The fashion industry is just that. It’s a business. But when it’s costing actual lives (many of the dead were young women) just to make a profit, things need to change. Out of the wreckage, one ray of hope emerged. Fashion Revolution.
Founded by people who loved fashion but knew the system was broken, FR work to ensure our clothes are made in a safe, clean and fair way in an industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit equally.
1138 people died. 2500 were injured. Six years ago the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh (which supplied several UK high street stores) collapsed. The tragedy threw a much needed spotlight onto the greed and exploitation involved in the fast fashion system. When cracks started to appear in the 8 storey building, 4 storeys of which were constructed without planning permission, employees were told they’d be docked one month’s pay if they didn’t show up for work.
This is Fashion Revolution week (timed to honour the anniversary of Rana Plaza’s collapse) and activists have been all over Instagram asking #whomademyclothes to highlight the conditions some workers still toil under.
This month uncomfortable stats were also released showing that the average item in the UK is worn for only 14 times before we get bored of it. So we’re buying cheap clothes that put lives – and the planet – in danger and then barely wearing them. According to Vivienne Westwood we should “Buy less, choose well and make it last” and in France garments are worn for at least 30 times. Ever since Livia Firth suggested we should ask ourselves, “Will I wear this a minimum of 30 times” before each purchase, the #30Wears challenge has been gaining traction.
GLAMOUR loves fashion. We adore new trends and those hits of freshness that update your wardrobe and make all your outfits shine. Shopping is our hobby, therapy and happy place. But just because 1000s of items are New In! every.single.day it doesn’t mean you have to buy them. And when you do make a new purchase – because we’re never going to stop shopping – ask yourself if it will meet the 30 wears criteria. And then wear it.
Because we love fashion, and wanted to stand for a slower rate of consumption, we’ve all pledged to wear one item 30 times over the next three months. Everyone has a different reason for joining the campaign but we’ll all be taking it seriously.
Check back in here to see how we get on, and keep an eye on our monthly updates on Instagram. At the very least we’ll be pulling out all the styling tricks we know to get the most mileage from our outfits.
We’d love you to join in too and post your own pictures using the hashtag #GLAMOUR30wearschallenge.
Charlie Teather / Fashion Editor
Chosen piece: A powder blue boilersuit
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard that the average item in a UK wardrobe is only worn 14 times. I’m sure I’ve worn everything I own more than that. Haven’t I?! It got me thinking, and while I admittedly don’t like to outfit repeat on my Instagram feed (God forbid etc., I know), my friends and colleagues will vouch for the fact that I genuinely have no qualms about wearing the same thing over and over again.
If nothing else, it saves a lot of time in the morning when I’m feeling about 0.5% creative. So while this challenge would, I’m sure, be a breeze for me were I to pick one of my many staples, I decided that being the fashion editor I ought to, well, challenge myself. Boilersuits are huge at the mo, but being an all-in-one they don’t offer up much room for sartorial creativity. I’ll see you in three months – and hopefully 30 outfits! – time.”
Jenna Rak / Senior Strategist
Chosen piece: My classic skinny jeans
“I’ve moved so many times that I consider myself an expert at living minimally but there are still so many pieces in my wardrobe that never see the light of day. I love the idea of this challenge as a forcing mechanism to get me thinking about different ways to style my wardrobe and generally be more conscious about what I already own.
I am not however a stylist, like some of the other team members *cough, Charlie* so have opted for a pair of Outland Denim jeans as my #GLAMOUR30wearschallenge article of clothing. The jeans themselves are super comfortable and versatile but I also love the fact that the company uses the most most eco-friendly and environmentally conscious processes and only employs women rescued from human trafficking. Win win win!”
Chosen piece: My camel duster coat
“I’m every stereotype that comes with women in this industry: I have four wardrobes, an uncontrollable shopping addiction and I am a complete trend-chaser. But I’ve also become really environmentally conscious and aware of the impact my actions have on the planet – which causes some tension with my love for fashion. I try to shop vintage, donate clothes when I no longer need them, don’t wear any animal products (or eat them), and slowly wean myself off fast fashion.
The idea of wearing something 30 times to me isn’t daunting, but in the time frame it is. I either wear items sporadically over years or get completely obsessed with something for a month and then never touch it again.”
Alexandra Fullerton / Fashion director at large
Chosen piece: A printed midi skirt
“I didn’t need to buy this skirt. I didn’t need to buy any skirt, top, dress OR jacket. Ever again. But the lighter evenings and feeling the sun on my skin made me believe I had a silky midi-skirt shaped hole in my wardrobe (I didn’t) and it was all to easy to click “order now” on net-a-porter.com. I chose this skirt as my challenge item as it’s my newest purchase yet also represents all the trend-related impulse buys I’ve ever made.
There are many. It was meant to be a seasonal fix and while I truly love it, genuinely want to wear it loads – and it certainly wasn’t a cheap thrill – wearing this skirt 30 times in only three months will feel like a penance for my shopping sins.
A millstone round my neck chiding me at the ease with which I fall for the thrill of the new. Every wear will also be a stark reminder of the other culprits in my wardrobe that rarely see the light of day. Perhaps I’ll incorporate them into my challenge outfits too? Better that than buy something new, because the most sustainable item is something you already own.”
Lottie Winter / Beauty Editor
Chosen piece: A classic white t-shirt
“A few years ago, I discovered the perfect white T-shirt. It was oversized, round neck, straight cut – and it was £3. I bought four, reasoning that while it may not be the best quality, I could just chuck the old one out and start afresh with the next. At the time, I was pretty pleased with myself – what a savvy shopper! But now I see my thrift shopping is symptomatic of a much graver societal issue.
Over-consumption and unsustainable spending leads to excessive waste and the exploitation of natural resources, animals and the human beings who work in the fast fashion production chain. So I have adjusted my approach. I still love a white T-shirt (I mean, who doesn’t?) and will wear one under a jacket or jumper, tucked into jeans or smart trousers, under a slip dress or paired with a midi skirt. But the T-shirt I’ll be using for all these outfits will be the same t-shirt – a slightly more expensive, but sustainably sourced, better quality one.”
Deborah Joseph / Editor-in-Chief
Chosen piece: My favourite jeans
“At times in my life, shopping for me has been like an Olympic sport. First to the sales, fastest to check online for the weekly ‘drop’, winner at looking at my bulging wardrobe and thinking ‘I’ve got nothing to wear.’ I’ll shop when I’m happy. Shop because I’m down. Shop because I can’t sleep. Shop cos I’ve put on weight and don’t fit into my clothes. And then about six months ago I starting reading the horrific reality behind this so called fun ‘sport.’
The landfills filling up with unbiodegradable materials, the animals cruelly kept and killed for my leather shoes and bags, the number of people who die annually from the poisonous chemicals that go into cotton manufacturing. I realised it’s time for me to make a change. A small one but a change. To relook at what I currently have in my wardrobe and start loving it again, enjoying it as much as something new. So I’m taking the challenge and going to wear these jeans at least 30 times in the next three months. I’m going to style them with clothes I already have in my wardrobe and love them, again and again.”