Sustainable fashion and the Local Designer, Implications and Opportunities (Continued)
Our last post, dealt with the producer lead aspects of sustainable fashion. In this post, we will be dealing with the consumer lead aspects of sustainable fashion. Here we have the rest of the siblings in our epic love story between Fashion and earth.
- Repair, Redesign and Up-cycle: So far, this is the first aspect of sustainable fashion that is within the buyers reach, and one we believe you are already familiar with. Have you ever altered an old cloth so it could fit you better and you can keep it longer. Be it resizing (popularly referred to as “shaping” in Nigeria), Repairing a damaged Zipper e.t.c. Well, that is what this aspect of sustainable fashion advocates for. The idea is that old articles of clothing not be dumped but reworked or repaired as the case maybe. That way clothes stay in use for a longer time and they are kept away from our waterways and landfills. This is not a new concept in Africa. It is customary for torn clothes to be stitched back and for oversized clothing items to be “shaped”. However fashion outfits such as Suave in Kenya is pushing the concept even farther. The brand makes income from up-cycling old clothes which are turned into unique bags.
2. Rent Lease Swap (ReLeS): This other element is also highly consumer-centrist, in the sense that it can be applied by everyday people. It also comes with the benefit of saving/making us some money. How does it work? Simple instead of buying that expensive dinner dress and only wear it once, why not rent it? That way it gets reused more than it would have been. A typical example is the wedding dress rental system strongly in place in Nigeria. It Saves money and turns out to save the planet too. Swap simply refers to an exchange of old clothing items for new ones. It may be spearheaded by a store where customers can bring in their old clothes and in exchange recieve discounts on new ones. It can as well be pioneered by everyday people. So why don’t you gather your friends and give a try. Yet again this very last suggestion is not completely new to us. Our mothers and aunties used to do it among themselves back in the days. You might want to ask them if you are not sure. A stylist by name Nina Gbor has embraced this aspect of Sustainable fashion. Several times during the year. she organizes a clothing swapping event.
3. Second-hand and Vintage (SeVin): In your heart of hearts we know you are fairly familiar with this one. In lay man’s language it is also known as Hand-me-downs. This very last aspect of sustainable fashion is closely related to the last one. However, as you might have already figured, it advocates that we buy second-hand materials and invest in vintage(clothes that were originally made between the 1900s and the 1980s) pieces. Instead of the new and shiny, attention is placed on the charm of dated pieces. Although in the recent years a lot of African Governments have banned the importation of Second hand clothing items into their shores (and for good measure), truth is that here in Africa you may not even have to go far to seek out these truly timeless pieces. All you have to do is to search through your mama’s old clothes and perhaps pay nothing more than a simple “thank you”
At this point it is important to mention that the ideal of sustainable fashion is that two or more of these aspects be combined in the production f each garment. Note also that each aspect discussed has room for the interplay of both the buyers and the sellers.
So going back to the epic story we began with, and with all that has been discussed so far, we can say that the key the happy ending of the love story between earth and fashion lies in our Hands.