I like it) and the silhouettes are perfection. 

 

There are so many conscious brands now! And it’s great, because you don’t feel like you have to compromise on your style to be environmentally and socially conscious. Stella McCartney is the champion in this category, but I’m also a fan of Rosie Assouline, Marine Serre and Cecilie Bahnsen. For denim, I think what Re/Done is doing by upcycling old jeans into new ones truly is the future. For coats, Stand Studio does recycled faux fur and you can’t beat Veja trainers.’ 

Thania @catcherinthestyle
Based in New York 
Nanushka Canaan fine-knit midi dress

 

‘I buy quality items I can have for years to come. An excellent wardrobe is an investment in a great life.’  

What made you choose your Nanushka Canaan knit midi dress as your conscious item? 

‘The outfit is timeless, chic and very versatile. I paired a beautiful nude, cosy Nanushka jumper dress with a gorgeous ANINE BING blazer and knee-high boots. I can see myself wearing this while sipping hot cocoa in a cabin or on the streets of NYC. 

I had to rethink my wardrobe during the pandemic, and I value comfort over everything! I don’t think I can go from sweats at home straight into heels and a party dress, but I can do a slow transition with a comfortable jumper dress and some boots. You can dress it down with slides and a denim jacket too.’   


What are your top tips for shopping the sale more sustainably? 

‘I could talk about this for days. Currently, it isn't super easy for consumers to get all these answers from brands. I'm working with a few NGOs to bring better transparency to the future of fashion.

FARFETCH has a great selection of ethical fashion brands making things a lot easier when shopping for new items. Also, the secondhand clothes market is excellent. You should always check out a brand's sustainable practices and it's important to note that WE are responsible for the item's lifecycle. Pre-owned handbags are the business. Chanel always holds its value. I love vintage fashion! I'm a sucker for blazers too.’  

Do you have any go-to conscious brands? 

Theory makes awesome suits, the fit is perfect and they are amazing quality.’
 

Kim Turkington @loveclothblog
Based in London

Church's Genie Chelsea boots

 

‘I always think of this quote from Three Things, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. So, consider every fashion purchase beyond its price tag: it’s in your power to vote with your wallet (without spending more) and support a more sustainable future.” Eshita Kabra-Davies’
 

What made you choose Church’s Chelsea boots as your conscious item? 


‘Simple and classic, I’ve always been a big fan of Church’s boots. Chelsea boots are such a timeless piece, they’re something I’ll reach for time and time again.’
 

What are your top tips for shopping the sale more sustainably? 
 

‘I usually create a ‘wish-list’ on the website and this would be my first place to look to see if something I always wanted has gone into the sale. I really think over each piece that I purchase. I opt for classic styles and colours that work with pieces I already own.
 

I always look out for my favourites such as Acne Studios, Joseph and Totême.’


Do you have any go-to conscious brands?


‘I’m always on the lookout for amazing sustainable denim brands and live in my RE/DONE jeans. Peony for sustainable swimwear in the summer or Nanushka for simple everyday pieces.’

 

Stephanie Broek @stephaniebroek
Based in Amsterdam

Prada logo-print slip dress


‘I ask myself will I still love this piece in one year, five years or twenty years' time? If the answer is no, I won’t buy it.’

What made you choose the Prada logo-print slip dress as your conscious item? 
 

Prada's use of nylon is iconic. This dress is part of the house's Re-Nylon collection which launched last year. These pieces are entirely made of recycled material. To me, pieces like this little black dress resemble what sustainable fashion should be.

This mini dress is such a timeless piece and it's so versatile. You can wear it with heels for a party or during the day with loafers and a turtleneck, or a shirt underneath. This is a true staple that I can see myself wearing over and over. And, depending on the styling, it's suitable for every season.’
 

What are your top tips for shopping the sale more sustainably? 


‘First of all — try and see if you can find a piece secondhand or vintage first before considering buying something new. At the end of the day, buying secondhand and therefore extending the lifespan of a product is the most sustainable option.

I'm building a capsule wardrobe of long-lasting, versatile pieces that all go together and fit me like a glove. Think about what kind of piece is missing from your wardrobe, this way you'll avoid impulse purchases.’


Do you have any go-to conscious brands?


‘I’m very into pre-owned Louis Vuitton bags at the moment. I just bought a teeny-tiny Speedy bag. It's such a fun, versatile piece, so I decided to save up for it. I'm also currently eyeing the Alma and Verso models made from Louis Vuitton's classic textured Epi leather. 
 

