4 Fun Hobbies for Conscious Fashion Lovers

Many people today consider shopping a hobby, which is quite sad. They have made consumption into their hobby and oftentimes it can be their only one. I used to have shopping as a hobby. I used to spend hours of just strolling around stores, during lunch hours, after school or work, or just whenever I had some time to kill. All this gave me was an overfilled and uncoherent closet that always left me feeling like I had nothing to wear. In addition, it cost me a lot of money this mindless spending.

Still, I do love fashion. Like I really love it. But I don’t want to be part of this unconscious consumerism that is going on. So I’ve tried swapping my shopping for other more productive hobbies and here are some tips on things you can do if you love fashion, but don’t want shopping to be your hobby.

Sewing

Learning to sew is not just fun and very fulfilling, it’s also very practical. When you know how to sew you have endless possibilities! You can tailor your old clothes or things you buy, you can completely refashion things into new items or you can make your own things from scratch. Sewing your own things will mean you get a closet tailored to you, both to your body and your style!

So how do you make sewing your hobby? Well, you can always take a course, you could buy (or borrow) a book about sewing, learn from online, or just try it out. It will cost you a bit to start if you do not own a sewing machine or can borrow one, and it will also require some basic tools like fabric scissors and such.

Embroidery

Learning to embroider might not be as practical and useful, as say sewing, but it can be equally fulfilling! Spending time on a certain pattern only to see it start coming together is a lovely feeling. And while it might not make a new garment, it can really give new life to one! Maybe you’ve got some holes or stains in your favorite shirt, that makes it unusable. Well, why not try embroidering some nice flowers over it? Not only broken clothes can benefit from some embroidery. A regular white t-shirt can become a statement piece by adding some colorful threads to it. If your style is leaning towards bohemian this is the hobby for you!

Knitting & Crocheting

In the last few years, the popularity of knitting and crocheting has skyrocketed. There are now several stores (such as Wool and the Gang) providing ready-made kits for making your own sweaters, hats, and cardigans. I have found that knitting can be quite expensive if you want to use quality yarn (which you want, just imagine making a sweater for yourself only to find it to be an itching nightmare…), but to me it’s quite meditative and something to keep my hands busy (instead of scrolling Vestiaire…).

Fashion illustration

If you love drawing and being creative, or maybe you’re just not too interested in producing wearable things, why not try fashion illustration? It won’t add things to your (or your family’s) closet, but it will still give you a bit of that fashion fix. The best thing about having fashion illustration as your hobby is that it is super cheap to start! Sure, if you want to get fancy with it there are expensive pens and brushes, but for starters, a few pencils will do.

So how about you? Do you consider shopping a hobby?

Why You Should be Buying the Most Expensive you can Afford

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Most of us have probably bought some expensive item once only to realize that a higher price is not necessarily a sign of better quality. A higher price can today often be attributed to branding and marketing and thus might have very little to do with the actual quality. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should be buying cheap!

Cheap fast fashion is usually thought to be worth its price, but mostly due to the sad fact that you expect it to be of shitty quality when you pay next to nothing. It’s basically you going in with low expectations and then those expectations turn out to be true.

Even though I have already acknowledged the fact that price isn’t necessarily an indicator of quality, I do believe that we should all buy the most expensive we can afford. And here is why:

Room for Actually Paying the Makers

When a t-shirt costs 5€, there is really no room for paying the makers (unless the brand has no markup), but for a 50€ t-shirt, there is. This does not inherently mean that all 50€ t-shirts are a great buy of superior quality that is made ethically, especially if there is a fancy logo on it or in it.

So even if the price can be an indicator or that the company is paying their makers the best way to actually know if a brand is paying the makers is to do your own research.

You Will Buy Less

This one is simple math. If you buy more expensive items, you’ll have to decrease the amount to be able to purchase. So buying more expensive will force you to buy less, which in itself is a win for the planet, but it will also likely make you take more conscious shopping decisions.

It’s Less Disposable

In today’s society, fast fashion has become the new normal. Fast fashion in itself is disposable since it’s dirt cheap and it would cost you more to repair an item than to get a completely new one.

