I recently had to get a pair of shoes for friend’s wedding and reluctantly ordered a pair from a fast fashion retailer. None of my friends have the same shoe size and all the shoes I saw at the second hand stores were three sizes too small for me. That’s how I justified the purchase to myself. I measured my feet to make sure I got the right size and made sure to get a pair I can use a lot in the future. What of course happened was that the size chart couldn’t really be trusted and I finally realised that as much as I would like to be the kind of person that wears 8 cm high heels, I can’t walk in them! So I now have a pair of ok shoes but it required trying on four pairs and sending them back before I had a pair that fit. My goodness, all that shipping!

So, I think am done with fast fashion. Even when it comes to shoes and underwear, which are basically the only things I’ve bought from fast fashion companies in the past few years. I know some people argue that boycotting it is not the best way to help the women (let’s face it it’s mostly women working in the horrible conditions in those factories) but I will just have to find another way to advocate for them. I can’t support this exploitative, wasteful and polluting system anymore. I will just have to find another way.

I have the advantage and privilege of being able to make my clothes but it’s time consuming for me. I’m a slow seamstress but I also want to take the time to do things properly. At the moment I don’t have the budget to buy clothes from ethical companies. High end fashion is another world in itself that I have a lot of mixed feeling about. So the alternative for me has been second hand clothes. I’ve shopped second hand since my early teens but in the last two it’s been my main source of clothes. There are many problematic aspects of this part of the fashion industry as well but I still think it’s way better than fast fashion.

So far, I’ve only shared the really special second hand pieces. Like my red, green and floral coats. Now I’m thinking I should maybe share the more ordinary pieces (well ordinary for me) to show that it is possible to find those as well. I often hear friends say they would like to shop second hand but that they never find anything. I’m not gonna lie, it takes patience. I might enter a store, browse for half an hour and try on a few pieces but go home empty handed. I might go in looking for skirts and end up trying on a bunch of coats. I now know that it’s best to go to go with my gut when picking up pieces but to be pragmatic in the fitting room. I don’t think about if the garment will work with the ones I already own, I find making random and odd combinations really fun but I am rigorous about fit and materials. As cute as those bright 70s acrylic sweaters are, they need to stay in the store.

This Marimekko shirt and shorts were one of those really luck finds I made last December. I think I payed less than 10€ for both pieces. The shirt is exactly one of those oversized pieces that I would have avoided 10 years ago but I’m slowly learning to appreciate. And as you can see I still don’t like ironing my clothes!

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