In an age of ever-evolving trends and lightning fast fashion, it can be difficult to make sustainable choices when it comes to clothes shopping. As a self-confessed shopaholic and lover of the high street, this is a struggle I face day to day.
I’ve always been a lover of fashion and have long considered shopping to be a favourite pastime. And alas, working in clothing stores over the years has definitely not curbed my appetite for nabbing myself the latest trends. Needless to say, excessive spending, overcrowded wardrobes and some poor purchase decisions ensued. So many promises made to myself (and to my poor boyfriend) were broken every time a delivery of fresh new treasures landed in my lap at work and I couldn’t resist making just one more purchase.
But then last Christmas Day we received a message saying there had been a fire in our apartment. As we leapt into the car to head over, not knowing the cause nor the extent of the damage, we began to list what was left in there we really, truly couldn’t live without. For me? Original family photos I’d brought back with me from Australia of some of the happiest times in my life, particularly one image of our first dog Murphy and I from my childhood (it survived by the way! See below).
Now I’m not saying the fear of potentially losing my entire wardrobe didn’t cross my mind, because it absolutely did. What I realised in that moment was if worst came to worst, and all those clothes I had accumulated were gone, I would be okay. I was safe, my boyfriend was safe and whatever we were about to face, ultimately we were going to be fine.
The damage from the fire was extensive, but we were lucky enough to salvage a lot of our possessions. When I was telling people about what had happened, the general reaction was “Oh my god, your clothes?!?!” And I get it, because I was obsessed with my wardrobe and that wasn’t a secret. But after spending months waiting for access to clear out the apartment, I realised I was living a life of excess and holding onto so many things I absolutely did not need. A house fire is a pretty extreme way to clear out your closet, but perhaps this was the wake up call I needed in order to change my ways.
Now I’m not saying I’ve completely reformed. Yes I still shop, but far from the amount I used to. My awareness of the situation has vastly increased and I would like to be better! So when I received a message from Rajni of Une Echarpe Une Vie about their sustainable luxury scarf brand, I was only delighted to help get the word out about their products and what they do. Most people believe fashion can’t change the world, but it absolutely can help to do some good!
Based in Donegal, Une Echarpe Une Vie (meaning “one scarf, one life”) aims to bring about this good via the medium of fashion and design. Each unique piece is hand loom woven by craftswomen across the globe, in collaboration with fair trade partners in countries such as Laos and the Philippines. These women spend weeks creating each piece; designed from memories, experiences and shows significance to her tribe or village. Plus, by earning up to 40% per scarf, this provides an income for carrying on a traditional art form.
In an age of fast fashion, it’s amazing to see brands encouraging slow fashion by giving something back and providing high quality investment pieces to last a lifetime. And especially with accessories, it’s an ideal way to update and re-style pieces you already own to create a whole new look. Check out the Une Echarpe Une Vie website to learn more – and to shop!
How do you feel about the slow fashion movement and more importantly, how do you adapt your shopping habits in consideration of this? I’d love to learn more and hear your thoughts, so hit me up in the comments!
Until next time,
Photos by Kiera Murphy