No one wants to throw away a 200€ dress after three wears because they are sick of it. This will make you consider every purchase more. It feels fine buying a dress from H&M you know you might only wear 2-3 times, but when you invest more in an item, it’s not as disposable and you will feel the need to go for something that will last longer.

You Will Likely Care Better for it

Just like no one wants to throw away something they had to save up for two months, no one wants their expensive hard earned items to break or shrink or lose color. I know myself that tend to be more careful in my handling of delicate silk shirts and cashmere, than with cheaper synthetics. Since we know that one of the most sustainable things we can do with our fashion is to wear it for as long as possible, this is a win.

Do you feel like you handle the purchase and care of a more expensive item differently from a fast fashion one?

What is Ethical Fashion and Why Should I buy it?

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Today, Monday 22nd until Sunday 28th is Fashion Revolution Week. Fashion Revolution is an organization formed by Orsola di Castro??

What is ethical fashion?

To really define ethical fashion is quite hard. I always saw (and still do see) ethical fashion as fashion that focused on social aspects of the fashion process, ethical and fair trade labor, companies that made sure that workers were paid fairly and worked in safe and humane conditions. This is also often the use I see from a lot of brands promoting themselves as ethical.

In its essence though, ethical fashion is a wide definition of designing, producing and distributing fashion with ethics in mind. This means ethical in regard to all. To the planet, the people within the supply chain, as well as animals. Thus it encompasses both eco-friendly/sustainability, cruelty-free and fair labor.

If we look at an example, Everlane is often championed as an ethical brand. The reason for this is that they are somewhat transparent and use ethical factories. So nothing really about the environment or animal welfare. This is what makes the term quite confusing.

Why is it needed?

According to Fashion Revolution  women in the Guangdong region in China (where a lot of fashion is made) have to work up towards 150 hours of overtime every month. In addition, only about 10 percent of them have access to social insurance. In Bangladesh, the workers are only earning about one-fourth of the living wage, about 44£ a month! At the same time, the amount of fashion that is produced per year has more than doubled since the year 2000. In 2014, we bought 60 percent more garments than in 2000, while only keeping each garment for half the amount of time.

No matter if it’s the planet or the people you are more passionate about, these statistics clearly show that the speed of which the fashion industry is moving at is ever increasing and the planet and the people in the industry are paying the price. Fashion is a huge industry and it has the chance to make a great impact if it were to make sustainable changes.

Why is it more expensive?

Today most of us have access to fast fashion and have probably bought a t-shirt for less than 10€. So it makes sense that a lot of people would be shocked to see an ethically produced t-shirt cost four times as much. Ever since fashion was outsourced to cheaper countries, there has been a race for cheaper. When one country’s labor becomes too expensive (ergo, they get better paid), companies simply move their production to another, poorer, cheaper country. Until that country gets better wages and they move onto the next.

Fast fashion has given us a screwed view of what things actually cost because when you shop for fast fashion there is usually someone else paying. When you buy a cheap t-shirt, there really is no room for paying the workers fairly because after material costs and markups there is next to nothing left for the workers. It’s simple math.

This doesn’t mean that all items that are slightly more expensive pay fair wages. It might just be a higher markup to ear more money. But it’s safe to say that if you cannot believe how cheap it is, you can be pretty sure that someone along the line wasn’t paid.

Who made my clothes?

This is the question that Fashion Revolution wants us to pose to our favorite brands. Even though most brands write in which country the item has been produced, very few share who or even in which factory it was produced. A lot of times they do not even know. The supply chains are today a huge net of factories in many different countries and continents and the traceability is lacking. By demanding brands to answer the question of who made my clothes you are demanding a fairer production and a more transparent production.

So who will you be asking?

How you can score new things without buying

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We know that overconsumption is a problem and that we need to find a more circular approach in fashion, as well as buying less in general. So to follow up my latest post about shopping bans I wanted to share some more ideas on how you can get more variety in your closet without buying anything new.

