Sustainable travel - The Fashion Revolution - Support local designers

Do you travel a lot? Do you love to get free stuff? Do you think if something isn’t free it should at least be inexpensive? We all have said this at least 100 times in our lives “You have to visit XY, it is so cheap”.

When hunting for these super cheap things, we should not forget at what price that comes. Just think of all these markets with rows and rows of stalls selling t-shirts for 1 Dollar. Have you ever asked yourself what it might cost to produce a t-shirt? There are designers, producers, vendors, and what about the cost for cotton, thread, and dye? Do you value people, the environment, and creativity? I do. What do you think? Next time when you are about to buy a cheap t-shirt, will you walk on and not buy it for 1 Dollar? We might not change the world today, but she might become a better place in the future. We all can act responsibly when travelling, one tiny little step at a time.

Sustainable Travel. The Fashion Revolution. Support designers, artisans and local economies.

Join the Fashion Revolution when travelling

Let us talk about the Fashion Revolution. Way back in 2015, I wrote a piece about this to show my commitment. I took a (headless) selfie, wearing my jumper inside out to make a bigger statement. I buy a lot of, clothes when travelling. Like souvenirs, they remind me of a country, of a culture, or of a special moment. When I was in Copenhagen, I bought this Malene Birger jumper. Yes, it had a nice price tag attached, but it was so pretty and soft, I could not resist. I am only human after all. I will wear this for a long time to come. Fast forward to 2020 and I still wear it.

Malene Birger. Woll jumper. Fashion Revolution.

Are you going to join the Fashion Revolution and try to find out who made your clothes from now on? Please, before you buy new stuff, ask yourself whether you would need it that badly. Always research who made your clothes. When in doubt, contact the producer or designer directly. If they are interested in a fair world, they are surely going to answer your quest. Fast fashion producers bring out new stuff almost every week. The more fashion they offer, the more we believe we would need it. We need to change our attitude.

A dull world - the end of fast fashion

It was easy to stop buying fast fashion. Towards the end of 2018, I had the for me wild idea, to not buy clothes for a whole year. By now, we are almost in the middle of 2020. I can look back and say that I did not buy a single item of fast fashion in 2019. By now, my whole outlook on how to treat shopping and clothes changed drastically. In the past, I treated shopping as if it was a hobby. Wherever I went to, I only considered the trip as good, if I got back with a new piece of fashion. Regarding shopping. Over the years it became sadly clear that wherever I go to did not matter that much anymore. I am offered the same wares from the same fashion chain stores in Melbourne, London, Barcelona, Paris, or Cape Town or wherever. Every time I saw an outlet of a fashion chain open somewhere; my heart broke a little.

Who wants to live in such a dull world? I love variety (not in the sense of new styles every two weeks). I want to experience that place I travel to. With buying a piece of fashion on location, I would want to have a memory from the place I travelled to. I will not buy fast fashion any longer. With that decision, I am going to support local designers and economies. We can all do our bit, it is easy. Just say no to fast fashion. People say, 'support local.' It is still a hot trend. It sounds amazing - support local - like being one of the cool kids. If I watch the world around me, people say it but why on earth do they not act coherently? That 'support local' is pretty much everywhere and all over the world. Every day, I wonder how come I see people carrying large shopping bags out of fashion chain stores?

Enjoy more – buy less

Then there are the chain stores telling us to buy more. They pretend otherwise we destroy jobs and income for individuals and families. Do not buy into this sentiment (and don't buy their clothes). They can work out new strategies and come up with new concepts. Look at Madonna, she reinvents herself all the time and that successfully.

By now information is widely available about how much landfill fast fashion creates. We all know how harmful it is for the environment. Everyone could read about under what conditions seamstresses and all labourers involved in producing fast fashion are working. The argument that we do not know about it does not work any longer.

Every time you are about to buy a new item of fast fashion ask yourself a few questions and answer them honestly. Do I need this piece, and if I do not buy it to what extent will my life be horrible because of it? Do I want to deny workers who make my clothes the chance to receive a decent payment? Do I want to create more landfill? Why is this piece special to me and will I love it in years to come?

Opportunity for tourism - locally designed and crafted garments

Same, same but different? Communities and tourism offices all over the world should see the chance in it too. Everyone should ask themself whether they really want to be the same as all the others? With simply supporting local designers and craftsmanship. Countries have this massive opportunity to stand out from the crowd. They should simply dare to be themselves. That is why everyone loves travelling so much. There is a whole world out there. Shopping and design are an integral part of travelling. With buying in far-flung countries, we create memories that will last a lifetime. Maybe (almost certainly) locally designed garments and their story will inspire others to visit that place too.

I would love to paint two different scenarios. You decide which one you love more. Let’s say you just got back from a trip to South Africa.

Scenario A: One day on vacation you saw this locally designed dress. You saw it in that little corner shop in the centre of Cape Town. You had that nice long chat with the salesperson when you bought it. You bought a little piece of South Africa to take home with you. None of your friends or peers back home wears the same dress. Every time you wear it, it puts a smile on your face. You are reminded of the day and the location when you bought it. That moment feels like a little holiday.

Scenario B: You bought a dress at that popular chain store XY in South Africa. You are delighted, due to the exchange rate, it was even cheaper than what you would have paid at home. A few days after your trip, you meet a friend for coffee, who by accident wears the exact same dress. She bought it on her last trip to Barcelona, and you on your last trip to Cape Town. You share a good laugh about the dress. Secretly you decide to hide it in your closet for a few years till the rest of the world forgets about it. Only to later realize it looks totally out of fashion.

What brings you more joy? Scenario A or Scenario B? I believe: Loved Clothes Last.
From Berlin with love