A case for spending your wardrobe budget on vintage, second-hand or independent labels instead...
Now look, I'm not actually TELLING you to stop buying new clothes for good, I just wanna put forward a case for seriously cutting down our ridiculous consumption of new garms from generic high street stores.
I'm Kayleigh, the emerging artist behind Marshall Art Life. I live and work in Brixton, South London and this year I have stopped buying new clothes.
Why? More thread for your bread.
(or collar for your dollar, I couldn't decide which. Both equally questionable).
I don't know about you but I ain't flush (struggling artist you see, someone pass me a tissue) but I still need to scratch that instant-retail-gratification-itch by purchasing new arms every now and again. What you might pay £40 for on the high street, you could pick up for £2 second hand. Now I'm no accountant but tell me that does't make financial sense? I believe more bang for your buck is the appropriate phrase here...
Why Why? Carbon footprints aren't cute.
Here's a fact. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter IN THE WORLD after oil. WTF?! Cheaper garments and public willingness to buy fast fashion means that 80billion item of clothing are produced each year, making apparel production responsible for 10% of all global carbon emissions, and it's growing. That's not cute. Buy fewer shitty cheap throwaway garments and you'll be helping to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that gets dumped into the air. Don't give AF about the environment? Shame on you, have you seen Blue Planet II???
Why Why Why? Avoid the clone syndrome.
So the motive behind my new years resolution to only buy second-hand clothes actually came after a days filming with a client of mine, Gunna Drinks. I was asked to bring along a selection of clothes that best represented me and my character and after hanging everything up for inspection I realised that EVERYTHING I brought along was either vintage, second hand or from an independent label. I'm not a stylist and I don't purport to know a thing about fashion but I do know that I don't want to look like a walking H&M beige clone doll. Shopping second hand, especially at kilo sales, means you haven't got to try very hard to find unusual pieces and individualistic combinations, giving you very little excuse to look like the average Joe. I'm mean if you're not trying on a retro German Football top with leopard disco pants at a kilo sale are you even trying??
"That's good for you Kayleigh but I don't really go for the mix-and-match-grandad-plaid-button-up-shirt-with-a-hole-in-the-sleeve kind of look." Here's a top tip, head to charity shops in posho neighbourhoods (Highgate, London is where I'd start) and you can literally shop last seasons Zara, TopShop, Mango, French Connection at a fraction of the price if you desire.
Why Why Why Why? Show Love for the independents.
Since going solo as an artist I've learnt and experienced the value of supporting independent creatives first hand. In purchasing clothes designed and made by individuals you're doing so much more than putting money in their pockets. You're funding someones dream, passion and ultimately allowing them to continue to create dope clothes for your back. My guys at IvyRose London create ethically sourced apparel and it warms my cold cold heart to know that I'm wearing a little part of their ambition and creativity every time I whack on my Brixton Boys or Cronx Life T.
Where I shop for not-so-brand new...
1. Brixton Vintage Kilo Sale: Pop Brixton
Once a month every month the team at The Brixton Vintage Kilo Sale set up shop in Pop Brixton for a weekend of rails stockpiled with retro clothes from across Europe - with free entry and just £15 for a kilo of clothes someone really should call the police coz that constitutes day-light robbery...
2. IvyRose London: Independent Apparel Label, London
Shoutout again to Giselle and Johnny behind IvyRose London, ethically sourced apparel label from South London! Check out the official IvyRose London Instagram.
3. Make Do and Mend: Vintage Shop, Pop Brixton
What do they sell? Sarah, the owner of Make Do and Mend curates vintage garments from all around the world! Second-hand clothes are her life long passion and with an ever changing supply of retro, reworked and up-cycled garms you CANNOT loose. Plus Sarah is an absolute doll and you should check out our live interview.