5 ways to renew your closet without consumption

Swapping

Swapping parties have become a huge thing lately, and it’s because they are a great way of both getting rid of things you don’t like anymore or wear enough, while also scoring some new finds. It’s usually free or at a small fee to attend a swap party. If there are none in your area, why not try organizing your own one? Maybe bring together some friends for a swap date or organize one in your office after work.

Borrowing

Another great option to inject a bit of variety into one’s closet without consumption is to borrow clothes. Borrow from friends, parents, siblings, a partner or whatever makes sense to you. For special occasions like weddings and parties, it’s a great idea to look around with your friends to see if anyone has formal wear you could borrow. Borrowing in your friend group can allow you to attend every party with a new dress without straining the environment or your finances. Borrowing is not only for formal though. I do it for everyday things too. Borrowing a cardigan from my mom when I feel cold, or a shirt from a boyfriend to get that perfect oversize fit.

Refashioning

This one requires a certain amount of craft skills, but don’t be put off, you don’t have to be a tailor to refashion or upcycle garments. One simple thing one can do with an item is to dye it in another color. Maybe you can update your old jeans by cropping them or adding some simple embroidery? Take the sleeves off a t-shirt to make a sleeveless top or crop it to make a crop top? If you are good with sewing the sky is the limit! Dresses can be shortened, made into a shirt, made into a top or redesigned completely into a new garment.

Renting & subscribing

Obviously, this option still costs money. However, it is a way of consuming that means less strain on the planet (sharing is caring) and it can help you avoid expensive purchases you only use once. If you have a thing for trends, subscriptions are a great way of exploring trends without having to expand your closet.

Use (all of) what you own

Most of the time we own a lot of clothes that we barely know exist. It is said that we wear 20 percent of the clothes we own for 80 percent of the time. Just by doing a dig through your piles of clothing you can find an old favorite that you forgot about. It’s like finding money in your pocket you didn’t know you put there!

Start getting creative with what you own. Try using and combining items in a way you never did before, dress up casual items, dress down fancier ones, and add an accessory to elevate a look. With just a few clothing items you can come a long way when combining wisely!

Why and How You Should Do a Shopping Ban

Girl in clothing shop

A shopping ban is exactly what it sounds like, a ban from shopping. But the exact rules for a shopping ban tends to differ depending on who you ask. Most people, however, would include any shopping in the form of clothes and apparel, as well as shoes and accessories. Many would also add any items for the home or tech appliances.

So why should you try a shopping ban, and how do you do it?

Why should you do a shopping ban?

There are many reasons for doing a shopping ban, but I would ultimately say that they all include something. And that is sustainability. Ther reasons might be:

Financial sustainability

It’s quite common for people that are in debt or are facing tough financial times to cut their shopping for a shorter or longer period. It allows them to cut their unnecessary spendings from shopping to better their financial status.

Environmental sustainability

More and more people are getting aware of the fact that overconsumption is killing the planet and the people. Buying less stuff will have a positive impact on one’s personal impact on the world. It will mean fewer resources used to produce products for you, as well as fewer things to have to recycle, reuse, repurpose.

Mental sustainability

There is a reason why Marie Kondo and minimalism have become a big trend. Living with less can give you more time for the things that really matter. If you are a shopaholic and only find joy in buying new things all the time a shopping ban can be a great way to kick the bad habit.

No matter why you want to buy less a shopping ban is a great way to detox your shopping habits.

How to do it?

Set clear rules

The first thing to do is to set rules that work for your situation. If you have kids it might be hard to ban all type of shopping you do, but you could decide that purchases for the children are okay, but not for you. Some people think that gifts are okay to buy, as they are not for yourself. Some people include almost all purchases in a ban, even experiences such as travels, concerts and restaurant visits.

If you have any purchases you know will be needed during the time of the shopping ban, it’s a good idea to write out a list of needed items that are exempt from the ban. You might need to buy a bridesmaid’s dress for your best friends wedding, your running shoes are starting to break, or your computer is really old and you do not know if it will survive the time. The rules are for you to have a better experience and to hold yourself accountable.

Be realistic

This one is probably the most important one. You need to be realistic with both the rules of the shopping ban and during the actual process. What works for others might not be for you. I know people who have done modified shopping bans where they are not allowed to buy anything new, but they can buy second hand.

