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Sign of the times: Áine Carlin on Fashion Revolution Week

Veggie’s columnist, Áine Carlin, is one of the celebs at the forefront of sustainable fashion. We asked for her thoughts on Fashion Revolution Week...

Sign of the times: Áine Carlin on Fashion Revolution Week

Like many women, I adore clothes and feel like my daily outfit is my armour. Thankfully we’re entering an age where style and sustainability aren’t mutually exclusive terms and looking chic doesn’t necessarily mean you have to shun your ethical credentials. Asking the pertinent question; #whomademyclothes? and replacing chastisement with practical solutions – these pro-fashion protesters might just be onto something.

Fashion Revolution Week (FRW) is a thoroughly refreshing way to ensure that our collective obsession with shopping doesn’t mean forfeiting all things ethical in the process. Initiatives like FRW mark a new era in how we collectively approach shopping, it’s a thoroughly modern way to engage consumers and brands, encouraging them to play a proactive part in the never-ending cycle we call fashion and instigate change at every level.

Instead of alienating brands, FRW aim to collaborate with them, uniting farmer with manufacturer, retailer (and beyond), highlighting the complex trail which ultimately results in that covetable pair of jeans or must-have bag. Without naming and shaming, this internet-led revolution has put a more positive spin on proceedings, offering up useful ideas rather than pointing the finger. Seasons seem to come around quicker than ever these days; this has catastrophic consequences for both people and the planet. Having worked in the industry myself, I quickly came to realise it was teeming with people who cared. No Devil Wears Prada types here, only those who love design and realise that we’ve come to a crossroads. This crossroads has been taken on headfirst by global organisations like Fashion Revolution who understand the value of textiles and design, but believe it can be approached in a much more sustainable way. There’s something so emboldening about telling people they can be the change they want to see, and in my opinion that’s the most powerful message to take away from this week.

When it comes to fashion (and indeed food*) I truly believe that every small decision can make a difference. Whether it’s a direct or ripple effect, an informed consumer is a powerful one, which applies pressure to retailers to simply be better and do better.

If all this seems a little overwhelming and you’ve got the “but where do I begin” fear, then worry not because the free and downloadable Fashion Revolution action kit takes all the stress out of it. In the meantime try introducing some simple, mindful shopping tactics – something I’ve come to find hugely rewarding.

Not only have I consciously pared back my once overflowing wardrobe, I now tend to hold off for a few days before making any unnecessary purchases. I like to call it the ‘cooling off’ period. I also gravitate towards more ethically minded brands for basics, and opt for Fairtrade and organic cotton as and where possible. Second-hand stores are also invaluable when attempting to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I frequently head to my local charity shops to satiate my gnawing fashion hunger – even if you’re a thrifting newbie, you’ll be seriously amazed at what you can find hidden amongst the rails of unwanted items. Let the revolution commence!

*Find Áine’s delicious recipes in the magazine every month.

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