Sustainability in Plus Size Fashion

I’m currently in the throes of planning my outfit for the Curve Fashion Festival. Yes, I know, I left it a little late, but my initial ideas have gone up on smoke and I’m moving a little more hurriedly now. 

But all of this got me thinking – mostly about sustainability, about fast fashion, about fashion in general. And how we’re distracted by new and shiny, and buying and, that it’s not great for our environment. So, whilst I was planning on talking about wine and food today, instead I’m going to be waffling about plans I have to fix some of this in my own life. 

I mean, we’re all looking at cutting out plastics from our lives, or at least lessening their use. But fashion is full of them. Jewellery, bags, shoes, clothes, tights and stockings. And, whilst I don’t think we’ll ever be able to cut things like plastics out of our lives, I’m going to start thinking more sustainably in general when it comes to my choices. I’d like to say this is as well thought out and planned article, but I suspect it’s mostly going to be waffle, because as you’ll see, it’s not going to be easy. 

Stop buying new:

I’m going to try at least. There are some things I’ll just have to buy – tights, stockings, underwear, gym gear. The latter especially as it’s just not been available for plus size people for such a long time. I’ll not buy as much maybe, but if my leggings wear out, I’m going to just have to buy them. But I will aim for quality over quantity still, and for things that match colours already in my wardrobe, rather than my current ‘ooh pretty!’ attitude which has me buying one thing, then having to build outfits around it. 

Vintage/Secondhand:

OK, this is going to be a challenging one, especially if you’re not a ‘small’ fat. We as plus size people tend to hold onto our clothes. We wear them until they are full of repairs, and knackered beyond all recognition. This is mostly due to the fact that we can’t get hold of stuff in our sizes, so when we find something, and it looks good, and it’s comfortable, we keep it, we love it, and we wear it until it’s hanging on by a thread.

We are, however, rather thrifty. And we’ll sell what we don’t love so much, or donate it to charity. So I can trawl the charity shops (I already do that), but I’m looking at kicking off a series of plus size clothes swaps in Manchester from January. I’m currently looking for a venue, but if you’re interested, let me know. 

Stop buying disposable:

I’ve phrased this very carefully. I have stuff from ‘fast fashion’ shops that I’m still wearing four or five years later. I have stuff from supermarket brands that I’m still wearing ages later. This is not about cheap. Durability isn’t always indicated by price point. This is about wearing stuff once, choosing to wear stuff that will only be worn a handful of times, and be fit for the bin. This again, isn’t going to be easy. Hands up if you’ve bought something that you expect to last for ages, that falls apart, stains, or loses it’s shape? Yep, me too. Sometimes shit happens. But I’ll do all I can to ameliorate that. Check fabric, check stitching, check price – although as mentioned above, that’s not always a telling factor. 

Go For More Natural Fibres:

I’m writing this wearing a polyester crepe dress (synthetic), in a pair of tights (synthetic) and a pair of knee boots (natural/synthetic mix). My gym gear is full of synthetic fabrics – many of which are now being found as microplastics. The fabrics naturally shed as they wear. And whilst they are more durable than natural fibres like cotton, they are also more difficult to recycle – another reason why if something is no longer useful to you, it should be sold on, or donated to charity for someone else to use. So I’m adding more natural fibres to my list – it’s not always going to be possible, but just being aware of what I purchase is a step in the right direction. 

Stop being Distracted by Shiny and New:

This covers more than just my wardrobe. Whether it’s new stuff for home that I don’t need, clutter, bits. Think more about what I need than what I want. This will maybe have the bonus effect of keeping money in my bank account for more than five minutes. 

Maybe.

 

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