Also, don’t be a Scrooge for things like your health and wellbeing and don’t feel bad if unexpected expenses come up. You might get a bad toothache that will result in expensive appointments. There is nothing you can do about this (except maybe keeping a buffer for unexpected events), so just deal with it and move on. You simply need to give room to life happening, e.g. it’s okay to replace something you really need that breaks, it will not make you a bad person. The ban is a detox, it is meant to change your habits, not get rid of them all together!

Remove & avoid the temptation

Just like when you’re on a diet (not that I really do diets, because they kinda suck) it’s a good idea to remove and avoid all temptation. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

A great first step in removing temptation is to unsubscribe from all sources that usually triggers your shopping behavior. This can mean unsubscribing from e-mails or send-outs from companies, as well as muting or unsubscribing from brands or influencers on social media. Avoiding temptation can mean that you avoid going into stores all together or at least the ones where you usually shop. It can mean that you avoid going to the mall since it might trigger you. Sometimes it might even involve avoiding certain people that seem to trigger your behavior…

Change your habits

Changing your habits and exchanging them for new (healthier) ones is key to remaining the behavior after the ban is over. Otherwise, you risk returning to bad habits once the ban is off. It doesn’t really matter what you fill your time with, you could swap scrolling through online shopping sites for reading a book, or knitting, or whatever that makes you feel good. But try to swap it for something positive. Sometimes we do not understand how much time we actually spend consuming or looking to consume, but if you use that time wisely, you can come a long way!

Remember it’s not forever

Maybe this seems a little bit contradictive to the last point. Obviously, the intention of the ban is to challenge one’s perceptions and habits. Still, remembering that it’s not forever can help deal with it. Hopefully, when later comes and the ban is over, you won’t have the same urge to buy anymore, and you will have a more conscious relationship to shopping.

Find your creativity

When you are not allowed to follow in your old habits of buying new every time you feel uninspired or bored it is vital to get more creative with what you have. If interior decor is your thing, you could get creative by using items from nature, upcycling things (maybe making a nice candle holder from a glass jar?), or simply rearrange the furniture a bit. If clothing is your biggest vice you could try borrowing from friends, refashion things you already own or try find a way to use something in the not intended way (like a dress as a skirt/top…). I have also found help in using the Cladwell app. It can give you suggestions on how to combine the items you have in ways you didn’t think of before.

Are you up for a shopping ban?

April challenge – shopping ban

Shopping mallIf you didn’t know, during April it’s Fashion Revolution Week. It was created as a reminder of Rana Plaza, the clothing factory in Bangladesh that collapsed on April 24th in 2013 killing 1134 people, and tries to raise the question of fair and ethical conditions within the fashion industry. As a way of honoring this week and the horrible conditions many (most) garment workers face today, I decided to make my April challenge a shopping ban.

So why did I decide to do a shopping ban? Well, mostly because over-consumption is one of the biggest problems in fashion today! In the last decades, the consumption of clothing has drastically increased, while the prices and thus salaries for those making the clothes have gone down. One of the best ways of decreasing one’s own impact through fashion is to buy less, so that’s what I’m doing! One month is a pretty short time, but sometimes it’s harder than you think because our entire society is built around shopping and consumption. We are constantly told to renew ourselves, our closets and our homes and this pressure can make even the most conscious person go crazy. For me, one month is a start and probably, I will challenge myself to a longer period soon.

So what does this small shopping ban entail? Well, it means no buying clothes, shoes, accessories, home decor, books or anything. The only thing I am allowed to consume is necessary stuff such as hygiene products, medicine, and food.

Have you ever tried a shopping ban or have you thought about doing one?

2019: monthly challenges

sarah-dorweiler-357715-unsplashNew Years resolutions have never been a big thing for me. Committing to something for an entire year takes a lot of devotion and engagement, which I tend to lack. Instead, this year I will be doing monthly “challenges” to push myself to do and learn more, and in some cases just to push myself to do stuff that I have long been meaning to do but tend to forget when life comes along.

