This may be a surprise to some – particularly those who knew me during secondary school – but I love fashion. I’m intrigued by the theatre of runway shows, the constant updating and sometimes complete metamorphoses of brands (just look at what’s happening to Céline), the hundreds of glossy adverts in my monthly Harper’s Bazaar issue.
As cliché as it sounds, I think I did have a bit of a fashion awakening. Back in 2016, on a trip to New York, my mum and I visited the Manus x Machina exhibition (linked to the Met Gala of that year). I was captivated by the beautiful creations on display, the mix of Haute Couture with Pret-a-Porter, handmade with machine sewn. As I walked back down the iconic steps of the museum, clutching the companion book which I had purchased as a rather unwieldy souvenir, a slideshow of all the fantastical creations that I had just seen whizzed through my head. It was the highlight of the trip.
Fast forward to now: I’m going into my third year of studying English Literature at Newcastle University, and my personal style is finally becoming a bit more adventurous! Perhaps that’s because I live with three fabulous housemates, all with their own sense of style; I’m making baby steps to really express my own taste through what I wear. Finally, I feel more like a participant than a spectator.
But isn’t this blog called The Green Mode? Isn’t the tagline ‘Switching to sustainable style’?Ok, I’ll finally get to the point. This blog is not really about my personal style evolution (although it will include that, of course). Recently, I’ve become a bit preoccupied with my consumption, and how that links with the most pressing issue the world is faced with today: climate change. Perhaps it was the long, hot summer that we had in Britain this year, which although glorious at the time, highlighted that we are affecting our planet in a tangible way. Perhaps it was the headlines about Burberry, and other brands, burning millions of pound worth of excess stock in order to protect their brand identity. Perhaps it’s because of that episode of Blue Planet which we all saw, showing the shocking impact of single use plastics in our oceans.
It was during a conversation with my dad when all of this crystallised. I was criticising the mass production intrinsic to so many ‘fast fashion’ brands, when he interrupted me to ask, ‘but don’t you still buy clothes from ASOS and Zara?’ Not only was I pretty surprised that he’d actually remembered the names of places I shop at, he’d also effectively shocked me out of complacency.
It definitely shut me up.
Because I do. I shop at Zara, Topshop, Urban Outfitters, ASOS. Sometimes I go a little further upmarket to Kurt Geiger (for my beloved shoes), Levi’s and L.K.Bennett. And I rarely, if ever, think about where those clothes come from.
That’s what this blog is for. Not to be sanctimonious or preachy, or to try to dictate what people do or do not wear. It’s for me to keep track of my efforts to shop more sustainably on a student budget, and I’ll also be looking into what the bigger brands are doing to improve their footprint. I’m going to keep an eye on the runways too – just because a brand charges more, doesn’t mean they’re actually putting in the legwork on sustainability.
This issue is deeply important, not just for me personally, but for our entire planet. It’s time to take notice and make a difference.
So! If you’ve read all of that and you are still interested, then stay tuned…