the sentimentality of sustainable clothing

Whenever I buy a new ethical piece of clothing I can’t help having more of an attachment to it. If it’s not from a charity shop especially, it has meant that I’ve saved up for it and mulled over buying it (or not buying it) for a while and thus is assumes a fairly special place in my wardrobe. But… is there more of a sentimentality attached to sustainable clothing?

When I look at my wardrobe I find myself thinking – could I ever sell this or give it away? Will my style still evolve? Since starting sixth form my style has become incredibly personal to me, more so than ever before perhaps because of the range of individual personalities at my college. There are 4000 people there and nope I’m not kidding, there really is that many people for two years of education so you can imagine the amount of 16-18 year olds trying to assimilate one another in an attempt to define or re-define themselves. Throughout the year I’ve shunned my old Topshop jeans in favour of flaring trousers, long skirts and oversized jumpers; although the jumpers are definitely not a new addition to my wardrobe. My style has gradually become more ‘individual’ as I’ve left behind the confines of a secondary school where you definitely felt an outsider if you didn’t wear anything other than Topshop Joni Jeans and a leather jacket. This doesn’t mean my style hasn’t been influenced, it has just been influenced in different ways and ways that lend themselves to an increased sentimentality.

With discussions of sustainable jewellery it depends on where, who and why you bought the necklace etc. to determine how sentimental it is. Is it your mothers heirloom passed on? Did you buy it on a special occassion? We don’t however usually associate these things with fashion; this being said, I do have an increased sentimentality towards items of clothing that have been passed down from my mum which leads to a probably better system of care that I impart onto them.

With fast fashion, we don’t necessarily associate a deep connection with the clothes that we wear unless they’re a prom dress or bought with a memory attached to them but it isn’t so deep rooted that it’ll stop me selling it 0n Depop. Yet, delving into my wardrobe now and the question of – ‘can I really put this on Depop when it comes to the end of its lifecycle?’ doesn’t quite come to mind. My fast-fashion items of old I would consider to me more at my disposal.

The stories that clothes have can be influential when considering the garments outcome when it comes to the end of its usage as a garment, Dalal wrote a gorgeous post titled the ‘Biker Jacket for Uncool People‘ and the anecdotes of the items she was wearing make you want to go out and buy everything she’s wearing for feeling that you too will make the same memories as such. It is the same with my Stan Smiths. Could I EVER give them away even to a friend? They may be a bit battered but they’ve travelled to Italy, on planes to Stockholm, they fell in a lake and I couldn’t wear them for a month for fear of them smelling so repugnant. The sentimentality that surrounds our clothes are hard to obliviate even when they are no longer able to wear. Despite this, when I bought my Veja trainers it was as though they had already come with a sentimentality that is near impossible to shake off seeing as they’ve been to Paris, likewise to Stockholm and will no doubt experience some more memories when I cart them off with me to university in the future.

Are there any positives to an increased sentimentality to our clothing?

Where I don’t buy as many new clothes as I do before I don’t think I’m as inclined to start with to want to dispose of them, whether that be sell them on Depop, give them to a friend or donate them to charity. Instead, I think I would make them into something new that I would actually wear, or use around the house. If my wardrobe was full to the brim I may have to re-consider but I think again with an increased sentimentality I would wear the clothes more in the first place and the need for new clothes would be sequestered (this is something that I found as a result of my clothing ban earlier this year). My style has changed this year and will no doubt continue to change but the new clothes in my wardrobe are timeless pieces that I feel will grow with those changes. My Paloma Wool top that I’m wearing in this post was a post-mock exam treat that I’d wanted to buy for the longest time and my jeans are my well loved Depop Levi’s that are even more loved than they were a year ago, sometimes time makes the heart grow fonder…

Ultimately, there is an added sentimentality that comes with sustainable and ethical clothing that in turn could create a dilemma if I ever did want to give any of my clothes away. But I would love to know your opinion on the matter – do you think that buying sustainable and ethical clothes instantly brandishes them with a sentimentality that makes it harder to decide the garments final resting place or would you consider it to be like any other piece of clothing that you own? 

lots of love, eleanor xx

4 Comments

  1. Dalal Tahira 25th July 2018 at 11:38 am

    Even though I’m not the most ethical of buyers, I do only buy clothes that I can really see myself wearing *a lot* which means that a lot of thought goes into those purchases, especially as I don’t like spending extortionate amounts on clothing. I personally do think that fast fashion can have some sentimentality behind them, although definitely not as much as items passed down and bought second hand. I always like to link stories to my clothes because it gives them more meaning than just being a piece of fabric and I can think “I did this/experienced this/saw this” in this pair of jeans for example and that basic thought can help skyrocket the personal value of a clothing item. It’s such an interesting topic and I couldn’t think of anyone better to discuss it on their blog!

    Dalal // dalaltahira.com

    Reply
  2. lexie 25th July 2018 at 4:46 pm

    I would so agree with this, ethical fashion acknowledges the construction of a garment in a way that fast fashion doesn’t; which I think also makes it much more sentimental. One of the things I love so much about vintage and second hand clothing is the idea that theres a story attached to it. When I was in Paris last summer I brought a beautiful crochet dress, I love to imagine the kinda Parisian that wore it before me<3
    Love this topic, such an interesting thought xo

    Reply
  3. Ella Jones 5th August 2018 at 9:29 am

    I loveeddd reading this!! I completely agree with the whole defining yourself in sixth form, and the struggles of attempting to fit in with secondary school. I often feel very sentimental about my finds from vintage sales and charity shops because of how unique they are !! (I don’t want to let them goooo)
    Only just found your blog and I’m in love with your writing style!

    Ella <3

    Reply
    1. eleanorclaudie 6th August 2018 at 9:16 pm

      Thank you Ella!! I don’t ever want to get rid of some of my vintage purchases, they’re all just too special! And thank youuuu, I love your blog and your instagram as well 🙂

      Reply

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