Having a monthly goal, or challenges as I choose to call it, is more sustainable since committing to 30 days of something gives a clearer horizon and you may not feel deprived in the same way since you can just “return to normal” if it’s not for you, without feeling like you failed. So just setting up reasonable goals that you can actually do. You might have heard about SMART goals. SMART goals is all about creating motivational and tangible goals that you can actually reach. SMART was first coined by George T. Duran in 1981 stands for:

S – Specific (or Significant).
M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

So by giving myself a clearer horizon by limiting the time to one month, it feels more attainable. I will also only focus on things that feel relevant to me and my journey, that are very specific for each month and that I will be able to see a result from.

Monthly challenges

January: Veganuary

This is a global challenge and yearly challenge from https://veganuary.com/ to inspire people to eat more vegan. All of January I will eat (or do my best to) eat vegan. To push myself to try something new, to try new recipes, ingredients and how to eat out.

February: Meditate daily

February is a dark month with bad weather, and if you live in the north it’s probably like four months since you saw the sun. So when the SAD (seasonal affective disorder) starts knocking on the door I will spend a month meditating daily. These past few months have been stressful for me and I have felt that my defence against stress is quite low. Hopefully with daily meditation I can improve this.

March: Digital detox 

For the month of March my focus will be on minimising my use of Internet, computers, tablets and phones. My only tech appliances that will not be on the decrease list are my e-reader and my camera. How much I will “detox” is unsure right now. Since Instagram is a big inspiration and I like to read interesting articles online I would not be able to do a full on detox, but I will be avoiding it as much as I feel is viable.

April: Shopping ban

This one is quite explanatory, I will not do any shopping for the entire month. Which of course excludes food, medications and hygiene stuff (I need to survive it!!). No new clothes, no new beauty products, no interior shopping, no unnecessary stuff I can live without.

May: 30-day yoga

I will do a 30-day yoga challenge to really feel the benefits of the practice and stretch out my body. I have done yoga on and off for almost 10 years and even though I love it during and after, I never seem to get into a routine that sticks, so this month I will challenge myself to stick to it and hopefully feel better both physically and mentally.

June: Capsule challenge

For the month of June I will commit to a capsule closet. I have yet to decide the number of items to be used but somewhere between 20-30 is where I am aiming. This years mini capsule challenge felt slightly too constricting for me, so I want to give a bigger and longer capsule a shot.

July: Plastic-free July

Plastic-free July is a quite well known challenge by now, which means that for all of July, the goal is to not consume any plastics. This means no plastic single use items like take away bowls or plastic cutlery. This feels like a tough challenge for me right now, but my hope is that it will teach me more about the low impact living.

August: Reading challenge

One of my goals this year is to read more and for this I purpose I will do a book club for myself, but I will also assign one month of the year for reading even more. When I was a teenager I would read several books a week, but when I started university and had to read large amounts of course literature, I lost the appetite for reading for fun. I want to find the fun in reading again and this is what I am hoping to achieve during this month.

September: Self care September

During September I will focus on taking better care of myself and doing stuff I enjoy. Since fall tends to be very dark and gloomy where I come from it feels like the perfect start to the darker times.

October: Slow-Fashion October

For October I will be challenging myself to be more circular when it comes to my closet. I will be mending broken clothes, tailoring bad fitting ones, upcycle that which is no longer my style or simply make new items. A personal goal for the year is to get better at sewing, so this challenge caters mostly to this. By using what we have better and not wasting fabric is good for the environment and my own economy, as I will feel less a need to buy new.

November: Food challenge

For this month the challenge will be to explore new foods. New recipes, new ingredients, new cooking techniques etc. The goal is to compile 25 new recipes to try out during the month, both breakfast, snacks and dinners.

December: Creativity challenge

When I was a child I was constantly drawing, cutting and pasting. I had subscription boxes for what we in Sweden call “pyssel” which is a somewhat broad word for doing any kind of creative hand-work. During December I want to get creative again, just like when I was a child. Maybe I won’t be gluing beads on a picture frame, but more knitting pot holders, painting, colouring and maybe practice my calligraphy.