The Importance of Shopping Sustainably and Independently

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a while now and have been really excited about it, hence me posting it in the middle of the week as a bit of a bonus post. The reason for this is the incredible top I am wearing in these photos. I picked it up at a store in the Gracia region of Barcelona, called the 8pm Store, conveniently situated just next to the apartment we were staying in, off my cousins recommendation. The 8pm Store is an independent concept, fashion store, stocking clothes all of which have been designed sustainably in Barcelona as well as an art exhibition. The clothing in the store was so cool and being in the store itself was an amazing experience. Plus, the owner was so friendly, explaining to me more about the idea and logistics behind the store, also gifting me a free postcard from their last exhibition, which was such a nice touch and really made me feel happy for the rest of the day.

This experience got me thinking about why it is so important to support independent fashion. I would never have had an experience like that in a high-street store and because fashion is a really creative thing for me, it’s so inspiring to have a shopping experience like I did in The 8pm Store. Another really great shopping experience I had was also on my travels this year back in March when I went to Edinburgh at Armstrongs Vintage. I was also recommended to this shop by a friend, this is definitely the best way to find places to go when travelling from my experience, and it was probably (definitely) the best vintage shop I’ve ever been to. It was huge and the choice was incredible, from costume dress to the most incredible vintage denim. This is where I picked up the jeans I’m wearing in this photo, they’re by YSL and cost me a mere £20. I have pretty much always been looking for the perfect pair of white jeans and these are them. I had to get them taken up, which wasn’t expensive, but altering is definitely always worth it as a piece that fits you properly will mean you want to wear it more often and longer.

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

I realise I’ve spent the first half of this post gushing over these two shops, they’re seriously worth the fangirling though, so I’m going to move on to what this post is actually about, why shopping sustainably and independently is important. We all know the horrors of fast-fashion, from horrendous factory conditions to the colossal environmental effect, so I’m not going to guilt-trip you with any statistics. Especially because I still very much buy clothes from fast fashion retailers, it’s the most convenient and affordable way to shop and as much I’ve tried to avoid it, I just can’t at the moment, partly because financial reasons and partly because of selfish ones. So, instead, I’m making a conscious effort to support sustainable and independent shops and brands more often as well.

The most expensive sustainable fashion tends to be the brands who have built themselves on this ethos because it’s expensive being ethical in every single way and that’s just the way it is. I’m talking about the likes of Reformation and Everlane. The 8pm Store falls into this category of store though and although it’s more expensive than your average high-street store, it’s still really affordable. The top I’m wearing in this photo, which is handmade and of incredible quality, cost me between €35-40 (I can’t remember the exact amount), which is definitely more than I would spend on a piece like this at a high-street store. But I was willing to pay not only for this top that I love, but for the experience of being in the shop and the sustainablity behind the piece. This is something that can be hard to take into account when you put a similar piece from an independent, sustainable designer next to a Topshop piece for a fraction of the piece but I personally think, if you’re able to, it’s 100% worth supporting the former for the reasons I’ve just mentioned.

However, most of the time I’m just not able to buy expensive pieces, which often means I resort to the high-street. But another option is something that I love and have found some of my favourite pieces I own from, charity shops. They’re so unbelievably cheap AND you’re supporting a good cause by buying from them. My favourite pair of jeans cost £2 from a charity shop and the cost per wear is definitely in the minus’ now. Although charity shopping can be time consuming, I’ll often set out an entire afternoon or morning to go and look around the charity shops, it’s so rewarding and can help you save so much money that it’s 100% worth it. I know people are sceptical of charity shops but you won’t believe the gems you’ll find in there and most of the things haven’t been worn or have barely been worn so there is no need to worry about that aspect of it. Obviously, as well, it’s by far the most sustainable way to shop.

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

Moving on to the second part of the title of this post, shopping independently. This is something that I am very good at whilst travelling but pretty poor at when at home. At home I’m all too temped to revert to the trusty high street but on holiday, shopping independently is an amazing way to get to know the place you’re in. The predominant way that I shop independently at home is through charity shops and vintage shops. Both of the places I am based, Liverpool and Manchester, have a great array of independent clothing stores that don’t fall into the categories just mentioned and are a little more expensive but I think it’s just getting into the habit and mindset of shopping there.