There are so many conscious brands nowadays which I'm so grateful for! Filippa K is my go-to brand for staple pieces. Mara Hoffman for dresses, Marine Serre for ultra-cool futuristic pieces. Chopova Lowena and Rave Review do upcycling like no other. And my all time favourite — Stella McCartney. I admire her vision and have a weak spot for her shoes.’

Gabrielle Lacasse @dentellefleurs
Based in Canada
Agolde jeans mid-rise straight jeans


 

‘Giving a second life to pieces and recycling clothes can do wonders for our planet. Because let's be honest, there are enough things on earth already.’

What made you choose Agolde mid-rise straight jeans as your conscious item? 

‘When in doubt, reaching for a pair of jeans is the answer. I've owned a pair of Agolde jeans for quite some time now, the fit is out of this world. So, I opted for another pair from this sustainable brand since I know my cost per wear is going to be through the roof. I also got a GANNI top, because I am in love with the brand. Both of these pieces, I will wear obsessively, and that's one way to do sustainable shopping — Adios one-timer items!’


What are your top tips for shopping the sale more sustainably? 

‘Sometimes, a good sale can trick us into believing we NEED something, but you should ask yourself some questions before you add to basket. 

Do you already own a similar item? If so, does it fit well? Can you get it fixed/altered? Can you mix and match the item you want to buy with other things in your wardrobe? Does that item fit your current lifestyle? Do you plan on wearing it over and over again? 

Of course, I would recommend anything GANNI for everyday wear. Collina Strada for any statement pieces, Nanushka for unusual fabrics, Reformation for dresses and Agolde, for the best fitting jeans of all time.’


Do you have any go-to conscious brands?

‘Remember when conscious fashion was mostly patchwork, long dresses with questionable choices of colours, and so on? Not anymore. We now have the luxury to buy conscious brands that are also fashion-forward. 


Everything GANNI produces, from boots to knits, I admire. They have a unique view on fashion, and lots of items fit my current style and taste. Its big collars, striking colours, and unusual cuts have re-defined conscious fashion.’ 

Andrea Cheong @fleurandrea
Based in London

Vanina Boutons D'Or bag

 

‘Give each purchase serious consideration, from brand reputation to composition of clothing.’ 
 

What made you choose the Vanina Boutons D'Or bag as your conscious item? 


‘I chose a Vanina bag because I love how much philanthropy and upcycling is part of the brand history. I love how it breaks down the misconception that sustainability has to be ugly or boring. There is nothing snooze about a pearl bag with giant sequins. This is something you keep forever, like art.’ 
 

What are your top tips for shopping the sale more sustainably?


‘Set aside a budget you're willing to spend and shortlist the items you're looking for, instead of browsing everything. Designer sales are the best way to get an investment piece in your wardrobe for a lot less. 

I like to take the opportunity to try new labels that work with sustainable fabrics. During the summer, I got a Nanushka skirt made of lyocell in the FARFETCH sale.’ 


Do you have any go-to conscious brands?
 

‘Shoes! Always shoes, I have UK 1-2 sized feet and find it very hard to buy shoes anywhere else but luxury retailers. 

When it comes to conscious brands, I've started a highlight series on my Instagram on the fashion houses that are really stepping up their sustainability commitments. So far, I've been so impressed with Prada and Chanel is making great progress.’ 

Charlotte Caroline @charlottecaroline_
Based in Denmark

STAND STUDIO Lolita Quilt faux-leather tote bag

 

‘If you can’t stop thinking about it — buy it (because you are going to use it a lot).’
 

What are your top tips for shopping the sale more sustainably? 


‘It’s always a good idea to buy good quality pieces that last longer. I ask myself if there are pieces I feel are missing from my wardrobe that can be styled in different ways. 
 

I love GANNI, STAND STUDIO or Shrimps — but my advice would be to shop the brands you normally support, because then you know you will actually get wear out of it and it won't end up just hanging in your wardrobe.’
 

Do you have any go-to conscious brands?
 

‘Definitely a cute, little colourful bag, for me a bag is a small investment and I can use it over and over again. They even get prettier with patina. 
 

I’m still learning about sustainable clothing brands. I like what Mother of Pearl stands for, the projects they focus on and how they leave their footprints.’

 

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