You wouldn’t think that the sweater you wear or the boots you pull on before leaving the house could play a part in generating a positive change in the world. But the simple choice to select a pre-loved item of clothing, or to delve into the bargain bin at your nearest thrift shop, could be more impactful than you think. It’s an ethos embodied by the team at Hunter Markets, and part of a wider movement to support small business, slow fashion, and sustainability across the community.
Veronica Tucker The Label owner and designer Veronica Tucker runs her sustainably-minded Australian fashion label from Melbourne. She said two of the biggest benefits of buying second-hand or repurposing clothing was reducing textile landfill and supporting local business.
In a year plagued first by bushfires, and then a global pandemic, consumers have a newfound appreciation for where their food and fibre comes from, and the impact it has on the planet.
“After the terrible bushfires at the beginning of this year and then the pandemic, Australians are only realising now how much we as a country rely on offshore production. If we can bring some of that production back to our shores we can not only support local businesses and jobs, we can also control our economy better in difficult times instead of relying on other countries,” Veronica said. “So anything we can do to support local creatives and reduce textile waste is a great initiative.”
Veronica is right.
Much like using a keep cup for your daily coffee, metal straws instead of plastic, and ditching single use plastic where possible, buying locally produced ‘slow fashion’ items or thrifting your clothing can help ease the burden of climate change.
“The main difference between fast fashion is the volume of production and the effect it has on our environment,” Veronica said. “Fast fashion is made in large quantities in developing countries using cheap fabrics and even cheaper labour. Slow fashion is made in small quantities in developed countries utilising natural, biodegradable fabrics. Whilst also paying skilled artisans and workers a living wage, not just a minimum wage."
“Fast fashion focuses on trend-driven designs that come and go whereas slow fashion focuses on timeless designs that have longevity season after season, and are therefore less likely to be thrown away.”
Veronica said her business was driven by what her consumers desired, with shoppers paying close attention to where their fashion comes from, and how it’s made. “I truly believe that most brands take advantage of the ignorance and lack of knowledge that consumers have of how fashion industry works,” Veronica said. “Consumers are realising that they have power in how they spend their money and what businesses they choose to support.”
So next time you reach for a $5 t-shirt at that chain store, think about the change you'd like to see in the world, and if you'd like to see it looking savvy and smart in a thrifted, pre-loved outfit.
The Earth will thank you for it.
Words by Madeleine Stuchbery