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sustainable denim

To get my head around my new way of thinking, how to start to shop sustainably, I decided to hook up with Stylist & Personal Shopper Lauren Jobling. Lauren has a lot of personal clients she takes shopping but recently she’s found that women are asking for more sustainable pieces to wear. With this in mind, she now offers a Charity Shop Crawl option to her services. This is the service I was most interested in as I want my future clothing purchases to be sustainable, plus I wanted to see where Lauren would take me on this new journey of mine.

Lauren met me in East Londons Brick Lane, (which happened to be one of my fav haunts back in the day as a single woman). We had a chat about what difference was between vintage & 2nd hand clothing and what the difference was. I don’t think many people truly know the difference so I thought I’d clarify it below:


What is the definition of ‘Used’ clothing?

  • 2nd Hand Clothing: Previously owned ‘used’ clothing which could be 3rd or 4th hand, clothing you’d find in a charity shop. It can be anything from a year old to 10 years old. Prices should be lower than the original retail price.
  • Vintage Clothing: Starts at the ’80s back to ’70s, ’60s, ’50s and you’ll pay a premium price for the age.
  • Antique Clothing: Before Vintage, 100 years would make anything an ‘Antique’ and price would reflect on the quality of the piece.
  • Retro Clothing: Don’t be confused as ‘Retro Clothing’ is mostly new clothing with a nod back to a vintage era.

So Lauren took me to a Vintage Department Store called ATIKA that had a very large selection of vintage denim. Watch the video below to see our shopping trip and how I got on.

Whatever your reason for shopping second-hand remember Lauren’s tips

  • Don’t just stick to women’s clothing experiment with mens clothes too.
  • Forget about sizing if the garment fits then go for it.

If your one of my US readers and visiting London for a short time, I really recommend you BOOK a Charity Shop Crawl to be taken to the best vintage and charity shops in London: Get in touch with Lauren Jobling Styling for more info email [email protected]

This shopping trip has really opened my eyes to just how much second-hand clothing there is out there and has got me looking for answers to the following question.


Is buying ‘Used’ or ‘Pre Owned’ clothing sustainable?

I think that there are a few levels to this answer, for instance, the Levis 604 jeans I bought are made from 100% cotton (not mixed with any other fibres) but they were not made in a sustainable way. The intense amount of water to grow the cotton, wash the fabric, chemicals used in the dying processes, fabric waste during construction and the transport to wherever they were originally going all adds up making this non-sustainable.

But the sheer sustainable intent of buying these second-hand jeans and stopping them going to landfill makes their journey sustainable. I mentioned ‘Carbon Footprint’ in the video and it’s only really now I understand how that can happen.

Emma Slade Edmonson – Founder of @charityfashionlive / Sustainable Fashion Consultant said “It’s proven that keeping clothing in use longer and preventing it ending up in landfill can reduce your ‘carbon footprint’ by a significant amount as much as 15/20%” stats from WRAP.

I asked the same question to ‘Charity Shop Magpie’ @heybooisaid. I wanted you to hear his brilliant answer as it sums up the question nicely.

” In an ideal world, we would only have brands that exist which have been, and are continuing, to practice in a sustainable manner. Unfortunately, we are past that point. The damage is already done and the blueprint in place for irresponsible practices and a throwaway culture. To answer your question and what I imagine you may be writing about- I would never say that shopping second-hand is as/more sustainable than shopping truly sustainable brands, as of course many (probably most) second-hand clothes have already caused plenty more eco-damage in production than a sustainable item has. BUT there are billions of items out there already which can be put to use (many are currently thrown away or left unused) and so shopping second hand for me is without a doubt a proactive way to deal with the mess we already have made and a valid part of the sustainable conversation (whereas I see truly sustainable brands as what I hope the future can be and what the past should’ve been) Second hand also is also an alternative way to reduce further consumption, which I feel is in spirit of the word ‘sustainability’ itself – which is about preserving resource for generations to come. I’m still learning too!! Good to know you are part of the conversation too 💜”


So if your a sustainable virgin like myself and needed some questions answered I hope that’s started the sustainability ball rolling for you as it has with me!

Feel free to comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

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