10 Sustainable Trend Proof Investments That Will Last A Lifetime
When Kim Kardashian posted an Instagram post wearing a gold dress that Kanye made for her during a fitting, the caption read: “fast fashion brands, can you please wait until I wear this in real life before you knock off.” Three hours later, fast fashion retailer Missguided posted an image of a model wearing the same exact dress captioned “@kimkardashian you’ve only got a few days before this drops online”.
I won’t even get into the many layers of wrong -from the sustainable angle to the plagiarism one - but the reason I am even talking about this event is because it proves how incredibly fast trends work these days.
Whatever looks hit the runways of global fashion week events, or street style snaps that roam on Instagram worn by the biggest influencers, will inevitably land in fast fashion stores as part of their next collection, which for them is not in 3 months, but a week later. The styles trickle down as the newest trends that will be worn once (maybe twice) on social media by thousands of people and then discarded without a thought in light of new trends. You can’t wear it twice on socials right?! The damage this does to the planet or to the people in the supply chain that are having to keep up with the trends from a production side (because no it’s not a machine making them) without even being able to feed their families is just heart-breaking and ultimate proof of how cheap and disposable clothes have become. The point I’m trying to make however, is that trends, as we have them now, are completely removed from what fashion is all about - a tool for self-expression. We should stop following ‘trends’ and focus on finding our personal style. Find what works for you, invest in some bigger pieces that you will always need and that you know will always be you, know matter what. How do you know? You will have a little Gollum-like ‘precioussss’ moment and instantly know you will love it forever. If you don’t get it, it will haunt you and you won’t be able to stop thinking about it. A good way to start is to invest in your basics and make sure you get really high quality pieces that will last and then build on that adding your favoutite jewellery, building in your favourite colour, the statement bag you will own forever and then pass down to next gen or a friend’s kid - these can be totally personal to you, but everyone needs some good basics to start with.
Here’s 10 things I think make good life-time investments
1. The ultimateT-Shirt
You literally can never go wrong with a white T-shirt. You can dress it up with a blazer or down with a pair of jeans and sneakers, it will always make you feel like yourself for two simple reasons: 1. it’s comfy 2. it’s a blank canvas and you can make it as personal as you like.
There’s a lot of ethical T-shirt companies out there, but the simplest and most comfy ones are by far Organic Basic’s.
2. Damn good denim
Can anyone please tell me why it’s so dang hard to find the right fit? My new theory is that the denim that has been trending for the last year (high waste vintage Levis 501 like denim) looks AMAZING on influencers and models with slim figures and we are bombarded with those images on social media. No matter how hard I try though, they do not fit, because guess what, my hips, thighs, behind and waist are VERY different sizes. Find what works for you, don’t buy into shape that is trending (unless it fits).
3. The forever jumper
Let’s talk about wool. I know a lot of my readers might be vegan, but as life goes things aren’t always black and white. If the animals are treated ethically, shorn at the right time of the year and free to roam pastures the rest - wool is definitely the way to go when you are looking for a durable jumper. Wool is a natural fibre (as opposed to the vegan alternative made from plastic derived from oil) and is therefore biodegradable and renewable. It is also incredibly breathable, making it one of the best fibres to wear through different seasons and it is also-wrinkle free and stain-resistant making it super easy and energy-efficient to care for. I could talk about the benefits of (ethical) wool for days!
When buying a wool jumper, look for the Woolmark logo as the company ensures their farmers use ethical practices. A few good brands to look at are Finisterre, Patagonia, Filippa K, Mother of Pearl, Beaumont Organic and People Tree.
Ah the little black dress - obviously had to include!
I’m going to be honest here and say that I myself am currently on the hunt for an ethical LBD (that won’t cost as much as my rent), but am still struggling to find the right one, it’s got to be just right, you know? I will let you know once I find one, but so far I’ve been scouring charity shops, refreshing the People Tree website and hoping I’ll just come across one on Instagram…
5. A pair of sunnies
You only really need one great pair of sunnies. Take care of them and cherish them forever.
Best bought vintage, but PALA eyewear makes socially conscious sunnies in style.
6. A really good coat
Again, I would go with wool here as it will do it’s job perfectly and last your forever!
7. The ‘I’m here to talk business’ blazer
This is one of my favourites in terms of basics, because the style, cut and look can vary quite a bit and can be completely individual to the person. It can be fitted or oversized, a classic monochrome black colour or a checked print, linen corduroy or tweed - anything! The one in my closet is one of my favourite pieces ever as it has a story. It’s oversized and navy and was my dad’s smoking (suit) jacket from when he was 18. Yes you read that right!
For blazers I advise going down the vintage or second-hand route and maybe even having it tailored slightly, because that’s how you’ll find the most unique ones.
8. The conscious kicks
It’s the kind of pair you live in. The first pair you reach for when running out the door. The only pair that somehow goes with LITERALLY every outfit.
My personal faves that I’ve now had for four years are Veja’s and I highly highly recommend them (they have vegan and non-vegan options)
9. The black heel you can actually dance on
I used to work for a luxury magazine and had to wear heels everyday (even when running around the city with sample returns etc), which fulfilled my Devil Wears Prada fantasies of the time, but not so much my feet’s wellbeing. I then stopped wearing heals for a a few years and had to wear them again for the first time to work the Green Carpet Fashion Awards. I had bought a new pair of RAFA black strappy sandals and was obviously terrified I would regret the decision one hour into the event - I didn’t!!!! I found the sandals so so comfortable, I still can’t get over it.
So yes, my faves are RAFA ( I bought them on sale on Antibad).
10. The statement bag
Again a difficult one in terms of materials - do you go vegan or do you go durable leather? The best alternatives would be too look for wither a natural fibre like Piñatex® or in my opinion pre-loved leather.
For brands, check out Stella McCartney (obviously), Baggu, AAKS, Nannacay, HFS collective and Paradise Row.