Why I don’t want you to buy my products…
Lou Lea, Founder of TABBY FIREFLY
Sounds counterintuitive, right? A small business owner asking readers not to buy their products? Let me explain…
I had a moment in 2018. I was at a plastic pollution conference here in Portsmouth and for most of it I found I was pretty knowledgeable about plastics. Until a speaker said that every time you wash a product made from synthetic materials microplastics are released into the water. Every time. I felt helpless; I didn’t know half the problem.*
That nugget of information led me to completely change my attitude to clothes. A former fast fashion addict, I’d already given up my habit of buying clothes when I needed a pick-me-up. But I’d fallen for some greenwashing and still frequented high-street stores. Now? I wear and love everything I already own and I’ve slowed my consumption, consciously studying the fibre content and production methods for every garment I buy.
I’m not perfect but I’m on a journey. I believe it’s better for lots of people to do something imperfectly than one person do everything perfectly. It can be overwhelming to do it all at once and easy to be hard on yourself, but it can take just one (low energy) lightbulb moment to spark a real change in your habits.
The word “sustainability” is overused and means different things to different people. Real sustainable fashion goes beyond using some natural materials in a garment. It’s more than hanging a label saying ‘eco-friendly’. Broadly, with fashion, you’re looking for four key elements: protecting the environment, respect for people in the supply chain, ethical production processes and complete transparency.
Next time you walk past a high-street store with displays claiming they ‘care’, take a moment to really read it. Is it strangely vague? Do they use words like ‘strive’ to describe their efforts, when they’re a multi-million pound company that could easily make a difference?
Instead of buying new, I ask you to see how you can use pre-loved clothes. As well as our wealth of retro, vintage and charity stores, there are several sustainable fashion businesses in Southsea.
These brilliant people keep the pound in the community and help reuse what’s already been made. If you want to shop for something that’s been upcycled by a talented local, visit Hannah Southsea, POLLYnOGG, or Underdock online or at a local market. If you have something tired that still fits, get some sew-on patches from Dress Code or new buttons from Seeded.
And if you’re sure you need something new, I mean really sure, take a look at Southsea-based tabbyfirefly.com
or Tweedy Clothing for consciously made clothes that are built to last.
*Still have synthetic garments in your wardrobe? You can help by 1) washing clothes less and 2) using washing bags that capture the rogue plastic fibres
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