Nevertheless though, I still try and make an effort to shop independently because, as I mentioned, there’s nothing better than having an amazing shopping experience and independent shops definitely offer that more than chains do. Plus, they give a place character. Whenever I go away, whether it’s in the UK or abroad, I always try and steer away from what I’m going to call the ‘chain area’ of the city and venture out to the areas that actually feel like you’re in a different place. I’d hate anywhere I live to not have this feel at all and if we don’t support these independent businesses then they’ll no longer exist.

Here’s a list of some of my favourite independent stores, from fashion to all sorts of other things with links to their websites/social media:

  • The 8pm Store, Barcelona (Fashion/Art)
  • Armstrongs Vintage, Edinburgh (Fashion)
  • COW Vintage, Liverpool, Manchester and Various Other Places (Fashion)
  • Utility, Liverpool (Home/Gifts)
  • Chapter One, Manchester (Bookstore/Cafe)
  • Fred Aldous, Manchester (Art/Gifts)
  • Park St in Bristol has the best independent vintage shops, I can’t choose just one from the one time I’ve visited (Fashion)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and that it’s given you some encouragement to head down to your local independent clothing store, or try and shop a little bit more sustainably! You won’t regret carving some time out to visit your local charity shops or vintage shops to grab a bargain. Even if you go high-street shopping afterwards, you’ve probably saved yourself some money by buying something second-hand and you’re helping to save the world a little bit at the same time, so it’s a win-win. I’d love to hear your favourite independent shops or the best ways, in your opinion, to shop sustainably in the comments or on social media! As mentioned, I’m by no means perfect with this and am not claiming to be so any tips and recommendations are very welcome!

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

 

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

Top- Dreamers Not Allowed

Jeans- Vintage YSL, Armstrongs Vintage

Shoes- Vans

Sunglasses- Mango

Hair Clips- Accesorize

Necklace- Alex Monroe

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

This outfit is probably my favourite out of all of the outfits I wore in Corfu so I’m really excited to finally share it on my blog. Sorry if you feel as though I’m dragging the holiday content on a little bit but I’ve had a busy few weeks since I got back and so didn’t have time to share the blog posts all at once but I do want to share all of the blog posts I planned because I like how the photos have come out for the most part! But I promise there’s only one more week of content from Corfu coming up. Although, I have just booked a trip to Barcelona in 3 weeks so there will be more holiday content before you know it.

Anyway, as mentioned this happens to be one of my favourite outfits I wore in Corfu and I’m so happy with how the photos have come out. I was actually expecting this to be my least favourite outfit from the trip seeing as it’s the most basic, just a t-shirt and a skirt. But maybe that’s just what I feel most myself in? I’m also a big fan of colour co-ordination, as you might be able to tell from past outfits I have shared, and baby blue is one of my favourite colours to wear so it’s unsurprising how much I love it.

I think the main reason I’m so happy with these photos is the location. Luckily, the hotel we stayed in in Corfu (Gretocel Eva Palace) was so beautiful and had a pastel colour palette of dreams. This particular location was on my route from the beach to my hotel room every day and I was eyeing it up for a while before I took these photos here. Pinky/peachy walls, which are a common feature of Corfu’s architecture, along with white railing, wicker chairs and a bit of greenery are my idea of an aesthetic dream and made me feel like I was on the French Riviera during the 1950s. The setting actually feels reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night which, although I personally think is painful plot-wise, provides some beautiful imagery of the south of France in the 1920s.

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Speaking of France, you may have noticed the slogan on my top, of which I have dedicated this blog post to, is in French. It’s one I picked up from & Other Stories, as you might have seen in my blog post on the new bits in my wardrobe, that I was immediately attracted to because I am always a lover of white T-shirts, anything baby blue and the French language. I obviously had to google translate the writing in the changing rooms to ensure it didn’t say something like ‘Pizza is life’ and was pretty pleased to find out it translated to ‘Sunset Boulevard’ as I think that’s pretty non-offensive and maybe even a little bit cool? The French language has always been something I’ve wanted to learn as I’m fascinated by it and the culture of France, you might even call me a Francophile! Although my GCSE in French put me off a little bit (2 hours straight weekly of copying from a textbook and equally painstakingly boring tasks was far from enjoyable), it’s always been a goal of mine to have a decent understanding of the language. Not only is the language in itself beautifully romantic (a cliche but one that holds lots of truth) but I would love to live in France one day, not forever but for a few months or a year or so and so obviously knowing the language would be necessary. Apart from said GCSE French and inevitably failed attempts to complete DuoLingo, my French language skills don’t go very far. Maybe (hopefully) this will be the year when I take this goal of mine a little bit more seriously and attend some real-life classes or something like that. Let me know if you’ve ever learnt a language independently or in an unconventional way (i.e. not as part of your full-time education) and if you have any tips for doing so as I’d love to hear them!

France seems like such an inspiring place to be creatively and I think spending an extended period of time there, namely in Paris, would be so good for me. It’s something I really hope I’m able to do when I finish university. I have considered a year abroad but if I was to live there I’d want to dedicate most of my time to being creative in ways that don’t involve my degree so I’ve ruled that out. But I hope I’m able to live out this dream one day, learning the language would certainly be a good start!

Anyway I thought everything in these photos came together quite nicely, from the French slogan tee with the Riviera esq location, to the vintage style sunglasses and skirt with the old-fashioned feel colours and style of this part of the hotel. I’m now off to play, if you can call it that, on DuoLingo in hopes of fulfilling my Parisian dreams!

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Boulevard Du Soleil Couchant

Top- & Other Stories

Skirt- Topshop (it’s now £15 in the sale!)

Bag- Zara

Sunglasses- Primark (similar here)

Shoes- New Look (old)

 

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New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

I have been shopping A LOT during the month of May. Not that I don’t shop during other months but I really have gone a bit crazy, for me anyway, over the past few weeks. I think it’s because, firstly, I’ve started exercising more and eating healthier so am feeling better about what I look like in clothes, secondly, because I’ve been saving up some of my wages, and thirdly, because of the change in weather and the fact I’m going to Corfu this week (eek!). Because I’ve picked up quite a few bits in a short space of time, I thought I’d share them with you! You might have seen some of them styled already on my blog or on Instagram and if you haven’t, you certainly will have in the next few weeks. I’m really happy with everything I bought because some things have filled gaps in my wardrobe and others are just beautiful pieces that I feel great in and adore.

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

Starting with these incredible vintage jeans because LOOK AT THEM! I picked them up from Cow Vintage in Liverpool after spotting them on my way out of the shop for only £14. I immediately grabbed them and took them to the changing rooms and they fit like a glove. This must be the best feeling when vintage shopping as it can sometimes be a disheartening process of trial and error. They’re my favourite style of jeans, a straight leg with frayed hems but with this added super cool star print. I really didn’t need another pair of jeans in my wardrobe but these are so cool, and a little different from your average pair, that I just couldn’t leave them behind.

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

After bagging those incredible jeans, I realised, to my excitement, that COS have opened a store in Liverpool and went in to have a look. The store itself is beautiful, so airy and light and totally fitting with the feel of the store. As most of the colours of their clothes are fairly neutral, this pink top stood out to me, along with its stripes as I wear striped tops so frequently. It only cost £15 and I got it in a size small so it fits nice and loosely. This top is unfortunately out of stock on the COS website so you might have to go into store for this one. They do have the yellow version online here as well as the navy version.

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

I finished this trip, with the reason it started, by heading to Zara to find this dress that I had been swooning over online. I’m so into cream dresses with tortoiseshell buttons at the moment and Zara have an incredible collection. After trying on a few button down midi dresses in some other shops and just not being able to find the right one, I had a good feeling about this one because the neckline and the sleeves are a little bit more interesting than some of the more shapeless ones I’ve tried on. I didn’t actually try it on in store because, as you can probably imagine if you’ve ever been to the Liverpool store, the queues for the changing room were ridiculous. So I bit the bullet and paid £35 for the dress (I had £5 left on a Liverpool One voucher to put towards it) and I’m so glad I did because I feel so great in it and I now its going to be a real stand out piece for my summer holidays. I bought it in a size XS if you’re interested.

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

Next is a piece that I actually bought a few weeks ago now (it might have even been at the end of April but I thought I’d include it in this post anyway). I’d spotted it on Instagram a couple of times and had been eyeing it up on the H&M website for a few weeks before deciding to go into store to try it on and buy it. To my delight when I arrived at the store, it had been reduced from £35 (the price I was expecting to pay for it) to £15, which is an absolute bargain because it feels as if it’s good quality and blazers can often be pricey! Baby blue is one of my favourite colours to wear in the summer and I have got tons of wear out my grey check blazer so I thought it made sense to update it for summer. The blazer is still available to shop online here but it’s unfortunately gone back up to full price- I obviously got really lucky!

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

I’ve been keeping my eye out for a new beach cover up for my upcoming holidays for a while now and I knew I wanted some kind of shirt. This one from H&M fits the bill perfectly. I bought it in a size 16 so it fits really oversized like a dress and I think it would actually look really nice one evening on holiday. It cost £12.99 which I think is pretty decent for a shirt that can be worn in so many different ways. You can shop it online here.

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

This one is a bit of an unusual piece for me because animal print isn’t really my thing. But I saw the dress version of this top on the Topshop website and was leaning towards it for a while. When I went into store to try and find it though, I was told that they no longer stocked it, which I was a bit gutted about. I spotted (get it? spotted? leopard spots?) the top version and wasn’t so sure about it on the hanger but it’s really flattering on and I actually think the top will be much more versatile than the dress would have been. It’s the perfect piece for a night out and can really elevate any outfit. It cost £19 and I got it in a petite size 8. You can shop it online here.

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

Moving on to & Other Stories, I had *a bit*of a spree in their Manchester store the other day. I absolutely love the brand and the store experience however I usually restrict myself from buying too much, or anything, because it is more expensive than your average high street store. But I really do think there’s a reason for this- the clothes are great quality and trend-led but also have a sense of timelessness to them. Anyway, the first piece I picked up was this knitted black tank top with tortoiseshell buttons (if you can’t tell I kind of have a thing for them). I tried a similar, more expensive, version on of this in Urban Outfitters but the quality wasn’t nearly as good as this one, nor was the fit. I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of this over summer, and maybe even layered up in the winter. It was £23 and I got a size 8 (I think- the European sizes in & Other Stories confuse me endlessly). It’s available to buy here.

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

I also bought this white printed t-shirt which I was immediately drawn to because, as mentioned, baby blue is my favourite colour for summer and white t-shirts are something I get the most wear out of in the summer months. Of course, I couldn’t be sure about this top till I knew what the French meant. But after a quick google translate to find out it meant ‘Sunset Boulevard’, I decided this was very cool and something I wouldn’t be embarrassed to translate for people, which is good as it’s never fun to be living in fear of someone asking what your the writing on your top means for it to be something cringe-worthy. Or even worse, you having no idea! So I’ve got my damage limitation sorted with this one. I also got it in a size 8 for the price of £23. Shop it here.

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

Then I bought ANOTHER striped top (although I did actually purchase this one before the COS piece- sorry for the lack of chronology within this post). You can’t really tell in the photos but this one has navy stripes and it’s a bit more slim fitting than some of the other ones I own so I thought it would be nice for more formal occasions. Plus, I really do wear striped tops so often that I could never have enough because there constantly in the washing pile. Again, in a size 8, costing £23. They have it available online here.

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

Moving on to this skirt of dreams!! I swooned over a similar skirt from & Other Stories last year but never picked it up because of the price tag. But this year, when I spotted this extremely similar one, I decided to go for it. With this classic print that will never go out of style because it isn’t anything in particular and the on-trend tortoiseshell buttons (here I go again), it’s really the perfect piece for summer in my opinion. Also, serendipitously, they didn’t have my usual size, an 8, only a 10 but it fit perfectly, which I took as fate because I needed a bit of a push to hand over the £49 this skirt cost. They have most sizes available online here.

New In My Wardrobe | May 2018

Last but not least, I ordered this bag, a little bit impulsively off ASOS. My current go-to black bag, a bucket bag from Zara, is being held together by sellotape at the moment so I’ve been keeping my eye out for a new one. This satchel style bag fit the bill perfectly- it’s a great size, roomy but not annoying to carry around. Plus it has croc print and gold hardware, both of which I love. Buy it on ASOS here.

I hope this post hasn’t inspired too many impulse purchases but if it has, let me know in the comments! Summer styling is my favourite and it’s always the time I spend the most money on my clothes so I tend to let myself go a bit wild every so often. You’ll see these pieces styled on my blog and Instagram over the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that!

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